Jack vs. the Tornado • Amanda Cleary Eastep

Tree Street Kids (Book 1)

April 2021 • Paperback • 978-0-8024-2102-9

Adventures, friendships, and faith-testers . . . all under the watchful eye of a great big God.

The Tree Street Kids live on Cherry, Oak, Maple, and Pine, but their 1990s suburban neighborhood is more than just quiet, tree-lined streets. Jack, Ellison, Roger, and Ruthie face challenges and find adventures in every creek and cul-de-sac—as well as God’s great love in one small neighborhood.

In the first book of the Tree Street Kids series, 10-year-old Jack is shocked to discover his parents are moving from their rural homestead to the boring suburbs of Chicago. Full of energy and determination, Jack devises a plan to get himself back to his beloved farmhouse forever. Only three things stand in his way: a neighbor in need, a shocking discovery, and tornado season. Will Jack find a solution? Or is God up to something bigger than Jack can possibly imagine?


Amanda Cleary Eastep is the senior developmental editor at Moody Publishers in Chicago and the author of the Tree Street Kids series. Her children’s writing has been published in Ladybug and The Friend and in Sunday school curriculum. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and she leads writing workshops at her local teen center. Follow Amanda at amandaclearyeastep.com or on Instagram at book_leaves, and follow along with The Tree Street Kids at treestreetkids.com.


For my tenth birthday, I got the worst present ever.

We moved.

The day after the ice-cream cake and new gym shoes, my mom and dad packed up the farmhouse where we’d lived my whole life and kerplunked us into the suburbs of Chicago. My new town, King’s Grove, is only forty miles away from the farm. But it feels like a million.

Moving is worse than getting socks and underwear for your birthday.

Here’s what you can’t pack when you move:

The freedom to toss metal coffee cans into the air and shoot them with a BB gun.
My favorite chicken, Henrietta, who sits on my lap and even survived a tornado.
The way the sun sets behind our barn and turns the distant farm buildings into black silhouettes against the blazing orange sky.

And we couldn’t pack my grandparents (for obvious reasons) who we had lived with on the farm in Goodnow all my life. They stayed to spruce up the place before they put it up for sale and moved too. They said the farm was just getting to be “too much.” That’s grown-up code for too much work and too much money.

But the worst thing? I couldn’t pack the best fort in the world – the hayloft in our barn. It was one, two, three, four, five, six, creak, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven steps up the wooden ladder. Then a hop over the top of the ladder into the wide open space under the towering ceiling of wood timbers.

Since my grandparents had sold their milk cow and horse a few years ago, the loft wasn’t stacked with bales of hay anymore. I guess the only “animal” left in the barn was Grandpa Ernie’s old, brown Ford Bronco.

So the hayloft was all mine…except for two giant electric Christmas candles and Midge, my little sister. I had to let her play up there sometimes. Luckily, she doesn’t like dolls. And when I frown and say, “Do not touch my stuff,” she doesn’t.

I had the hayloft set up just right: plastic crates for chairs, eight cinder blocks and a piece of plywood for a table, and the bucket seat out of a long-gone car.

My grandpa had built the barn and the hayloft door by hand when my dad was a kid. The door’s oak wood, sanded smooth and stained brown as a big chocolate bar, was almost too fancy for a barn. Across the middle of the door, Grandpa had carved a Bible verse: “By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country.”

The verse is about Abraham, the father of the Hebrew people. When God told him to go to a new place, Abraham obeyed, even though he didn’t know where he was going.

Kind of like moving to the suburbs.


This is the kind of children’s book series I’ve been searching for. I finished Jack vs. the Tornado in one sitting and felt a growing fondness for the characters with each passing chapter. I can’t wait to introduce my children to the Tree Street Kids!
Asheritah Ciuciu
Author of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus and Unwrapping the Names of Jesus for Kids (2021)

Jack vs. the Tornado is a lovely, encouraging, fun, and hopeful book. Amanda weaves an adventure tale that is captivating to children and moving to adults. My young daughter read Jack, and she couldn’t put it down. Then it was my turn. I laughed even as I fought back a tear or two. Amanda skillfully weaves into the story important life issues: change, friendship, family challenges, aging, service, love, faith. These themes are so organic to the story that they touch the heart gently, winsomely, and naturally. Jack is nostalgic in that it treasures past experiences and bends them helpfully to present situations; and it is hopeful as it reaches outside of itself to Christ. Jack vs. the Tornado will be treasured by children and trusted by parents for generations to come.
– Ray Rhodes Jr.
Author of Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon and Yours, till Heaven: The Untold Love Story of Charles and Susie Spurgeon

The Tree Street Kids will be one of those book series you and your kids want to read again and again. These neighborhood kids are so funny and real and engaging; they seem like they might just live next door. I loved tagging along as they tackled big adventures and grappled with real-life situations. As a Christian parent, I treasure books that tell great stories and point children to God. Yes, both things are possible, and Amanda does it well. Enjoy!
Jamie Janosz
Managing editor, Today in the Word; author, When Others Shuddered: Eight Women Who Refused to Give Up