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Shades of Truth: From Sadie’s Sketchbook [BOOK REVIEW]

  • Author: Naomi Kinsman | Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter |
  • Reading level: Ages 9 and up
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher:  Zonderkidz (November 15, 2011)

“They talked about God like they could touch him, like he was something real. To me, God was like fog, something you think is there, but when you move closer, it’s gone.” – Sadie Douglas in Shades of Truth by Naomi Kinsman


It’s Going to Be a Bear of a Year

Sadie thought she’d have a perfect fresh start when she moved to Owl Creek, Michigan, but finding her place in her new school proves harder than she expected. In this divided town, Sadie’s father’s job mediating between bear hunters and researchers doesn’t help her social life. Sadie’s art instructor encourages her to explore her beliefs and express herself through her sketchbook, and things improve after Sadie befriends a kind girl from school and a researcher’s son—but she can’t stop worrying about the bears. As everything swirls around her, Sadie must learn what it means to have faith when you don’t have all the answers.”


#3words2describe – Layered, Inspirational, Bright


Shades of Truth is the first book in Naomi Kinsman’s youth Christian fiction series, From Sadie’s Sketchbook.  It is a touching tale of trying to grow up while finding and developing Christian faith.  Twelve-year-old Sadie Douglas moves from California to Michigan when her father gets a new job. Matthew Douglas’ new position is as a mediator between Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (and the bear researchers working with it) and local hunters who believe that the bears pose a serious threat. Sadly, Matthew’s job pits many of the hunters’ children against Sadie, making the transition into her new life difficult.

While trying to navigate between challenges at school and home, Sadie discovers new interests – black bears, a Christian youth group, and sketching – that help her to better interpret and cope with the things going on around her. Sadie deals with SO many issues [keeping old friends, making new friends, dealing with a sick parent, bullying, misunderstandings] and changes that I wasn’t sure that Kinsman could pull off a good finish and tie in faith without the story falling apart. It was a little much from my adult POV (but perhaps accurate for kids in this day and age).  I think that Kinsman does a good job of keeping the reader engaged, in spite of all the story layers. (The emails to California friends were a nice way to handle Sadie’s “old” life).

The plus side of all these issues is that Sadie is a character that many young girls can probably relate to well. I found Kinsman’s approach to weaving in the discovery of faith from a young person’s POV both realistic and refreshing (not heavy-handed or preachy). I think that adults will relate to the “developing a closer relationship with God” aspect of the story as well.

I snidely expected this to be a peachy-keen type of story. Not so. Sadie has to learn some hard lessons. Thought-provoking and drama-filled, Shades of Truth makes for good conversation. I would read other books in the series.

Recommended for:

  • Middle school (and up) readers
  • Christian readers

NOTE: I received a free adavance reading copy of Shades of Truth through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

Check out my Shades of Truth board on Pinterest. Can you think of any pins that I should add? Please be sure to follow me while you’re there.

Check out Sadie’s next book: Flickering Hope (Faithgirlz!/From Sadie’s Sketchbook).


One response to “Shades of Truth: From Sadie’s Sketchbook [BOOK REVIEW]

  1. Pingback: The 8th Annual MotherReader 48-Hour Book Challenge | June 7–9, 2013 | A. Literary Mafia

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