A powerful and intense story about how recently our society considered some children to be worthless and expendable and a reminder that this is still the the case in many places.
Canadian Children's Book News
Ruby Jeans unique voice coupled with the hardships thrown her way make for a poignant novel. Lessons of hope, perseverance and self-restraint are told by someone who was simply en retard.
What If? Magazine
Ruby Jeans story at Woodlands is terrible because its so true.
Canadian Teacher magazine
As a tale of privation, Free as a Bird reads like Janet Fitch's novel White Oleander, but for young people. There's brightness at the end, but getting there is grim.
Without lecturing and through excellent use of narrative, this author renders the reader to be Ruby Jean. And through this exquisite experience, empathy and understanding flourish. McMurchy-Barber uses some of her experiences with her sister with Down syndrome to assist her in finding voice for this must-tell story.