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The Sky Is Falling
by Kit Pearson
ISBN 0670828491 / 9780670828494 / 0-670-82849-1
Publisher Viking Juvenile
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During World War II, thousands of British children were evacuated to Canada. Many would spend the war years in the homes of complete strangers. In her award-winning novel for middle readers, The Sky Is Falling, Kit Pearson tells the story of one war child whose Canadian visit was far from happy. Ten-year-old Norah has no wish to leave her village home in the English countryside. And she certainly doesn't want the responsibility of looking out for her five-year-old brother Gavin. When it becomes clear that the wealthy Toronto widow who sponsored the two siblings really only wanted a boy, Norah retreats into a secret world of books and truancy, deserting Gavin to the overbearing attentions of his newly appointed "Aunt Florence."
In this first book of her Norah trilogy, Kit Pearson offers a fascinating snapshot of 1940s Toronto. From the tedium of a makeshift evacuee camp on the university campus to Norah's cool reception at her Rosedale public school, the celebrated author of The Daring Game and A Handful of Time evokes the loneliness and confusion of the war-child experience. By refusing to soften the cruelty of Norah's behaviour towards her little brother, Pearson also introduces a truly memorable heroine, one as flawed as she is empathetic. L.M. Montgomery fans may recognize some of the plot twists that help bring about Pearson's happy ending. But the extraordinary psychological richness and attention to historical detail of The Sky Is Falling set it apart as a modern Canadian classic. (Ages 9 to 12) --Lisa Alward [via]