Book title: Heart of a Shepherd
Release Date: January 27, 2009
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Author’s website: www.rosanneparry.com
Brother has never been the rancher that his father and the older boys are. Sure, he can ride a horse, rescue a wayward calf, or mend a broken fence, but his heart just doesn’t seem to be in it. Even worse, every time one of the ranch animals dies, he feels the loss too keenly. Still, with four older brothers to carry the load, it’s never been much of a problem.
Then Brother’s father is sent to Iraq with the rest of his reserve unit. With the older boys away at school, Brother must help his grandparents keep the ranch going. He’s determined to maintain the ranch just as his father left it, in the hope that doing so will ensure his father’s safe return. But life rarely goes according to plan. The hardships Brother faces will not only change the ranch but also reveal his true calling.
All it took was one day of helping out no her best friend’s ranch in eastern Oregon to convince Rosanne Parry that being a cowboy was not her true calling—and stock horses everywhere are grateful. The lessons in calf roping didn’t stick but the stark beauty of eastern Oregon and the kindness and generosity of the ranching community made a lasting impression. Rosanne found a similar rapport among the military families she knew when her husband, an army officer, was deployed to the First Gulf War. Writing HEART OF A SHEPHERD allowed her to combine her experiences with both communities. Rosanne now lives in an old farmhouse in Portland, Oregon with bunnies and chickens and her husband and four kids. She wrote this story in her tree house.
Grandpa frowns when he plays chess, like he does when he prays. He’s got a floppy mustache that pulls that frown right down past his chin. He used to have freckles like me, but I guess they expanded on him, because his whole face is pack-mule tan, with a fan of wrinkles at the corners. Years and years of moving cattle and mending fences gives a man a fearsome look, and I bet if I work at it, I can look just like my grandpa by the time I go to board at the high school. But the fences are mended for now and the cows are up in the mountains with my older brothers, so Grandpa and me are playing chess out on the back porch.
Grandpa’s chessmen are world-famous around here. They came over the Oregon Trail with Grandpa’s grandfather in the covered wagon, and before that they came straight from Paris, France. They were carved by hand from ebony for the dark side and ivory for the light. The pawns all have round helmets and longbows. Everyone else has a sword, even the bishops, and their faces are dead serious, which is what you want when there’s a war on.
Author Photo: Corona Photography