I love reading historical fiction, and I have since I was a girl. My older daughter (9) has apparently inherited this love. She especially likes American history stories of the Civil War and pioneer days, and enjoys finding a series of novels that keep her occupied for a long time. When I received Sarah’s Wish to review, I was hoping that I had found a new series for her to read. I was not disappointed. Actually, not only did my daughter enjoy the book but also my 11 year old and 7 year old sons were interested as well.
Sarah’s Wish is the first in a series of three (so far) historical novels written by Jim Baumgardner. The book is set in Ohio in 1858 and begins with a wild ride behind a runaway horse in which Sarah is injured and her mother is killed. Sarah’s mother left behind a letter that explained that Sarah has a secret. It doesn’t take too long to find out that the secret is that Sarah and her mother have been working on the Underground Railroad.
I think the book is well-written with several fairly well-developed characters, especially for a children’s book. The plot has enough mystery and suspense to keep the reader interested. The book is a Christian book, and I appreciate the way that Sarah’s Christianity is a part of her. She offers simple prayers and demonstrates faith. It did not seem to be something added to the book to make it a “Christian” book like so many others I’ve read. Sarah also demonstrates good character throughout the book. She does disobey her authority at one point, but it was not a decision that she made lightly, and was only done in order to help others.
One of the great features of this series is that each book includes a code for a FREE audio download. We listened to the entire book, mostly in the car, which was both a good use of travel time, and enjoyable to all of us. I especially liked the way the narrator read the different accents of the people in the book.
Another observation that I kept making throughout the book was what a marvelous book this would make for the spine of a unit study. (The really weird thing about that is that I am not a unit study type of person and don’t usually teach that way.) There were obvious topics for additional study as we listened, such as the Underground Railroad and steam boats, but some other study ideas that stood out to me were herbs and butterflies.
I cannot finish my review without mentioning the author, Jim Baumgardner. He is a grandfather with a heart for homeschoolers. His grandchildren are homeschooled, and he started writing with them in mind. If you order any of the books directly from his website, he personally autographs them! Also on the website are additional historical facts and directions to sign up for his newsletter.
To order Sarah’s Wish, Sarah’s Promise, and Sarah’s Escape, visit www.sarahbooks.net. They are available at a discount with free shipping.
Sarah’s Wish – $10.99
Sarah’s Promise – $13.50Sarah’s Escape – $17.50