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Children's Fiction Stepfamilies

Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess

by (author) Shari Green

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
May 2017
Stepfamilies, Special Needs, Stories in Verse
Recommended Age
8 to 12
Recommended Grade
3 to 7
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2017
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2017
    List Price
    $16.95 USD
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Where to buy it


Winner of the 2018 ALA Schneider Family Book Award, Middle Grade Books category

Sixth grade is coming to an end, and so is life as Macy McMillan knows it. Already a "For Sale" sign mars the front lawn of her beloved house. Soon her mother will upend their perfect little family, adding a stepfather and six-year-old twin stepsisters. To add insult to injury, what is Macy's final sixth grade assignment? A genealogy project. Well, she'll put it off - just like those wedding centerpieces she's supposed to be making.

Just when Macy's mother ought to be understanding, she sends Macy next door to help eighty six-year-old Iris Gillan, who is also getting ready to move - in her case into an assisted living facility. Iris can't pack a single box on her own and, worse, she doesn't know sign language. How is Macy supposed to understand her? But Iris has stories to tell, and she isn't going to let Macy's deafness stop her. Soon, through notes and books and cookies, a friendship grows. And this friendship, odd and unexpected, may be just what Macy needs to face the changes in her life.

Shari Green, author of Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles, writes this summer story with the lightest touch, spinning Macy out of her old story and into a new one full of warmth and promise for the future.


About the author

Shari Green spent a large portion of her childhood summers reading stacks of library books, and she’s still in love with stories today. Her acclaimed novels for young readers include Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess, which was a USBBY Outstanding International Book, a Junior Library Guild selection, the winner of the ALA Schneider Family Middle School Book Award, and a finalist for a dozen reader’s choice awards. Missing Mike was nominated for ten reader’s choice awards and selected as an NCTE Notable Poetry Book, among many other honors. Shari lives in Campbell River, British Columbia.


Shari Green's profile page


  • Short-listed, MYRA Maud Hart Lovelace Award
  • Short-listed, Connecticut Nutmeg Book Award
  • Winner, Lectio Book Award
  • Short-listed, Illinois Bluestem Readers' Choice Award
  • Short-listed, Utah Beehive Book Award: Poetry
  • Short-listed, Kentucky Bluegrass Award
  • Long-listed, Chocolate Lily Award: Novel category
  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Commended, IBBY Canada Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities
  • Short-listed, Great Stone Face Children's Book Award
  • Short-listed, Virginia Readers' Choice Middle School List
  • Short-listed, IODE Violet Downey Book Award
  • Commended, NYPL "How to Read Harder in 2019: A book by a woman and/or AOC (Author of Color) that won a literary award in 2018" selection
  • Commended, USBBY Outstanding International Books List - Grades 6-8 selection
  • Commended, NCTE "Spring Into New Book Recommendations" selection
  • Short-listed, SYRCA Diamond Willow Award
  • Winner, ALA Schneider Family Book Award — Middle School Books
  • Short-listed, Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction Award
  • Commended, Horn Book, "August 2018 Back-to-School Horn Book Herald: Intermediate" selection
  • Commended, Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens selection
  • Long-listed, Cybils Award: Poetry Book

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess

2018 ALA Schneider Family Book Award, Middle Grade Books Winner

2021 Nutmeg Book Award nominee

2021 MYRA Maud Hart Lavelace Award: Division 1 and Division 2 nominee

2021 Lectio Book Award Winner

2020 Illinois Bluestem Readers' Choice Award nominee

2020 Kentucky Bluegrass Award nominee

2020 Utah Beehive Book Awards: Poetry nominee

2019 Virginia Readers' Choice Middle School List nominee

2019 Great Stone Face Book Award shortlist

2019 Rocky Mountain Book Award nominee

2019 Chocolate Lily Award: Novel Category nominee

2018 IODE Violet Downey Book Award shortlist

2018 Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction shortlist

2018 SYRCA Diamond Willow Award shortlist

2018 USBBY Outstanding International Books List, Grades 6–8 selection

2018 NCTE "Spring Into New Book Recommendations" selection

2019 IBBY Canada Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities selection

2018 Horn Book, "August 2018 Back-to-School Horn Book Herald: Intermediate" selection

2018 New York Public Library "How to Read Harder in 2019: A book by a woman and/or AOC (Author of Color) that won a literary award in 2018" selection

2017 Cybils Award, Poetry Book nominee

2017 Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens selection

2017 Junior Library Guild selection

"Green's free verse makes this a quick, accessible read, focusing on Macy's realistic reluctance to share her mother and her gradual acceptance of the changes in her life....Macy's deafness is a feature but not the focus..."—The Horn Book Magazine

"This touching novel in verse makes clever use of space on each page, not only visually acknowledging Macy's deafness, but inviting all readers to understand and process language in multiple ways. Green's story confronts life's challenges with depth and realism, creating a narrative that is sparse yet impactful, with characters that are bursting with life."—Booklist

"Macy's deafness is skillfully woven into the story, adding depth and complexity to her characterization and relationships with others....VERDICT Macy's coming-of-age anxieties, observations, and insights will resonate with middle grade readers. A strong purchase for public and school libraries."—School Library Journal

"The verse trails down the pages in narrow bands leaving plenty of white space. Even characters that are barely sketched emerge fully realized through the spare yet poignant narrative....Macy's life lessons are realistic and illuminating; that she is deaf adds yet another dimension to an already powerful tale."—Kirkus Reviews

"In this poignant verse novel, readers will be touched by the humor and heroism of Macy McMillian, who faces unwanted changes in her life...While Macy's deafness is a feature of the book, the focus is her gradual acceptance of the changes in her life. This novel in verse is an accessible read about the families we chose for ourselves and the power of stories."—ILA Literacy Daily, "More Poetry, Please"

"Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is brimming with charm and plenty of references to other great books to appeal to the story lover in all of us....this heartfelt story shines with genuine hope and the promise that, no matter what challenges lie ahead of us, there is always a bright destination if we keep ourselves open to the unexpected people and opportunities that can help us get there."—BookPage

"One of the striking things about the characterization of Macy is that she is profoundly deaf, communicating primarily through sign language. Green's portrayal is highly authentic, and the various interactions Macy experiences are seamlessly introduced....Told as a verse-novel, in a light yet poignant style similar to Green's previous title, Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles, there is much to admire here including a clear plot line, rich character development, and sudden, incisive humour. In addition, it's clear that Macy is a young girl living in contemporary times rather than a projection of the author's own childhood, and the book’s details, including its school and community settings, feel modern and accurate."—CM Magazine

"This deceptively simple novel-in-verse is a beautifully emotional, poetic treasure. Shari Green's writing is captivating and she has created...a complex, true-to-life, sensitive preteen girl....Green's writing is superbly lyrical, touching, and likely to stick with readers for a long time."—Resource Links

"Shari Green's beautifully crafted and affecting novel-in-verse provides a sensitive depiction of a young girl wrestling with change and learning some important life lessons in the process. The unlikely friendship that develops between Macy and her neighbour Iris (who is facing some major life changes of her own) as they bond over books and fresh-baked cookies, is heartwarming and inspiring....This book is a thoughtful reflection on what makes a family, the power of friendship and the sacredness of stories (our own and others)."—Canadian Children's Book News

"Written in blank verse, this pre-teen novel is easy to read with an almost poetic rhythm. Good for ages eight to 12."—Winnipeg Free Press

"I loved this book because it was written in free-verse poetry, which made it a more interesting and fun read. I felt that this book had the wonderful message that you can always find something good in life, no matter what happens!"—Hannah, Age 9, Kids' BookBuzz

"[A] heartwarming story..."—Omnilibros

"Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is a message from the writing goddesses that everyone's life is just a story or series of stories that need to be told to be fully appreciated but no worries here because one of their scribes, Shari Green, has taken on that task capably and, like Iris, with wholehearted extravagance."—CanLit for LittleCanadians

"This verse novel is admirable. Its wonderful characters, memorable plot, perfectly chosen language and form, familiar settings, unwelcome changes and humor offer readers a very personal look at a young girl struggling to find her way. She does it with the help of family and friends. The stories, notes and cookies that Macy shares with her 'rainbow goddess' leads to a very unexpected friendship - and the heart of this very special book."—Sal's Fiction Addiction

"Perfect middle grade free verse....[H]eartwarming and thought-provoking..."—The Loud Library Lady

"Macy is a wonderful character, and it's amazing to watch her grow..."—Book Time

"Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is an absolutely charming story from start to finish that encourages cross-generation friendships and getting to know someone before making judgements. I highly recommend."—Bookish Notions

"[H]eartwarming and heartbreaking all at once....Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess would be a welcome addition to every school library and school curriculum. Besides being a master class in verse writing, it is also a master class in telling stories about how relationships, and looking beyond the exterior, can change the way we look at the world."—Middle Grade Minded

"I fell for Macy instantly....Everything about this book was wonderful."—The Mystical Skeptic

"Some stories are just made for the verse novel format. This is one of them. Pacing is tight and word choice is solid....I also appreciated that while Macy is deaf, its not the sum total of her character."—The One and Only Marfalfa

"I loved that Green has chosen a deaf girl for a heroine, and the story is not about being deaf. Deafness is just part of who Macy is...I appreciated the reminder that, while change may be unwelcome, it can also bring wonderful things. Give [Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess] to anyone who enjoys books about intergenerational relationships, or who needs help with some unwelcome change."—The Librarian is on the Loose

"I loved this one. I really liked Macy. But I loved, loved, loved Iris. Together these two make for a GREAT read....Macy is a flawed heroine--my favorite kind. So in terms of characterization, this one was wonderful. The language--the writing--was great."—Becky's Book Reviews

"[A] sweet read....I love the diversity - yes, Macy is deaf, but the disability doesn't drive the story. A great story of empathy."—Kiss the Book

"The poetry and type face help to express both Macy's emotional state and the rhythm of sign....Five stars."—Puss Reboots

"This heartwarming story unfolds a beautiful bond between the elder 'rainbow goddess' and the younger 'seeker of comfort'....The book is written beautifully in free verse and the characters are well developed....I highly recommend this book."—StoryWraps

"Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is touching without being full of angst. Macy McMillan is a typical sixth grader with one exception — she's deaf. In a refreshing twist, this story doesn't use Macy's hearing as a main focal point....Green's ability to relate the story through Macy's eyes sets this book apart....sure to appeal to anyone struggling with the challenges of friendships in the middle grades."—The Joplin Globe


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