Her Mother’s Secret
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Year: 2012
Length: 184 p.
ASIN: 0983193878
ISBN: 9780983193876

Fifteen-year-old Sarah, the daughter of Jewish immigrants, wants nothing more than to become an artist. But as she spreads her wings she must come to terms with the secrets that her family is only beginning to share with her. Replete with historical details that vividly evoke the Chicago of the 1890s, this moving coming-of-age story is set against the backdrop of a vibrant, turbulent city. Sarah moves between two very different worlds—the colorful immigrant neighborhood surrounding Hull House and the sophisticated, elegant World’s Columbian Exposition. This novel eloquently captures the struggles of a young girl as she experiences the timeless emotions of friendship, family turmoil, loss…and first love.

About the Book

Silver award winner in the Young Adult Fiction – Historical/Cultural category of the Moonbeam Children’s Books Awards

Finalist for the Midwest Book Awards in the YA Fiction category

Winner of the IBPA Ben Franklin Award for Teen Fiction



A companion guide for this book (which includes photographs, discussion questions, read-alikes, and resources for further exploration) can be found by clicking here.


Praise for Her Mother’s Secret

“Very well-written and a quick read. It would appeal to young women who like to read coming-of-age stories, and fans of historical fiction…Prejudice against Jewish Americans, the death of young children, and strains within the family are woven eloquently throughout the book.” — VOYA

“Features a 15-year-old heroine, but you don’t have to be a teenager to appreciate the detail-rich environment the author creates…Although the historical and cultural backdrop are presented with well-rendered specificity, many of the problems that Sarah and her family deal with are universal.” — Reading the Past

“The background is beautifully realized and captures readers’ fascination for the period. The author shapes Sarah’s character most skillfully of all, illustrating the optimism of youth…A treat written by a fine storyteller.” — Historical Novels Review


Trade Paperback ♦ ISBN 978-0-9831938-7-6 ♦ $14.99

Ebook ♦ ISBN 978-0-9831938-8-3 ♦ $6.99

Available through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

JUVENILE FICTION/Historical/United States/19th Century

5.5″ x 8.5″

178 pages

• to download printer-friendly information about this book click here

About the Author
Barbara Garland Polikoff

Barbara Garland Polikoff is the author of several novels and non-fiction books for children and young adults. Her first novel, Life’s a Funny Proposition, Horatio, was an American Library Association Notable Book for Children, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and winner of the Carl Sandburg Award for best children’s book. She lives in a Chicago suburb with her husband.

Look Inside
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