A Sky Full of Song
By Susan Lynn Meyer (Author)
Format Hardcover, Jacketed
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A Sky Full of Song
by Susan Lynn Meyer
North Dakota, 1905
After fleeing persecution in the Russian Empire, eleven-year-old Shoshana and her family, Jewish immigrants, start a new life on the prairie. Shoshana takes fierce joy in the wild beauty of the plains and the thrill of forging a new, American identity. But it’s not as simple for her older sister, Libke, who misses their Ukrainian village and doesn’t pick up English as quickly or make new friends as easily. Desperate to fit in, Shoshana finds herself hiding her Jewish identity in the face of prejudice, just as Libke insists they preserve it.
For the first time, Shoshana is at odds with her beloved sister, and has to look deep inside herself to realize that her family’s difference is their greatest strength. By listening to the music that’s lived in her heart all along, Shoshana finds new meaning in the Jewish expression all beginnings are difficult, as well as in the resilience and traditions her people have brought all the way to the North Dakota prairie.
PRAISE2024 Sydney Taylor Book Award Middle Grade Honor Winner
“Frequent parallels to the Little House series accentuate how different Shoshana’s experience is from the White, Christian, mythically American lives of her classmates . . . . A moving, gently kind coming-to-America story. A lesser-known Jewish American history offers a plainspoken message about assimilation and self-love.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Meyer layers richly detailed depictions of Jewish traditions, stunning descriptions of the landscape, and a highly sympathetic narrator to convey an underreported historical arc.” —Publishers Weekly
“This character-driven storyline shines in descriptive passages . . . . A Sky Full of Song is a thoughtful piece of middle-grade historical fiction featuring a sympathetic protagonist from an underrepresented community.” —Shelf Awareness
“Solid historical fiction that fleshes out the diversity of the pioneer experience.” —School Library Journal
“The narrative easily interweaves the issues that Jewish immigrants dealt with in the early 20th century . . . . How Shoshana resolves her feelings . . . makes the ending satisfying without being cloying.” —The Arts Fuse
“A different kind of prairie story has arisen, one that seeks in some manner to correct the past.” —The Wall Street Journal
“[A] beautifully written novel that also touches on the forced removal of Native Americans.” —Book Riot
“Gorgeous, immersive prose captures the closeness of the family’s village, the ever-present threats of violence, and the vastness of the Great Plains. The tension between those who want to preserve their customs and those who want to assimilate as soon as possible is a common theme in Jewish immigration stories, one that Meyer makes fresh and tangible through her focus on a little-known experience and her weaving of music into the story.” —Historical Novel Review
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Susan Lynn Meyer is the author of two previous middle-grade historical novels—Black Radishes, a Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner, and Skating with the Statue of Liberty—as well as three picture books. Her works have won the Jane Addams Peace Association Children’s Book Award and the New York State Charlotte Award, as well as many other honors. Her novels have been chosen as Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selections, included among Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, and translated into German and Chinese. She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Wellesley College and lives outside Boston.