Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Breathing Room

Breathing Room

Marsha Hayles

Square Fish



Trade Paperback

Evvy Hoffmeister is thirteen years old when her family brings her to Loon Lake Sanatorium to get cured of tuberculosis (TB). Evvy is frightened by her new surroundings; the rules to abide are harsh and the nurses equally rigid. But Evvy soon falls into step with the other girls in her ward. There's Sarah, quiet but thoughtful; Pearl, who adores Hollywood glamour; and Dina, whose harshness conceals a deep strength. Together, the girls brave the difficult daily routines. Set in 1940 at a time of political unrest throughout the U.S. and Europe, this thought-provoking novel sheds light on a much-feared worldwide illness. Hundreds of thousands of people died each year of TB, and many ill children were sent away to sanatoriums to hopefully recover.

Marsha Hayles' Breathing Room is a masterful novel—both eloquent and moving—that gives voice to those who fought hard to overcome the illness.

South Carolina Children's Book Award Master List, Maine Cream of the Crop Master List, ME Cream of the Crop Master List, Minnesota Maud Hart Lovelace Book A ML, Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice A. ML, Minnesota Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award, MN Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award, CCBC Choice (Univ. of WI), Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award Master List, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, Tri-State Reviews Committee Books of Note - Master List, Utah Beehive Book Award Master List, South Carolina Children's Book Award ML


Breathing Room

(May 1940)

FATHER JERKED THE CAR to the side of the road and stopped. "Are you okay, Evvy?" he asked, turning in his seat to look at me.
I pitched my head back, gasping...


Praise for Breathing Room

“A moving and well-wrought story.” —School Library Journal

“A quiet, sober story of a genuine heroine who survives a devastating disease with grace.” —Kirkus

“…a perfect read…” —Horn Book

“Hayles's sympathetic characters and detailed account is complemented by historical documents and photos throughout.” —Publishers Weekly

“Hayles's evocative, airy imagery gives wing to her rhyming verse.” —Publishers Weekly on The Feathered Crown

“Unadorned, gracefully rhyming text is partnered with delicate watercolor illustrations, resulting in a gentle perspective . . . that will strike a chord with nature lovers and young children settling down to sleep.” —School Library Journal on The Feathered Crown

“The snappy text uses natural, unforced rhymes and repetition to great effect. . . . This book demands to be read aloud. The energy contained within coupled with the innocent joy of imaginative play are engaging and satisfying.” —School Library Journal on He Saves the Day

In the Press

Read the Kirkus Review of BREATHING ROOM . Confined to a tuberculosis sanatorium in rural Minnesota, 13 year-old Evelyn Hoffmeister develops inner strength as she copes with loneliness, loss and the insidious disease that threatens her life. - Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Marsha Hayles

Marsha Hayles is the author of several books for young children. Breathing Room is her first novel. She lives in Pittsford, New York, with her family.

Marsha Hayles

From the Publisher

Square Fish

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