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Children's Fiction Paranormal

The Absence of Sparrows

by (author) Kurt Kirchmeier

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Initial publish date
May 2019
Paranormal, Emotions & Feelings, Science Fiction, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Depression & Mental Illness
Recommended Age
8 to 12
Recommended Grade
3 to 7
Recommended Reading age
8 to 12
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2019
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Stranger Things meets The Stand in this haunting coming-of-age novel about a plague that brings the world to a halt -- and the boy who believes that his town's missing sparrows can save his family.
In the small town of Griever's Mill, eleven-year-old Ben Cameron is expecting to finish off his summer of relaxing and bird-watching without a hitch. But everything goes wrong when dark clouds roll in.
Old Man Crandall is the first to change -- human one minute and a glass statue the next. Soon it's happening across the world. Dark clouds fill the sky and, at random, people are turned into frozen versions of themselves. There's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no one knows how to stop it.
With his mom on the verge of a breakdown, and his brother intent on following the dubious plans put forth by a nameless voice on the radio, Ben must hold out hope that his town's missing sparrows will return with everyone's souls before the glass plague takes them away forever.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Kurt Kirchmeier is a Saskatchewan-based writer who has always been drawn to books with heart and a strong sense of mystery and wonder. He has a soft spot for speculative fiction and coming-of-age stories. When he isn't reading or writing, he enjoys spending time outdoors and connecting with nature. He's an avid photographer, and has a particular fondness for birds.

Editorial Reviews

* "A powerful piece of storytelling... Will resonate with anyone who understands that heroism is not a matter of saving the world but of maintaining yourself, and acting to protect those in your community -- despite the forces arrayed against you."
Quill and Quire, starred review

"Gripping and affecting."
Shelf Awareness

"A fresh spin on the post-apocalyptic genre.... A thought-provoking read."
Canadian Children's Book News

"This gripping novel trusts its young readers."—Booklist

"Stephen King-level horror haunting a tight, thoughtful domestic drama."—BCCB

"The mystery of the 'glass plague,' the constant threats to Ben and his family, and the fast-moving plot make the book hard to put down.... Sure to be popular with readers seeking a truly scary story."—School Library Journal

"Narrator Will Collyer brings realistic emotion to this creepy audiobook about a terrifying plague."AudioFile

"Creepy and engaging."
Publishers Weekly

"Will stick with the reader long after they are finished."
School Library Connection