A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Newbery Honor book One Came Home is about Georgie, a 13-year-old expert rifle shooter who runs away from home to look for her presumed-dead sister in 1871 Wisconsin. A 19-year-old neighbor boy comes along to help, and when Georgie falls from a pile of rocks and bruises her face, some people assume the boy has been hitting her. When some men try to do them harm, Georgie shoots one man's thumb off, and the boy is tied up and badly hurt.
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What's the story?
In ONE CAME HOME, Georgie's family is heartbroken when a dead body is found wearing Georgie's sister's blue-green silk dress, but Georgie refuses to believe it's really her sister Agatha. Feeling that it's her fault Agatha ran away, 13-year-old Georgie embarks on a journey to uncover the truth. When Agatha's former beau Billy insinuates himself into the quest, Georgie unwillingly accepts him as her companion, and the two travel through rural Wisconsin. As Georgie pieces together the facts about her sister and uncovers the truth about her sister's romantic history, she also learns quite a bit about herself and discovers that even the most stubborn girl can learn to be flexible.
Is it any good?
Georgie's voice is distinct and likable, as is her courage and determination to find out what really happened to her sister. This mystery/coming-of-age story moves at a leisurely pace during Georgie and Billy's journey as Georgie's memories slowly reveal the motives of the characters. Although the slow pacing of One Came Home might deter some readers, it should be fine for those used to historical fiction.
Timberlake gracefully fits in quite a bit of information about the passenger pigeons whose migration triggers the events of the story without seeming to teach. After the exciting action-filled climax, the final resolution unfolds slowly, which may frustrate some readers -- but it's ultimately satisfying.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how historical fiction for kids often wins awards (One Came Home received a Newbery Honor). Why do think this is true? Do you think this book deserved an award?
How would today's technology have changed the way Georgie approached finding out the truth about her sister's fate? Do you think it would have made it easier? Is there anything about it that would have made it more difficult?
Can you think of any modern-day phenomena that compare to the passenger-pigeon migration coming through Georgie's town and the excitement it caused?
- Author: Amy Timberlake
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Knopf
- Publication date: January 8, 2013
- Number of pages: 272
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Awards: ALA Best and Notable Books, Newbery Medal and Honors
- Last updated: August 18, 2020
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For kids who love history and mystery
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