Keeping Safe the Stars
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Keeping Safe the Stars

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  288 ratings  ·  66 reviews
When crisis hits, a young girl becomes the only one left to take care of her family

Pride, Nightingale and Baby are the Stars. Orphaned and living with their grandfather, Old Finn, in rural Minnesota, the children, like their grandfather, are wary of outsiders. They believe, as Old Finn taught them, in self-reliance.

But then Old Finn falls seriously ill and is taken to the...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 11th 2012 by Putnam Juvenile
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Ms. Yingling
When Pride's grandfather, Old Finn, is taken to the hospital with encephalitis, Pride knows that she can't tell the authorities that she and her sisters, Nightingale and Baby, have no one to look after them except the elderly and slightly bewildered Miss Addie. The siblings were in foster care once, after the death of their parents, but have enjoyed being with Old Finn on his farm, being home schooled by him and keeping to themselves. In The Boxcar Children fashion, Pride sets out to feed and ca...more
Karen Arendt
Pride, Nightingale, and Baby are three siblings taken in by their grandfather Old Finn after their mother died unexpectedly. Old Finn suddenly gets ill and is hospitalized. Pride, 13 years old, does her best to take of her two younger siblings; she had been taught to be self-reliant and independent while living on a commune with her mother and again with Old Finn, who prefers to live a quiet, hermit-like life.

Things spiral out of control after Pride, Nightingale, and Baby decide to start a busi...more
Miriam
In the tradition of WHERE THE LILIES BLOOM, THE HOMECOMING and the more recent SUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS, this is a story about kids who try their mightiest to care for themselves on their land in rural Minnesota after their grandfather is stricken with encephalitis and hospitalized. It helps that Old Finn is suspicious of authority and has trained the three kids in self-reliance, but various adults in their community are inquisitive enough about what's happened to their grandfather and how the...more
Rene Kirkpatrick
Thoroughly enjoyable, absolutely charming, it is a great addition to the shelf that holds Savvy, The Exiles and the Casson Family books by Hilary McKay, and The Penderwicks series.

Orphans living with their Grandpa, Old Finn, they are funny and loving. They are independent and strong kids, home-schooled, but get thrown for a loop when Old Finn suddenly heads to the doctor but doesn't come back home.

The kids pull together and figure out what they have to do to find, and then bring back home, Old...more
Kathy Martin
Life has been filled with upheavals for the Stars. Their father died of cancer, their mother died in a car accident. The kids were in foster care until the grandfather they didn't really know came to get them out. He took them to his farm in Minnesota to raise. He was something of a hermit; a former history professor who got in trouble with the government for protesting the Vietnam War. He is determined to raise the kids to be independent. But when he falls suddenly ill with encephalitis, the ki...more
Wendy
This is an underappreciated book this year. While it doesn't make my top ten list, it is so much better than so many similar books this year (One for the Murphys, Summer of the Gypsy Moths). Please solve the mystery, someone, of why certain books get attention and others don't.

Sort of a HOMECOMING Jr. I liked all the characters and the setting. The grandfather's illness was distressingly realistic. I wouldn't have minded a little more magical thinking there... The cover blurb makes this sound mu...more
Read  Ribbet
I met Shelia O'Connor at the IRA Convention in Chicago so I could congratulate her on her first book for young adults Sparrow Road which won the IRA Award for Intermediate Fiction. She gave me an autographed advanced copy of Keeping Safe the Stars. Here is a new story about children living on there own. Meet the three Stars led by self-reliant Pride who keeps her siblings together after her grandpa Old Finn falls ill. Set in a Thoreau like Walden, the group uses what they have been taught to kee...more
Liz
A completely unrealistic story about children who start a business and try to survive on their own. Throughout the read all I could not push out my head these children as raggedy, white-trash kids in a run down, rural area not unlike the setting of the movie, "Winter's Bone." Keeping in mind the story is set in the 1970s and not 2012, it was still completely ridiculous that a 12-year-old with virtually no education would be able to accomplish the activities described in the book. I also do not f...more
Amy
Didn't like this much. Set in the early 1970s with way too many references to communes, hippies and Nixon's impeachment. Just the kind of tale every 12 year old in 2013 is dying to read.

It tells the story of three orphans who are living with their Grandpa somewhere in Minnesota. Unfortunately, Grandpa gets sick and they are pretty much on their own and they are terrified of being found out. "Keeping Safe the Stars" could have been a goofy story, it could have been poignant. Instead it was just a...more
Colby Christensen
Keeping Safe the Stars is a very great book. It is about three kids, Pride, Nightingale, and Baby who live with their grandpa Old Finn in a small town called Eden. They enjoy their happy quiet life with occasional visitors and visits to other places outside Eden. But when Old Finn becomes sick, the kids are forced to work things through alone and become semi-independent. Pride, being the oldest, had to be the one responsible and in charge. They have to go through challenges that bring them close...more
Kelsey
Easy read, great characters, interesting story. The kids are the focus of this book and they are well-developed and resourceful. A charming story set it Minnesota (the best state) and brings in both a small town and big city to the story. Not the cliche happy ending but not sad either. It leaves it open ended and let's you decide how things work out.
Lauren Stringer
A heartfelt story about surviving as a family with no adults, set during the Nixon's Impeachment. I loved how the theme of "lies and lying" took on new meaning throughout the book. Wonderful characters, especially the three kids, Pride, Nightengale, and Baby. Loved this book!
Brenda
set in the 70′s with a background of the Watergate Trials, the turmoil of the Vietnam War and the proliferation of cults and communes, the Stars have already survived a lot - but there will be more.

Imagine being 13 and finding yourself alone with the responsibility of taking care of your little brother and sister. You’ve already been orphaned and taken by the state – will it happen again? The Stars are determined that they will be fine until Old Finn comes home, but the wait gets longer and long...more
Jessica Harrison
Full review and author interview a Cracking the Cover

Sheila has a way of translating complex relationships and situations into something accessible for young readers while maintaining a maturity that defies age limits. “Keeping Safe the Stars” is equally enjoyable for a 10-year-old as it is for a 32-year-old. Her prose transcends expectations as she slips seamlessly into a time a place both new and familiar at the same time.

Each of the main characters are well-developed and likeable in their own...more
Tasha
Pride and her two younger siblings, Nightingale and Baby, live with their grandfather, Old Finn. They live on a remote property that Old Finn calls Eden. But when Old Finn enters the hospital and is then transferred to Duluth for more serious treatment, it is left to Pride to care for her family. She had been taught by Old Finn not to rely on charity from others, so she makes sure to not accept help that she can’t pay for. She also knows that if anyone finds out that they are alone at Eden excep...more
Cindy Hudson
Since their mother died, the Star children have lived with their grandpa, Old Finn. The family keeps to itself on the family farm Old Finn refers to as Eden in rural Minnesota. But when Old Finn develops an infection that sends him to the hospital in Duluth, 13-year-old Pride is left in charge of the farm and her siblings, 9-year-old Nightingale and 6-year-old Baby.

But even a self-sufficient teenager can’t run a household with no money and no transportation. When the kids start to attract attent...more
Teresa
Terrific story of three orphaned kids trying to make it without any adult help, when their grandfather and guardian "Old Finn" falls suddenly ill. The kids' early upbringing, and his distrust of authorities, have made them all very wary of strangers--if people know they are alone, will they be sent back into the foster system that they briefly hated before Old Finn took them in?

The kids try some amusing and only partly successful attempts to make money to buy food, and then to buy bus tickets t...more
Margit
This book is a charming read, with likeable, spunky characters and a clever angle on a touchstone moment in the 1970s. While I really liked these quirky characters and thought they were drawn well, the central conflict between telling the truth and lying seemed hard to support the entire way through. To me, it seemed so necessary that Pride tell lies to survive that I could not completely sympathize with her sister's condemnation. I felt as if there were another question that needed to be asked...more
Sally Spratt
I won this book at the Spring Spirit SCBWI conference this past spring. For some reason I was expected to ONLY choose one book out of more than fifty. I read the book flap of “Keeping Safe the Stars,” by Sheila O’Connor and knew after reading the main character’s names, Pride, Nightingale and Baby, I had to have this book. Set during the time of President’s Nixon’s resignation, communes, the end of the Vietnam War and hippies I would almost call this book historical fiction.

Pride is the oldest...more
Hilary
When Old Finn falls suddenly ill, 13-year-old Pride is left in charge of the farm in rural Minnesota, and her siblings, 9-year-old Nightingale and 6-year-old Baby. The orphaned children, first raised on a commune, then orphaned and adopted by their hermit-like grandfather, who distrusts authority, are wary of outsiders and fiercely independent. But even very self-sufficient youngsters must accept help from others -- sometimes even strangers -- when forced to survive with no food, no money, no tr...more
Michelle Cavalier
Sheila O'Connor's Keeping Safe the Stars feels destined to become a classic on par with Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia. It is the story of three orphan children who must fend for themselves when their grandfather (their only caretaker) is taken to a hospital far from their home. Pride, Nightingale, and Baby have been raised to be fiercely independent and loyal to each other above all else, so when things get tough, Pride, the oldest, starts coming up with ideas to keep her siblings safe. This i...more
Laura
So frustrating to read a book that has great potential, but just loses it. Pride, Nightingale and Baby (aka Kathleen, Elsie and Baxter) are orphans who have never known a normal home: first they lived on a commune, Serenity, with their parents, then they were 'in care' and for the past two years they've lived with Old Finn, their grandfather, on his farm, Eden. They've never gone to regular school, and their idiosyncrasies have been indulged by parents and grandfather. Then Old Finn gets sick -...more
Lacey Louwagie
I liked this book a lot more than I expected to. "Kids trying to make it on their own" is a common theme in YA/middle grade books, and it's not one of my favorite conceits. Still, there was a lot to like here, including the distinct personalities of Pride, Nightingale, and Baby (the kids in question), as well as their eccentric older neighbor who was fragile enough that I found myself worrying about *her* as much as about the kids. I liked the Northern Minnesota setting, too, and could picture i...more
Kate Brauning
A fun, charming read. It's younger YA, and filled with the bigger-than-her-age voice that makes Pride taking up the parenting role believable. The pacing was a bit slow, and I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected, but probably only because I prefer upper YA, and I've read a lot of teens-acting-as-parents lately. It's a thoroughly charming story.
Teresa Garrett
Pride, Nightingale, and Baby have been through a lot in their short lives. Losing both of their parents and winding up in a shelter before their Grandfather, Old Finn, shows up to claim them. They move from the commune in New Mexico to Old Finn's quiet 40 acres known as Eden in rural Minnesota. Old Finn keeps to himself and they accept this arrangement and are home schooled in academics and life skills right up to the day Old Finn takes sick and goes into the hospital. Nothing Old Finn taught th...more
E.
Keeping Safe the Stars is a beautifully written middle grade novel by acclaimed literary author Sheila O'Connor. This book follows on the heels of O'Connor's last MG novel, Sparrow Road, but I think this new book is even better. It tells the tale of three children whose grandfather has fallen ill, leaving them to fend for themselves. The characters are dynamic and memorable; the plot gradually builds layer by layer; by the time you reach the final act, you will be sad that the story is ending. T...more
Lisa
13-year-old Pride is left alone with her younger sister and brother when their grandfather, Old Finn, takes himself into town to the hospital because of a fever. When he is admitted to the hospital and the children realize they are fending for themselves (and taking care of the elderly Miss Addie who lives on the property) they decide to go into business and offer pony rides and popcorn to strangers. In order to keep her family safe, Pride starts telling people lies and soon everything is out of...more
Tracey
Originally written for and posted on Mackin Books in Bloom at http://mackinbooksinbloom.com:
Pride, Nightingale, and Baby Star are orphans and live with their grandfather, Old Finn, in rural Minnesota. Old Finn is very independent and self-sufficient, and the girls have learned to be wary of outsiders. But their self-reliance comes at a price, which they find out when Old Finn gets very sick—and is transported to a hospital way up in Duluth. The girls try to fend for themselves, and Pride even fi...more
Red Balloon Bookshop
The three Star children live a simple but rich life with their grandpa on a farm in rural Minnesota. Old Finn has raised his grandchildren to be self-reliant and skeptical of others offering help. When Old Finn becomes ill and is taken to the hospital, the three children, Pride, Nightingale and Baby, do their best to fend for themselves without letting anyone know Old Finn is in the hospital. As hard as they try, they realize their self-reliance won't keep them safe nor will it make Old Finn bet...more
Dolores
There were some things I liked about this one, but ultimately, it didn't stand out from all the other "kids left to fend for themselves" books out there. And frankly, I was pretty annoyed at the parallel drawn between Nixon's lies and Pride's lies. Kids in today's world know all about stranger danger, so it must seem pretty strange to them that Nightingale condemns Pride for lying to keep her family safe from strangers. I know it seemed pretty strange to me. And guess what. I grew up in that era...more
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