True Colors

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Overview

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock's beautifully told, warm hearted novel tells the story of one girl's journey to find the mother she never had, set against the period backdrop of a small farming town in 1950s Vermont. For her entire life, 10-year-old Blue has never known her mother. On a cold, wintry day in December of 1941, she was found wrapped in a quilt, stuffed in a kettle near the home of Hannah Spooner, an older townswoman known for her generosity and caring. Life with Hannah so far has been simple?mornings spent ...

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True Colors

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Overview

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock's beautifully told, warm hearted novel tells the story of one girl's journey to find the mother she never had, set against the period backdrop of a small farming town in 1950s Vermont. For her entire life, 10-year-old Blue has never known her mother. On a cold, wintry day in December of 1941, she was found wrapped in a quilt, stuffed in a kettle near the home of Hannah Spooner, an older townswoman known for her generosity and caring. Life with Hannah so far has been simple—mornings spent milking cows, afternoons spent gardening and plowing the fields on their farm. But Blue finds it hard not to daydream about her mother, and over the course of one summer, she resolves to finally find out who she is. That means searching through the back issues of the local newspaper, questioning the local townspeople, and searching for clues wherever she can find them. Her search leads her down a road of self-discovery that will change her life forever.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, a two-day-old newborn was left in a flowerpot outside a widow’s Vermont farm. Hannah Spooner named the baby for the color of her skin—blue at that moment—and raised her as her own. Ten years later, Blue narrates the myriad ways in which life disappoints her: endless chores, nagging questions about her parentage, and a loneliness so persistent she tells her troubles to an indifferent stray cat. Friends are so scarce that Blue looks forward to the return every summer of Nadine, a bratty city girl who treats Blue shabbily. The plot is wildly unbalanced: it takes a third of the novel to move beyond the workaday details of farm life; a rush of events overwhelms the last few chapters. Still, Kinsey-Warnock’s (Gifts from the Sea) story has its charms, and Blue’s eventual realization that it’s less important to know who abandoned her than it is to appreciate the woman who rescued her closes the narration on a loving note. A quiet country story for fans of Ruth White’s books. Ages 8–12. Agent: Gina Maccoby, Gina Maccoby Literary Agency. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Natalie Gurr
Hannah Spooner wakes up December 7, 1941 and finds a baby, wrapped in an old tattered blanket, left on her porch. Hannah names the girl Blue and raises her as her own. Ten years later Blue is settled into her life on Hannah's farm. Blue is busy with work on the farm, but summer is just around the corner and that means Nadine is coming. Nadine is Blue's best friend, whose family spends summers at their cottage near Hannah's farm. Blue also has a new job working on the town paper. She is temporarily in charge of the local news column, but she wants to work on more seriousness news. She is going to impress everyone by figuring out who is stealing animals around the town. On top of all that Blue has a secret wish: she wants to find her mother. Blue learns to recognize what it means to be family and what is really important in life. This is a sweet, coming-of-age story about a little girl who is looking for her place in the world. Young children will like Blue and understand her feelings, but the story might be too slow for some. The setting is a quaint little town over sixty years ago and many children will find it hard to relate to this long ago time. Reviewer: Natalie Gurr
Kirkus Reviews
In the summer of 1952, 10-year-old Blue finds that her "real mama" isn't the one who abandoned her when she was 2 days old, but the strong woman who raised her on a farm in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. Kinsey-Warnock returns to the world she has lovingly described earlier in such titles as From Dawn Till Dusk (2002). On Hannah's old-fashioned farm, milking and haying are done by hand. Tourists at the nearby lake find farming tasks "relaxing," but Blue and Hannah, now in her 70s, consider them plain hard work. The book opens with Blue waiting not only for her "real mother," but also for the return of her best friend, a regular summer visitor named Nadine. But Nadine, nearly 12, has developed new interests and an unfamiliar mean streak. She even makes fun of Raleigh, a brain-damaged adult who does odd jobs around their supportive small town. Nadine's family, which Blue had once envied, is falling apart. For Blue, the summer brings a new understanding of what it means to be family and an appreciation for her own life, as well as answers to some mysterious disappearances--both animals and people--and the development of a talent for writing. Blue's first-person voice is believable and her growth convincing in this satisfying family and friendship story--with a perfect cover to boot. (Historical fiction. 9-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—A wholesome and satisfyingly predictable book, strongly evocative of Clare Vanderpool's Moon Over Manifest (Delacorte, 2010) and Jennifer L. Holm's Our Only May Amelia (HarperCollins, 1999). Blue, a softhearted 10-year-old farm girl, spends the summer of 1952 seeking to learn who abandoned her days after she was born. Kinsey-Warnock creates a nice balance between the fun Blue experiences in her small Northern Vermont town, where she lives with Hannah, the older woman who found her, and the tension she feels both in her friendship with a rich "summer" girl and about how some people treat a kindhearted, brain-damaged man. Hints and foreshadowing about missing animals and Blue's own mysterious heritage are deftly interwoven. Highly teachable with well-drawn characters and an engaging narrative voice, this novel also contains a well-integrated component about vocabulary and writing. Well-read youngsters will feel they've heard this story before, but in a good way: this is a sweet and worthwhile addition.Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375860997
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 11/13/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

NATALIE KINSEY-WARNOCK is the author of many wonderful historical novels for young readers, including The Canada Geese Quilt, which was an ALA Notable Book, a Booklist Editors' Choice, and an NCSS-CBC Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 25, 2014

    I work at an elementary school, and saw this on the shelf - the

    I work at an elementary school, and saw this on the shelf - the cover drew me in. I couldn't put it down, a well put together story with fantastic imagery. I loved this book, ordering another by her for my nook today.

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