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Light and Air - Historical Fiction

Middle Grade - Historical Fiction

by Holiday House, Peechtree books

January 2nd, 2024

My review:


A beautiful historical middle-grade fiction set in the American 1930s and focused on tuberculosis.

The mother gets sick and is admitted to a hospital (one that is not segregated and is kind) and her family is having a hard time with her slow recovery.

The young Halle has always remembered her mother's words and wants to do something, to act, to face fear in the face with bravery and faith, while her father sinks in anger and depression. She tries to walk all the way to the hospital to see her mother but falls ill and she too is committed to the hospital. Still, she never quits trying to see or help her mother.

I love that Halle's favorite book is Anne of Avonlea and other classics like Black Beauty are mentioned. This book too is written in a cozy classic way. A story that is told in the third person but the voice is very close to Halle's thoughts and emotions.

It is an emotional read for those who relate to having a loved one sick but not being able to do much for them.

We also notice the author did great research and it gives an insight into what was like to have the disease or be admitted to a good sanitorium. Very educational also brings us back to the recent pandemic and makes a great discussion to compare then with now.

The cover artwork is stunning.

Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this e-ARC.

Buy on Amazon or B&N.

From the Publisher:

It's 1935, and tuberculosis is ravaging the nation. Everyone is afraid of this deadly respiratory illness. But what happens when you actually have it?

When Halle and her mother both come down with TB, they are shunned—and then they are sent to the J.N. Adam Tuberculosis far from home, far from family, far from the world.

Tucked away in the woods of upstate New York, the hospital is a closed and quiet place. But it is not, Halle learns, a prison. Free of her worried and difficult father for the first time in her life, she slowly discovers joy, family, and the healing power of honey on the children's ward, where the girls on the floor become her confidantes and sisters. But when Mama suffers a lung hemorrhage, their entire future—and recovery—is thrown into question....

Light and Air deals tenderly and insightfully with isolation, quarantine, found family, and illness. Set in the fully realized world of a 1930s hospital, it offers a tender glimpse into a historical epidemic that has become more relatable than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Halle tries to warm her father’s coldness and learns to trust the girls and women of the hospital, and as she and her mother battle a disease that once paralyzed the country, a profound message of strength, hope, and healing emerges.

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

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