Sheila's Books Read

Sheila's bookshelf: read

What Would the Founding Fathers Think: A Young American's guide to understanding the mess our country is in and how we get out
Isabelle Webb: Legend of the Jewel
Captive Heart
Cobble Cavern
Caller ID
Summer of Secrets
On Little Wings
We Lived in Heaven: Spiritual Accounts of Souls Coming to Earth
Christ's gifts to women
A Woman's power: threads that bind us to god
Scary School
Hope's journey
Targets in Ties
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island
With a Name like Love
Sean Griswold's head

Sheila's favorite books »

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 0 books toward her goal of 60 books.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Leona and Me, Helen Marie (A Small Town U.S.A. Novel) by Lu Ann Brobst Staheli-Review

Product Details

  • Title: Leona & Me, Helen Marie (A Small Town U.S.A. Novel)
  • Author:Lu Ann Brobst Staheli
  • File Size: 288 KB
  • Print Length: 102 pages
  • Publisher: Back Yard Press (January 30, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B8DTP9K
  • FTC FYI:  I received a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Book Description:
Seven-year-old Helen Marie Heffner has a knack for getting into trouble, followed close behind by her older sister, Leona Mae. Whether it’s walking the barn beams like a tightrope, fooling the neighbor boys into thinking they’re being chased by a fiery jack-o-lantern, or making a mess rather than transferring a pattern for Mama’s Christmas surprise, Helen comes out the winner every time.

But life is not always fun and games in 1922 for this southern Indiana family. In the wake of the Depression of the previous two years, the girls and their mama are often left alone in Hancock’s Chapel while their papa travels to find work to keep the family finances alive. Lately, Mama’s been showing signs of not feeling well, and Helen is stuck at home, missing the entire school year while she recuperates from the rheumatic fever that struck her the year before. Mama fears the worst is about to happen. Everything from the barn owl, to the chicken thief, the stranger who passed by one evening to a poor neighbor-boy who falls into the ravine, all point to signs of trouble to come. And sure enough, it does.

Leona and Me, Helen Marie, a middle grade novel from A Small Town U.S.A. series, is hometown historical fiction in the style of Richard Peck (A Long Way from Chicago, The Teacher’s Funeral, Here Lies the Librarian) and Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie), with a touch of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie thrown in for good measure.

“Watch me, Leona. I’m Miss Tarantula, mysterious tight rope walker of Madagascar!” I lifted my arms for balance and started across the wooden beam in the barn loft, one foot in front of the other, imitating the lady we’d seen at the circus in New Albany. After reaching the wall, I made a little curtsey, trying to pull my overalls out like they were the net skirt the trapeze artist had worn.

“Magnificent, Helen,” Leona said, mimicking a ring master. She held onto a joist about thirty feet away from where I’d ended my trip across the barn.

“With my eyes closed this time,” I said.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she said. Leona was nine, two years older than me, and liked to pretend she was in charge.

“Watch me. Watch me,” I said, closing my eyes and turning around on the beam toward the way I thought I’d come. My bare toes gripped the rough edges of the wood.

“Helen Marie Heffner, you stop right now.” Her voice sounded just like Mama’s when I’m gonna get in trouble, but I took a step. Then another. On the third one, there wasn’t a beam under my foot. My eyes flew open and my legs peddled the air, like a character in the comic papers, trying to find a way to stop falling.

“Le—o—naaa!” I screeched.

My Review:
Leona and Me, Helen Marie (A Small Town U.S.A. Novel) was such a fun book to read. I was smiling through much of it. The stories in this book reminded me so much of the stories my own parents have shared with me through the years. It is so obvious the difference between life back then and life now. There was something special about life in the early 1900's. Life was so much simpler in many ways and much harder in others.

Lu Ann Staheli beautifully retells the stories of her mother and her aunt as they grew up in the South in the 1920's. There is a lot of humor as Helen, age seven, is living life with her rambunctious older sister. There were many adventures to be found playing outside. Kids today are truly missing out on the fun that most of us over the age of 40 had.

This book will be enjoyed by those that love a delightful book about siblings, family, and lots of love. There are some sad moments that had me crying, but there were many more that had me LOL! I highly recommend this book to all readers, young and old! I will be reading it again with my own children.

Tomorrow I will be reviewing another book written by Lu Ann called Tides Across the Seas (The Explorers).

About the Author:

Lu Ann Brobst Staheli got her start as a celebrity paparazzi-stalker-chick, which led to her award-winning career as a ghostwriter for celebrity memoirs. A masochist at heart, she has taught junior high school English for 33 years, moved to the school library for year 34, and once spent two weeks summer vacation backpacking through Europe with 15 of her students. She has won three Best of State Medals—two for writing and one for teaching—but refuses to wear them all at the same time because she’d hate to be known as a show-off. Her published works include A Note With Taking, an award-winning MG novel which is currently a Whitney Award nominee; When Hearts Conjoin, the story of the conjoined Herrin twins; Psychic Madman about mentalist Jim Karol; One Day at a Time: Teaching Secondary Language Arts; and Books, Books, and More Books: A Parent and Teacher's Guide to Adolescent Literature.


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