Sons from Afar

Sons from Afar

For Ages: 12 and up
  • reading group guide
Will a common cause unite two brothers—or drive them further apart? Find out in the sixth installment of Cynthia Voigt’s Tillerman cycle.

If James and Sammy Tillerman agree on anything, it’s that they have nothing in common. Sammy is a tough jock, while James is an intellectual who has begun to question his identity. Then James enlists his brother’s help to find Francis Verricker, who may be the father who deserted them long ago. Through this quest, the brothers learn more about themselves than they thought possible.
Cynthia Voigt writes realistically of human failure—and triumph—in this poignant novel from her acclaimed Tillerman cycle.
Choose a format:
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442450653 | 
  • July 2012 | 
  • Grades 7 and up
List Price $21.99

Read an Excerpt

Sons from Afar CHAPTER 1
James Tillerman watched his brother, Sammy, who was bailing two inches of rain water from their boat. It had rained all the previous night—a cold slanting March rain—and most of the morning, too. Then, Marchlike, the wind had shifted in the afternoon to the southwest, blowing the heavy clouds away, blowing warm. In the twilight, the boys had come down to bail the boat.

Sammy sat on... see more

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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

The Tillerman Cycle
By Cynthia Voigt

About the Books

The four Tillerman children—Dicey, James, Maybeth, and Sammy—have always presented a unified front to the world in spite of the troubles they encounter. Even when they are abandoned by their emotionally ill mother, they find strength in each other as they search desperately for a place to call home. As they build a new life with their grandmother, however, they must learn how to remain a close-knit unit under very different circumstances than those they had previously known. And as they grow up and begin to follow their own separate dreams, it becomes more and more difficult to remember just how important family can be. Cynthia Voigt's moving Tillerman books—which trace journeys both physical and emotional—have garnered many honors, including a Newbery Medal for Dicey’s Song and a Newbery Honor for A Solitary Blue.

Discussion Topics

1. When their mother leaves, Dicey takes responsibility for the younger children and becomes, in effect, the head of their family. How does she feel about having this much responsibility? In what ways is she prepared for this change, and in what ways is it apparent that she is still a child herself? How does Dicey’s role within the family change as the children move in with their grandmother and get older?

2. James is con see more

About the Author

Cynthia Voigt
Photograph courtesy of the author

Cynthia Voigt

Cynthia Voigt won the Newbery Medal for Dicey’s Song, the Newbery Honor Award for A Solitary Blue, and the National Book Award Honor for Homecoming, all part of the beloved Tillerman cycle. She is also the author of many other celebrated books for middle grade and teen readers, including Izzy, Willy-Nilly and Jackaroo. She was awarded the Margaret A. Edwards Award in 1995 for her work in literature, and the Katahdin Award in 2004. She lives in Maine.

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