Whistle in the Dark

by Susan Hill Long
eBook | Pages: 192
Size: 5-1/2 X 8-1/4 | USD: $6.99
ISBN: 9780823430079
Publication Date: July 31, 2013
Age: 8-12 | Guided Reading Level: Y
Themes: 20th Century, Coming Of Age, Family & Relationships, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Making Choices
Recommendations: A,C,H,PW*,SLJ

About the Book

What Clem wants for his thirteenth birthday is a dog. What he gets is a miner’s cap. It’s the 1920s in Leadanna, Missouri, and money is tight in the Harding household. So, Clem, a gifted student and talented writer, must leave school and join Pap in the lead mines, spending his days digging in the suffocating dark beneath the crushing weight of the earth.

While searching for another way to help support his family—Grampy’s suffering from miner’s consumption and little sister Esther with epilepsy—Clem meets Lindy, the daughter of a local moonshiner, whose face bears a scar from a terrible accident. The two become friends, but soon a series of disasters strike, including a devastating tornado.

Clem’s friendship with Lindy and the devotion of a remarkable stray dog help him to reconcile his dreams with the reality of family responsibility and face some hard decisions about his future.

This beautifully written coming-of-age novel shines with true characters, a vivid setting, and heart-felt relationships.

Read an Excerpt
Read an Excerpt

Whistle in the Dark

Educator's Guide
Educator's Guide


Discussion questions and interdisciplinary connections with Common Core State Standards.

★”The novel sings with graceful recurring motifs, true emotions, and devastating observations about the beauty that can be found in the darkest hours.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“As engaging historical fiction does best, this debut novel vividly brings to light a period in time where values prove timeless.”