Parents' Guide to

Heart of a Shepherd

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Growing up in the heartland beautifully, movingly portrayed.

Heart of a Shepherd Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 9+
This is a beautifully written story. The characters are well developed and are truly human (as opposed to being caricatures). Rosanne Parry's first novel, _Heart Of A Shepherd_ is one of the most stunning stories that I have read in the past ten years. It truly is a story for all ages. Her writing is lyrical, her characters are fully developed and realistic, and her portrayal of what it is to be 12 years old is so accurate that I felt my own 12-year old self (an age I left behind decades ago) rise within my soul. This book is what our youth NEED to be reading. Parry's sentences are complex and her use of metaphor is breathtaking. Her conversation is realistic; each character speaks in a voice that is sincere, accurate, and believable for him/herself. I highly recommend this book for all children aged 9 and older as well any adult. This is truly a story for all ages. I hope that Rosanne Parry will continue to write.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 10+

Sweet, Sensitive Story

LOVED this one about a young boy left at home (on an Eastern Oregon ranch) with his grandparents while his older brothers attend boarding school and his father goes to serve in Iraq. It sensitively deals with the boy’s feelings of responsibility and his concerns for the future. May not be classroom appropriate only because of lots of Catholic/Quaker themes. An easy read.

This title has:

Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (2):

This is the story that we Americans tell ourselves about who we are: good, decent, hard-working, educated, spiritual people, caring for our families, friends, neighbors, and land. We come of age by facing the fire, doing what has to be done, loving deeply but quietly. As 11-year-old Brother says here, learning from his father, "That's my mission, and I'll see it done." True or not, this vision of ourselves holds an atavistic power, and in the hands of talented first-time author Rosanne Parry, it is devastatingly emotional, even when nothing bad is happening in the story.

There are many different types of tearjerkers, and some even earn their tears honestly. but there are none more powerful or honest than stories like this -- the simple tale of a kid struggling to grow up decent and strong. Even better when that kid is supported by a loving family, a tight-knit community, and wise elders who help him along the always difficult path from childhood to adulthood. That's the story we all want our children to read -- and to emulate.

Book Details

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