Brother has never been the rancher that his father and the older boys are. Sure, he can ride a horse, rescue a wayward calf, or mend a broken fence, but his heart just doesn’t seem to be in it. Even worse, every time one of the ranch animals dies he feels it too keenly. Still, with four older brothers to carry the load, it’s never been much of a problem.
Then Brother’s father is shipped off to Iraq with the rest of is reserve unit. With the older boys away at school, Brother must help his grandparents keep the ranch going. He’s determined to maintain the ranch just as his father left it, in the hope that doing so will ensure his father’s safe return. But life rarely goes according to plan. The hardships Brother faces will not only change the ranch but also reveal his true calling.
In her first novel Rosanne Parry takes a thoughtful, uplifting look at one particular corner of the heartland and the people who call it home.
Awards and Honors
- Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year 2009
- Horn Book Fanfare Best Books of 2009
- Washington Post Best Children’s Books of 2009
- ABC Best Books for Chidren 2009
- Starred review from Hornbook Magazine, May/June 2009.
- Starred review from Kirkus, December 1st 2008.
- Publishers Weekly Flying Start Author 2009
- Indy Next Pick spring of 2009
- 2010 Rodda Award given by the Church and Synagogue Library Association
- 2010 Oregon Spirit Book Award from the Oregon Council of Teachers of English
- Oregon Battle of the Books List for the 2010/11 school year
- Nominated for a Cybil award in Middle Grade fiction– an award chosen by children’s book bloggers
- 2010 Honor Book for the Judy Lopez Memorial Award given by the Women’s National Book Association
- 2010 Capital Choices Notable Book for Middle Grade Readers
- A nominee for children’s choice book awards in Oregon, Hawaii, Wyoming, South Dakota, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, New Jersey, Minnesota, South Carolina and Maryland.
- 2012 One City One Book, Pendleton, Oregon
- 2013 South Carolina Jr. Book Award
A STARRED review for Heart of a Shepherd from Kirkus
“Sixth-grader Ignatius—he goes by “Brother”—faces a hard year as his father is deployed to Iraq, and he, the youngest of five boys, is left with his aging grandparents to manage the family ranch in Oregon. The episodic presentation, with each chapter a vignette from one of the months his father is gone, effectively portrays the seasonal changes of farm life. The spare, evocative language of his first-person narration immediately captures readers’ interest and never falters in describing a year in the life of this eminently likable boy trying hard to be the man of the house, facing up to one believable challenge after another. From raising orphaned lambs he names after hobbits to delivering a calf to rescuing a farmhand and the stock from a raging prairie fire, each event moves Brother toward a new sense of his own emotional strength. At once a gripping coming-of-age novel and a celebration of rural life, quiet heroism and the strength that comes from spirituality, this first novel is an unassuming, transcendent joy.” (Fiction. 10 & up)
If you would like to purchase my books I hope you will consider shopping at your local independent bookstores who have been so supportive of me. If you are not lucky enough to have a local indy, Powells will ship anywhere. I am always grateful to readers who get their books at the local or school library. They have been great supporters of my work, too. If you would like to have a signed copy of any of my books, please call my neighborhood indy bookstore Annie Blooms. They’ll be happy to take care of you. (503) 246-0053.