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Kindred Souls

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,087 ratings  ·  240 reviews
Jake’s grandfather, Billy, hears the talk of birds, is eighty-eight years old, and is going to live forever. Even when Billy gets sick, Jake knows that everything will go on as always. But there’s one thing Billy wants: to rebuild the sod house where he grew up. Can Jake give him this one special thing?

From beloved author Patricia MacLachlan comes a poignant story about wh
Hardcover, 119 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books
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Kindred Souls is a kind comforting embrace from the first. It is like reading a poem that surrounds you with all the best people have to offer. Jake's grandpa, Billy, and he share a powerful bound. They are kindred souls who know best how to support each other. There is nothing unusual in what they do and in how they are together but that is what makes everything about their relationship extraordinary.
Jakes says, "After I do my chores, Billy and I take our daily walk around the farm. Everyday I'
This is a lovely, lovely book. It was a struggle not to lose myself in it too deeply; the story is straightforward and literal, yet it felt like a metaphor for the death of my own grandfather--which happened when I was an adult, not a child, and in the city, not a remote family farm. I bet it will feel that way to many people. I think the literal aspects will still hold the attention of children--the details of building a sod house, the amusing dog vignettes, the details of the hospital. It woul ...more
1) Why did you choose this book for this project?
-I chose the book Kindred Souls for this project because I truly loved the book and wanted to promote it for teachers and students alike! I also thought that this book was a good one for teacher’s to have in their back pocket because it talks about a death in the family, and it does a good job of focusing on the good things/ memories compared to the sadness and grieving that goes along with death. I also thought it would be a good book for looking
picked MacLachlan's book, Kindred Souls, off the shelf for two reasons. One, it was short and I didn't have very much time to read a book. And, two, because I loved the title. It reminded me of Anne in Green Gables, when Anne Shirley first explained kindred spirits to me. Anne described kindred spirits as being two souls who are bonded, best friends, a person whose interests or attitudes are similar to one's own. I saw the illustration on MacLachlan's book of an old man with a child holding han ...more
From the cover picture until the end, I liked just about everything about this book. (Although I wish I knew how old Jesse and Lida are; never saw mention of it.) I'm not big on lots of descriptive prose, and MacLachlan wastes few words; a lot happens although the book is relatively short. There is such a sweetness about the entire story. When Jake describes their daily walks as predictable, rather than boring, and his brother decrees, "He's old and nuts. You're young and nuts," you can see that ...more
Another marvelous book by Patricia MacLachlan.

Kindred Souls tugs the heartstrings. A lot. It's the story of Jake, age 10, and his grandfather, Billy, age 88. According to Jake's mother, they are kindred souls.

Patricia MacLachlan always finds a way to capture the beauty of a place, a moment, a personality, in just a few carefully chosen words. She does it again in this book. It's not up there with Word After Word After Word, or Sarah, Plain and Tall, but it is a good book about how people grow
Mary Lee
My eyes welled up on page two of this book, and when I put it down I gulped back a sob.

Patricia MacLachlan dedicated this book to the memory of her father. "...born in a sod house on the prairie he loved."

My father would have been 85 this year. He was born in a sod house.

How I wish he were here, watching the birds -- no hummingbirds, but definitely redtailed hawks. How I wish a good dog -- a farm dog -- an angel dog -- named Lucy could find him. How I wish I could build him a sod house.

This book
ATOS Book Level: 3.0
Interest Level: Lower Grades (LG K-3)
AR Points: 1.0
Word Count: 10235

A touching book that deals with the loss of a grandparent. Jake believes his eighty-eight year old grandfather is going to live forever and when Billy, his grandfather gets sick and needs to go to the hospital, Jake decides to work on the project Billy wanted them to work on, rebuilding the Sod House that Billy originally lived in when he settled this land (making it interesting for any child familiar with th
Wendy Loewenstein

Review is from commonsensemedia
What parents need to know

Educational value
In addition to learning something about modern-day farm life and pioneer-era prairie sod houses, readers will benefit from observing Jake's love and respect for his grandfather and his willingness to listen to old stories and take each day at his grandfather's pace.
Positive messages
Jake gradually realizes and then accepts that nothing lasts forever and that part of love is being able
DyolF Dixon
Kindred Souls is by Patricia MacLachlan is a very good book as is her book fly away. These two books have very similar themes. They both are good books. The grade levels for reading this book is third grade through sixth grade. When I saw the books were by the same author, I got the books to see how similar they were. The author is the Newbery Medal-winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall. I was sure the author was a good writer. I wanted to see how similar the books would be. I think since the ...more
Denice Hein
Jan 21, 2015 Denice Hein rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Upper Elementary-young Middle Schoolers
Horn Book Magazine
( December 17, 2011; )
In seventeen short chapters MacLachlan traces the final act in the story of ten-year-old Jake's relationship with his grandfather, Billy. This is a farming family and Billy, aged eighty-eight, still lives on the land where he was born. All is predictable, benign, idyllic -- hummingbirds and new baby calves, shared chores and family jokes. The first sign that change is afoot comes in the mysterious arrival of a stray dog, a dog that glues herself to Billy.
Probably 3rd grade and up, simple language, lots of white space on each page. High interest.
Jake’s 88-year old grandfather Billy lives on the family farm with Jake’s family. Billy’s memory is clearly fading (at least to the adult reader) but gently and kindly and Jake is comfortable with his grandfather’s lapses. Each summer day Billy and Jake walk the farm, saying hello to the animals and remembering the old days. Billy especially misses the old sod house he grew up in.
Billy gets sick and Jak
I enjoyed this one much more than Waiting for the Magic. She addresses the subject of losing a loved one head-on, but with an approach that is simple, appropriate, and nurturing to young readers. That is not to say that I did not cry at the end, but I felt comforted, knowing that Jake will be ok and Lucy will continue her Angel work with another family. Appropriate for primary through intermediate aged readers.
Lauryn S
Jake’s grandfather, Billy, is dying and Billy has one request that Jake does before he dies: Build a sod house. Jake wasn’t so sure at the time but as time went on and Billy had to go to the hospital, Jake and his family decide to build the sod house. WIll Jake get done in time? And if Jake gets done will Billy like it? When Billy comes home well again and the sod house is done, Jake feels like Billy is isolating himself with his dog, Lucy, in the sod house. Will Billy live any longer? Find out ...more
Kristen Badger
MacLachlan, P.(2012). Kindred Souls. New York: HarperCollins.

This sweet and touching story revolves around the special relationship between a young boy and his elderly grandfather. The farming family pulls together and creates something special for the grandfather when he becomes ill.

This book would make a good read aloud for elementary social studies classes. Would tie in nicely with units involving country and farm life. Teachers could also discuss and create sod houses with the class.

Stephanie Croaning
This is a sweet, short novel that tackles the difficult task of watching a beloved family member age. I love the relationship between Jake and his grandfather, Billy. Billy is a spunky, fun, old guy who grew up in a sod house. He loved that sod house. He missed that sod house. He wants Jake to build him a sod house.

This book had moments that made me chuckle and moments that made me cry, but throughout it all, it is simple, real and enduring. This is a YHBA intermediate grade nominee. The indepen
I always underestimate the power of Sarah MacLachlan's beautiful prose. When I chose this title for the Children's Crown Gallery Award list I had in mind this book for 2nd gaders, thinking first graders would not "get it" . I was so wrong. I read this aloud to first graders and they loved it. They thought Billy was great and, of course, loved the dog. They were fascinated with the concept of a sod house. A few of them missed the sad ending, but many of th ...more
Erika Gentry
Sweet story about a grandson who is asked by his grandfather to build a sod house. Their bonding reminded me of my days I spent with my own grandparents. An "angel dog" also becomes a significant role in the book. 3 stars because I didn't find the grandfather (Billy) to be likable. It also didn't quite hook me nor keep me engaged-although it took me about 45 minutes to read all of it. An adult reader may love this and tear up, but not sure a kid could find much to appreciate unless they're matur ...more
A simply written book, like most of Maclachlan's, but more serious in tone than most books at this level. A boy, Jake, is very close to his 88 year old grandfather, Billy. So close, in fact, that they are considered "kindred souls." Billy asks Jake to build him a sod house, because he so loved the sod house he grew up in. At first Jake resists, but when Biully falls ill Jake decides to build the house to encourage Billy to get better. Billy eventually comes home and is very pleased with the hous ...more
Ann Marie
I would say - again - 3rd to 4th grade reader. This is a sweet story of a little boy and his love for his grandfather. If we put aside everything else - it is a sweet story. But grandpa gets sick and the little guy must face his grandfathers death. Then for the twister. Grandpa commissions the boy to build him a sod house. Really ? How many 3rd graders even know what a sod house was let alone how to build one. So the kid starts to build the sod house and then one by one each of his family member ...more
A sweet story about family love.
Linda Lipko
As usual, this author is the queen of poignancy. The story of an extended family living on the prairie together, as the eldest mentors the youngest, is tender and sweet.

And, in today's world, as this morning I read the local newspaper of a girlfriend harming the three year old child, leaving scars, and, when the father simply said to the judge "It isn't THAT bad!", I couldn't help but wonder just what happen to this society of ours.

Feeling old and disheartened, it was good to read a sappy book o
As a long-time fan of Patricia Maclachlan particularly "Sarah Plain and Tall", I was looking forward to reading "Kindred Souls". [return][return]The story revolves a young boy, his grandfather, and a stray dog. It's a perfect combination of characters for primary age children. I enjoyed the journey of building the sod house, but wished the author had included illustrations to help young readers visualize the story.[return][return]Like many of her other works, the book provided an inspirational s ...more
Patricia MacLachlan's perfectly lovely, marvelously efficient storytelling has never been in finer form than in the pages of Kindred Souls. Writing to honor the memory of her late father, who lived past age one hundred and loved the prairie just as much as Billy does in this book, Patricia MacLachlan has created a story of quiet, enduring strength, the experience of love in its many forms standing behind each word in the book. The reality of those we know and love shuffling off into the ether o ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jake's grandfather Billy is 88 years old, but Jake, who is ten, doesn't worry that his grandfather will die. They have a lot of fun together, hanging out on the family farm, talking about the way that things were when Billy was young, and watching the prarie. When Billy becomes ill and is hospitalized, Jake decides that he will build a sod house like the one his grandfather lived in when he was a boy. With the help of some books and his family, he manages to recreate the sod house. Billy's healt ...more
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Elizabeth K.
This book confused me. The premise is BUILDING A SOD HOUSE. What kind of person does not become breathy and excited at a prospect of a book in which a kid builds a sod house?

Okay, that's not really what's supposed to be the premise, which is coming to terms with a grandparent aging, and well, you know, the end result of that. There's also a dog. (But they are also building a sod house.)

It's lovely, it's sweet, it's evocative of a rural way of living that is (mostly) in the past ... it also feels
Jennifer Haight
Kindred Souls is a smooth, and heart filled story of family, life, love, commitment and the gift of pride that one receives after working hard on a project. Written by Newbery Medal winning author Patricia MacLachlan the story centers around Jake, a young boy living on a large plot of land with his parent, his brother Jessie, his sister Lida, his parents and his grandfather Billy.
Billy has a close friendship with his grandfather and is saddened by his obvious decline in health. His grandfather
Rebecca Reid
Because my son is so young, I’m just beginning to re-familiarize myself with middle grade fiction; I haven’t really read much since I was a youngster. I remember really loving the gentle rural setting of Patricia MacLachlan’s Sarah, Plain and Tall when I was a young girl: it was one of my favorite books. When I saw a new book by Ms MacLachlan, I thought I’d give it a try; the publisher, via LibraryThing Early Reviewers, sent me a copy for review consideration. I’m also delighted to see Ms MacLac ...more
C.C. Thomas
MacLachlan has quickly risen to the top of my favorite author list. Her prose is like the finest poetry, no less powerful for its brevity. Indeed, I marvel that she is able to pack such emotion and meaning into such few words, like a little packet of word dynamite.

Jake and Billy are kindred souls, more than just grandson and grandfather. They're always together and always know just what to say to each other. But, on a walk around their farm one day, Billy starts reminiscing about the old sod hou
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Patricia MacLachlan is a bestselling U.S. children's author, best known for winning the 1986 Newbery Medal for her book Sarah, Plain and Tall.

For more information, please see
More about Patricia MacLachlan...
Sarah, Plain and Tall (Sarah, Plain and Tall, #1) Skylark (Sarah, Plain and Tall #2) Waiting for the Magic Caleb's Story (Sarah, Plain and Tall #3) All the Places to Love

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