Dear Blue Sky
By Mary Sullivan
Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012. 248 pages. Fiction for 4th grade+
Cassie's older brother, Sef, is the glue that holds their family together. When he leaves to fight in Iraq, Cassie must step up and try to keep the family from falling apart completely. This is not an easy responsibility for the seventh grader. Her older sister is dealing with teenage drama, her younger brother has Down Syndrome, and they all miss Sef terribly and worry about his safety. Cassie experiences a lot of anxiety with all of these challenges. As part of an assignment from school, she begins emailing with an Iraqi girl who blogs under the name "Blue Sky." Author Mary Sullivan writes honestly and convincingly from the viewpoints of these two girls, and the novel is well rounded. The characters are all lend color and poignancy to a touching story.