HomeBooks by AgeAges 9-12Back Home: Julia Keller

Back Home: Julia Keller

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: February 22, 2010

Back Home Back Home

by Julia Keller

Reading level: Ages 10 and up

Hardcover: 208 pages

Publisher: EgmontUSA (September 8, 2009)

Source of book: Publicist

What to expect: Family, Rehabilitation, War

Wow. This book is raw and honest. As a writer for the Chicago Tribune, Author Julia Keller wrote a three-part series about traumatic brain injury. This experience, combined with the many real-life stories she was reading about American soldiers who were coming back home from Iraq and Afghanistan with brain injuries, was the motivation behind this incredible story.

Back Home is about a family who is forced to deal with, as a result from war, a huge change. Their father has been injured—he has a traumatic brain injury. From the view point of the eldest daughter in the family, Rachel, we are allowed a look into the personal and honest feelings of how difficult this can be for the entire family. Rachel’s character lets readers into her mind and offers them a deep and emotional understanding of what living with a family member who has suffered a traumatic brain injury is really like. This is a poignant novel that I recommend reading together as a family.

“… I kind of wished she’d go on that way forever, holding Robbie, rocking back and forth, while she asked her questions. She asked about why Dad couldn’t have stayed longer at Walter Reed, where he’d been making a lot of good progress. She asked about why there wasn’t a s[ecial hospital in town for people with brain injuries. She asked why there wasn’t more information available about people with brain injuires—not just for us, the families involved, but for the rest of the country, so they’d understand. Didn’t anybody care? Didn’t anybody see what these men and women had given up? How their lives were changed forever? And the lives of their families, their children? How things would never, ever be the same again?”

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

Comments
  • Thanks for your review. The book sounds very interesting, and potentially quite helpful for children who know veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan (or any other combat zone for that matter).

    I have a question though: this sounds like possibly difficult, intense, or even scary material to work through for children, even for a ten-year-old. Are there particularly sensitive, scary, or intense moments in the book that adults should know about when considering the book for a child?

    Thanks for your blog. I’m greatly enjoying it!

    February 22, 2010
    • Great question!

      There is nothing easy about the topic of this book. The family is certainly struggling with the changes that come from the brain injury, and there are many intense and emotional moments. I highly recommend that the book be read together as a family, that way any difficult questions that arise can be disscussed thoroughly. Parents of sensitive children, or children who may be sensitive to the topic, may prefer to read the book before presenting it to their children–especially the younger set.

      February 22, 2010

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