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Sarah’s Wish by Jim Baumgardner

PhotobucketAs a member of TOS Homeschool Crew, I had the opportunity to read the first book in the Sarah Books series, Sarah’s Wish by Jim BaumgardnerSarah’s Wish is the story of twelve year old Sarah Smith, who is orphaned in the first chapter of the book.  Set in Ohio in the years before the Civil War, Sarah’s Wish contains two plot strands:  one involving Sarah’s continuing of her parents’ involvement in the Underground Railroad and her wish, which is her ongoing prayer to God that she will become a part of a family once again.  This is a short novel of just over 120 pages, but it is very exciting.  Sarah learns that  she and her mother were not the only people in their small town of Wapakoneta involved in transporting runaway slaves to the next Underground Railroad station, and they become the target of some slave catchers who suspect their activity.  Meanwhile, Sarah goes to live with an elderly neighbor, Granny Evans, a feisty and self-sufficient woman who loves her.  Still, Sarah longs for a “real” family. I’ll stop there to avoid spoilers, but the story does end satisfactorily in a way that ties the two plot strands together.

I enjoyed Sarah’s Wish and would recommend it to anyone, child or adult, interested in this historical time period.  I found the story to be a little bit disjointed at times, but not so much so that I couldn’t follow it.  Granny Evans speaks in dialect almost exclusively, and I think this might be a little difficult for some children to read.  However, this could be remedied by using this book as a read-aloud.  In general, I just think this book could’ve used a little more editing.  However, its strength is in the characterization; Baumgardner very carefully and fully developed most of the characters so that it doesn’t take much reading to feel as if one has gotten to know them.

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Sarah’s Wish is the first book in the Sarah Books series.  One thing I really like about Sarah’s Wish (and I assume the other books in the series) is that the publisher, Tate Publishing, offers a free audio version of the novel(s) with a coupon code printed on a back flyleaf of the book(s).  The audiobook can be downloaded to an i-Pod, to a CD, or simply to a computer’s hard drive.  Jim Baumgardener also provided some homeschool discussion questions with this book, as well as a monthly newsletter called “Sarah’s Web.”  Although this book is a little “rough around the edges” (in terms of its needing a little polishing/editing), I am interested in reading the next two installments.  You can purchase Sarah’s Wish and the other Sarah Books through Jim Baumgardener’s website, as well as through Amazon and other outlets.  (The plus side of purchasing through the website is that you can request an autographed copy!)

Please visit TOS Homeschool Crew blog for more reviews of Sarah’s Wish

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This book was sent to me free of charge for review purposes.

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