Cass' brother, Sef, has joined the military and been deployed to Iraq. His departure has changed their household a lot. Not only is Sef gone, but their mother is battling some form of depression as she worries about her son, and it feels as though she is concerned only with him. Cassie's best friend is no longer speaking to her, and as she tries to cope with the changes in her life, she begins to fall behind on homework. One assignment she is given, however, is something she finds very meaningful. Cassie begins to follow a blog called Blue Sky and writes to the young Iraqi girl who authors this blog. Through Blue Sky, Cass can understand a perspective different from her own and also find some comfort in what she is going through in her own life.
Right now my fifth grade book club is reading The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis. This book is consistently the one title that my book club members vote as their favorite read of the year. Set in Afghanistan, Parvana must cut her hair and dress like a boy in order to get food and water for her family after her father's arrest. Life in Afghanistan is hard. Dear Blue Sky by Mary Sullivan reminds me of The Breadwinner a bit.
There are also several references to The Giver by Lois Lowry. Cass has been assigned to read this novel for school, and having read this book myself did help in my enjoyment of Dear Blue Sky.
Although I don't think I will replace The Breadwinner as a book club selection, I would love to add Dear Blue Sky as a companion novel.