A Secret Shared
Author(s): Patricia MacLachlan
Newbery Medal–winning author Patricia MacLachlan paints a moving portrait of what it means to be a family, the power of love, and the importance of bringing the truth out into the light, in this beautiful and profound story about adoption.
Nora and Ben’s younger sister Birdy loves to keep secrets. She surprises her family more than once: She hides a kitten in her room. She writes a beautiful poem. One day Birdy watches her mother spit into a tube, ready to send it off to find out more about herself and where her family came from. Birdy spits into a tube, too, when no one sees her.
But when the test results come back, they are a surprise. Birdy is seemingly not related to Nora and Ben’s parents. But if she is adopted, how could that have happened without the children knowing?
Nora and Ben must learn when to keep a secret, and who to go to for help—and eventually, how to solve this secret for the entire family.
"MacLachlan’s signature short, careful sentences imbue each phrase with significance, creating a lyrical ambiance that draws readers into the close family circle. Especially moving is the depiction of the parents’ love for each other as well as their children as they move forward into their newly shared truth."
"With simple, repetitive language, much of it offered as dialogue, MacLachlan's latest is perfect for readers just transitioning into chapter books with slightly more narrative depth. Familial concern about honesty gives the twins' questions weight, and a resolution about adoption that ties up happily works well for the target audience. A sweet look at what really makes for a family."
"MacLachlan examines the question 'What makes a family?' in her latest middle grade book. MacLachlan's lyrical writing emphasizes that love is what makes a family. This short novel is immersed in love—between friends, within a married couple, between siblings, parents and their children, and even in the devotion for a favorite teacher . . . VERDICT With a warm message and gorgeous prose, this story grounded in fact and love . . . "
Praise for WONDROUS REX: "MacLachlan spins from simple words an enigmatic, gentle . . . tale. Sweetly magical."
"A charmed (and charming) dog, a language-loving girl, and an innate aunt-niece bond are among the alluring threads that MacLachlan (Dream Within a Dream) deftly weaves into this taut novel. MacLachlan again proves her gift for shaping endearing and credible characters—even a magical canine—in this bright yet reflective story."
"Newbery-winner MacLachlan's spare but elegant prose touches on themes of self-confidence, the writer's craft, and the sense of well-being that can come from pet ownership. This book will please younger readers and inspire would-be wordsmiths."
Praise for MY FATHER'S WORDS: “MacLachlan is the master of quiet books that pack an emotional wallop. My Father’s Words finds the author in her element. MacLachlan provides a beautifully nuanced portrait of one family’s recovery after tragedy. This book feels as direct and true as a dog looking you straight in the eyes.”
“Newbery Medalist MacLachlan is known for writing heart-tugging stories in spare style, as she did in Sarah, Plain and Tall. And that’s what she does here as readers meet Fiona and Finn. Deeply moving and uplifting in unexpected ways.”
“Key relationships in her own life inspired this characteristically taut and resonant novel by Newbery Medalist MacLachlan. MacLachlan masterfully mingles core themes in this slim volume: the power of words and song, memories and family, the mutually redemptive human-canine bond, and ‘the eternal fitness of things.’”
“With her customary precise, spare language, infused with emotional intelligence, MacLachlan takes readers from shocked grief to a way to live again, fundamental truths dropped carefully and delicately for young readers to comprehend in their own time. A flawless story about resilience, hope, healing, and the eternal fitness of things.”