Sunday, February 16, 2020



ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:
In 1933, what's left of the Turner family--twelve-year-old Hallie and her two brothers--finds itself driving the back roads of rural America. The children have been swept up into a new migratory way of life. America is facing two devastating crises: the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.

Hundreds of thousands of people in cities across the country have lost jobs. In rural America it isn't any better as crops suffer from the never-ending drought. Driven by severe economic hardship, thousands of people take to the road to seek whatever work they can find, often splintering fragile families in the process.

As the Turner children move from town to town, searching for work and trying to cobble together the basic necessities of life, they are met with suspicion and hostility. They are viewed as outsiders in their own country. Will they ever find a place to call home?

New York Times-bestselling author Sandra Dallas gives middle-grade readers a timely story of young people searching for a home and a better way of life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Goodreads}:
Award-winning author SANDRA DALLAS was dubbed “a quintessential American voice” by Jane Smiley, in Vogue Magazine. Sandra’s novels with their themes of loyalty, friendship, and human dignity have been translated into a dozen foreign languages and have been optioned for films.

A journalism graduate of the University of Denver, Sandra began her writing career as a reporter with Business Week. A staff member for twenty-five years (and the magazine’s first female bureau chief,) she covered the Rocky Mountain region, writing about everything from penny-stock scandals to hard-rock mining, western energy development to contemporary polygamy. Many of her experiences have been incorporated into her novels.

While a reporter, she began writing the first of ten nonfiction books. They include Sacred Paint, which won the National Cowboy Hall of Fame Western Heritage Wrangler Award, and The Quilt That Walked to Golden, recipient of the Independent Publishers Assn. Benjamin Franklin Award.

Turning to fiction in 1990, Sandra has published eight novels, including Prayers For Sale. Sandra is the recipient of the Women Writing the West Willa Award for New Mercies, and two-time winner of the Western Writers of America Spur Award, for The Chili Queen and Tallgrass. In addition, she was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award, the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Assn. Award, and a four-time finalist for the Women Writing the West Willa Award.

The mother of two daughters—Dana is an attorney in New Orleans and Povy is a photographer in Golden, Colorado—Sandra lives in Denver with her husband, Bob.

Sandra Dallas has been one of my favorite historical fiction and non-fiction authors in the adult book market for over two decades. Some of my favorite books by this author include: 

The Christmas Quilt, The Bride's House, The Quilt that Walked to Golden:  Women and Quilts in the Mountain West from the Overland Trail to Contemporary Colorado, and The Persian Pickle Club.

Naturally, I was delighted to learn that she has been writing middle-grade novels for the past few years, too! When I found a copy of Someplace to Call Home on the new middle-grade fiction shelf in the children's section of the local public library, I knew I wanted to give it a try. It turns out, this is one of the best middle-grade historicals I've read since I began blogging about middle-grade books two years ago. It is right up there with Lauren Wolk's Wolf Hollow and Kirby Larson's Code Word Courage in my list of top books for this genre.

The three Turner siblings--sixteen-year-old Tom, twelve-year-old Hallie, and six-year-old Benny--are on the road to California during the Great Depression in 1933. They end up in Kansas to be exact. They are out of gas, out of food, out of money, and out of hope.

Then some very fortuitous events begin happening. Sure, there are plenty of bad times; but there is also kindness from strangers who throw the family a lifeline during these hard times. There are challenges to overcome and obstacles along the road of life, but this tight-knit family is devoted to each other and their love and dedication to staying together takes them a long, long way.

I don't want to reveal to much about the plot in case you decide you would like to read this gem for yourself, but I will say that the bullying the three Turners suffer through in this book is realistic and unfortunately, probably all too common. I feel I can say this with assurance because two of the incidents directed at Hallie at school are very similar to things perpetrated against me by a few of my classmates when I was in the fifth grade

This is one thing that Author Sandra Dallas does so well through her writing. She draws the reader into the plot and makes her/him feel the pain of the characters in the story. I believe that first and foremost, Sandra Dallas is a masterful storyteller. She includes a lot of historical facts and era-accurate lingo, events, and social culture in her books; but she weaves a thread through her tales that causes the reader to have great empathy for the characters in the story.

Highly-recommended to fans of historical fiction, small-town fiction, and American family fiction.

 I borrowed this book from the local public library.


Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog. 

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  1. This sound like very interesting historical fiction. Today's readers will most likely be stunned and maybe a little envious that these kids are on their own in a car driving across the country. Thanks for the heads up, I'll keep an eye out for this book.

  2. Thanks for the review. I'll have to check out the library for this. I love historical fiction.

  3. I do love historical fiction. This one sounds great. Thanks for the heads up. I will look for it.

  4. Thanks for sharing this title on MMGM today. I had not heard of it and your enthusiastic review will have me tracking down a copy this week. Great time period and characters.

  5. I loved your review. I like really good historical fiction and this sounds like it fits the bill in every way. I haven't read many books about this time-period and should do so. The fact you rate this book along side Wolk's and Larson's novels -- which are favorite of mine -- I am intrigued. Thank you for sharing "Someplace to Call Home" with us today!

  6. I love historical novels! I'll look for this one.

  7. Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky is one of my favorite MG HF books. I love it. I actually bought Quilt Walk because I wanted to read another book by Dallas. I haven't gotten to it yet- but now it looks like I will be adding another one of her books to my list. Thanks for sharing. :) Can't wait to check this out.

  8. I love Sandra Dallas' books! I will have to look for this one.