Blue Skies

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Trade Hardcover ISBN: 9781534446069

Ten-year old Glory Bea Bennett believes in miracles. After all, her grandmother—the best matchmaker in the whole county—is responsible for thirty-nine of them so far.

Now, Glory Bea wants a miracle of her own—her daddy’s return.

The war ended three years ago, but Glory Bea’s father never returned from the front in France. Though he was lost on Omaha Beach, deep down in her heart, she believes Daddy is still out there.

When reports that the Texas boxcar from the Merci Train (the “thank you” train)—a train filled with gifts of gratitude from the people of France—will be stopping in Gladiola, Glory Bea just knows daddy will be its surprise cargo.

But miracles, like people, are always changing, until at last they find their way home.

*Parents’ Choice Recommended Book Award Winner 2020*


“Readers are sure to fall in love with the delightful and inventive Glory Bea, and with the entire cast of this wonderful story. I loved Blue Skies so much I couldn’t bear for it to end.” Patricia Reilly Giff, Newbery Honor author of Lily’s Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods

“A tender story of grief and the gentle comfort of loved ones.”  Kirkus Reviews

“A lovely story with an age-old theme.” Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop

“A heart-warming (and occasionally heart-wrenching) delight of a book . . .” Joy Preble, Brazos Bookstore

Blue Skies is perfect for fans of heartfelt middle grade with a twist of humor.”  Rae Ann Parker, Parnassus Books

“This is an endearing story that skillfully addresses loss, love, and hope. Weaving together small-town charm and friendly antics, Bustard cleverly integrates a history of the Merci Trains with a young girl’s desperate desire to see her father again. . . . VERDICT This snapshot of a unique time in American history will inspire young readers and convince them that dreams are worth fighting for.” Rebecca Redinger, Lincoln Park Branch, Chicago Public Library, School Library Journal

“I love how I couldn’t seem to stop reading until I learned if Glory Bea’s greatest miracle would come true. . . . This is Glory Bea’s story as much as it is ours as a country and a love letter to all the soldiers who did and didn’t come home.” Jennifer Silverwood, author and blogger

“Blue Skies is a sensitive portrait of a young girl’s struggle to come to terms with loss and disappointment and to open herself to new relationships and new possibilities.” David Shirley, Parents’ Choice