Title Thumbnail

This Opening Sky

160 pages
Bushel & Peck Books

Historical fiction at its finest! A sweet and sensitive, accessible middle grade novel in verse, following an unlikely friendship in the aftermath of the American Civil War.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

“As Reconstruction begins, two 12-year-old girls join forces and head north to find their families....Elly’s and Halle’s distinct voices and strong personalities balance each other nicely as each in turn gives and receives help....A moving post–Civil War story of comradeship and self-discovery.”—Kirkus Reviews

The Civil War is over.

Aurelia, the daughter of a destitute plantation owner, reels from the aftermath of a war that has torn her life apart.

Halle, a newly freed slave, looks for a family she fears is lost forever.

When fate brings the two girls together, they head north in a joint quest for freedom: one from human shackles, the other from pride.

Differences and judgment soon give way to an unexpected friendship between two girls who have more in common than meets the eye, as do we all. Heartwarming and life-changing, This Opening Sky is a tale of hope that proves that when love overcomes prejudice, we’re all set free together.

Excerpts from the This Opening Sky:


My hands are torn,

blistered and bleeding.

No longer the hands of a young lady.

I drop my hoe and unwrap my bandaged fingers.

Nails, once perfectly manicured,

now dirty and broken.

The hands of a field worker.


“Stay,” Miss Ruby Lee say.

“Please don’t go.”

She all the mama

I know now.

What if Mama

come for me?

Pa say

he be back.

What if he come

and I be gone?

But if they come

and these folk

don’t let me go,

like they do Cassie and Thad,

then what I’m gonna do?

Seem like stayin’

be wastin’

my free.