Reader Reviewed Sparrow The Story of Joan of Arc by Michael Morpurgo

Sparrow The Story of Joan of Arc

Written by Michael Morpurgo

9+ readers   11+ readers   Michael Morpurgo   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

A vivid re-telling of the story of the great French heroine Joan of Arc which weaves together the hopes and aspirations of a contemporary French girl with the stirring story from the past. Inspired by a picture at home, Eloise has always loved the thought of the brave and determined Joan. When her family move to Orleans Eloise gazes up at the site of the English fort which Joan stormed. Like her heroine, Eloise befriends a sparrow and soon the true story of Joan unfolds. Award-winning Michael Morpurgo is moving and compelling in this retelling which was originally published as Joan of Arc. ~ Julia Eccleshare

Reader Reviews

A small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review SparrowClick Here to read the full reviews.

  • George Symonds, age 11 - 'This a really good read for girls and boys. It tells an historical story in a fictional way. I found out a lot from this book and really enjoyed reading it.'  
  • Anna Leaver, age 9 - 'A girl called Eloise has a heroine, Joan of Arc. She moves to Orleans where she has a dream about her heroine and meets a special bird. A thrilling historic tale.'  


Sparrow The Story of Joan of Arc by Michael Morpurgo

Eloise has always loved Joan of Arc. Noble, honest and brave, she was everything Eloise wishes to be. And on a bright sunny day in Orleans, Eloise has a very special daydream...

There was only one creature on this earth who really knew Joan. He was a sparrow, just an ordinary sparrow...He was her best friend on this earth, maybe her only friend, too. A young girl faces an impossible task - to save her beloved France from tyrants. To free her country, Joan will lose everyone she has ever loved. But she listens to her heart and believes in her calling. Through patience, perseverance and unbreakable spirit, Joan of Arc leads armies to victory and finds the strength to face the cruellest of destinies.

A superb re-imagining of Joan of Arc by master storyteller and author of War Horse.


Praise for Michael Morpurgo:

Michael Morpurgo writes brilliantly about war and animals, conveying the big emotions without preaching. - The Guardian

Champagne quality over a wide range of subjects. - Daily Telegraph

There are few children's writers as compelling as Michael Morpurgo. - Daily Express

Morpurgo's gift is to make this long-ago world of danger and heartbreak accessible without ever patronising his young readers. - Sunday Mercury

Morpurgo, as always, is subtle and skillful, and incorporates social and moral issues into his writing without being self-righteous or detracting from the quality of the narrative Elizabeth Reilly - British Council

The former children's laureate has the happy knack of speaking to both child and adult readers. The Guardian

About the Author

Michael Morpurgo

March 16 was Michael Morpurgo month on Lovereading4kids - click here to view the favourites we selected on themes of Legends, Animals, War and Journeys.

Michael Morpurgo, OBE, MBE, is one of the UK’s best-loved authors and storytellers. He was appointed Children’s Laureate in May 2003, a post he helped to set up with his friend Ted Hughes in 1999. He was awarded an OBE for services to Literature in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2007. He has written over 120 books, including Kensuke’s Kingdom which won the Children’s Book Award 2000 and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children’s Book Award and the Carnegie Medal in 2000. His novel, Private Peaceful, a harrowing story about the First World War was published in Autumn 2003. It won the 2004 Red House Children’s Book Award and the Blue Peter Book Award in 2005. His novel Shadow about a boy from Afghanistan and the dog he befriends won the Red House Children’s Book Award, voted for by children.

Many of Michael’s books have been adapted for the stage. These include Private Peaceful, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Why the Whales Came and The Mozart Question, and most notably, the National Theatre’s production of War Horse which then moved to a theatre in central London. This production of Michael’s moving and powerful story of survival on the Western Front, which reached number one in the Observer’s top ten theatre performances and was also awarded the best design prize in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. This production also played in New York where it was awarded five Tony Awards. In 2012 the film adaptation of War Horse, directed by Steven Spielberg, was a box office success.
Michael travels all over the UK and abroad talking to children and telling his stories and encouraging them to tell theirs.

In 1976, Michael and his wife, Clare, started the charity Farms for City Children. They help to run three farms around the country, in Gloucestershire, Pembrokeshire and North Devon. Each farm offers children and teachers from urban primary schools the chance to live and work in the countryside for a week, and gain hands-on experience. For more information about the work of Farms for City Children, please visit

Michael Morpurgo lives in Devon with his wife Clare. He has three children and seven grandchildren.

Michael Morpurgo was our Guest Editor in June 2010. Click here to see the books that inspired his writing, or scroll down to see books written by Michael.

Anthony Horowitz on Michael Morpurgo:

'Michael Morpurgo is the most solid, classical of children's authors. He sits outside the series-driven blockbusters so beloved of publishers nowadays: he hasn't created a Harry Potter or an Alex Rider – and I admire him for resisting that. We are opposite sides of the same coin and, although his work has never influenced mine, I admire the eloquent, considered voice of his best books. He has an unerring moral compass – his schoolteacher past has never quite left him – and books such as War Horse and The Butterfly Lion have a strong social concience and an honesty that makes them universal.' (The Guardian)

Why not CLICK HERE to take a peek at Michael’s 10 Rules for Writing.

or Click here to read a Q&A with the author.

You can also read about his life in a new biography, War Child to War Horse, to which he has contributed seven stories - click here to find out more.

Michael is the inaugural President of the Historical Writers Association starting from Autumn 2011, ( It was founded to bring social and professional support to writers of historical fiction and non-fiction, publishers, agents and booksellers, all bound both by their common interest in historical books and by the sense of community that comes from a shared obsession.

Since its creation, the Historical Writers' Association has launched a Festival of Historical Writing in association with English Heritage as part of their Festival of History at Kelmarsh in Northamptonshire.


March 2016 was Michael Morpurgo Month - a special month-long celebration of the varied and wonderful works of Michael Morpurgo as he celebrates his 70th year and also to mark the 40th anniversary of his and his wife’s Farms for City Children charity. Each week we featured a different selection of books under the themes of Journeys, War, Legends and Animals. We invited our readers to review many of the books that featured during Michael Morpurgo month - and you can download all their reviews here.

If you like Michael Morpurgo you might also like to read books by Robert Westall, Anne Fine, Sarah Lean and Celia Rees.

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Book Info


256 pages
Interest Age: From 9


Michael Morpurgo
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HarperCollins Children's Books an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Publication date

29th March 2012




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