Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 3


Today's book is a 1998 Newberry Medal winner.  A children's book --yes-- but sometimes they are more than worth our time.  This novel is one of those books.

Out of the Dust 
 Karen Hesse

Written in free verse like a journal, Billie Jo tells her story.

                                                         "Daddy named me Billie Jo.
                                                          He wanted a boy.
                                                          he got a long-legged girl
                                                         with a wide mouth
                                                         and cheekbones like bicycle handles.
                                                         He got a redheaded, freckle-faced, narrow-hipped girl
                                                         with a fondness for apples
                                                        and a hunger for playing fierce piano."

 Set in the mid-1930's during the Dust Bowl years in Oklahoma, life is hard and difficult.  Billie Jo experiences tragedy and loss with a quiet inner strength beyond her years.

The author's choice of words allows the reader to feel her experiences while the style of writing keeps the topic appropriate for the target audience.  I found the lack of abundant description, due to the free verse style, actually enhanced my appreciation for Billie Jo and her life.

                                                   "The way I see it, hard times aren't only
                                                    about money,
                                                    or drought,
                                                    or dust.
                                                    Hard times are about losing spirit,
                                                    and hope,
                                                    and what happens when dreams dry up."

Isn't that true?

Happy Reading!


"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
Romans 12:12 NIV Bible


  1. I own this one, but haven't read it! I just read my 4th graders her "Just Juice" and we all loved it. Simple, great, relatable... I'll have to read this one, too!

    1. Hey Katie!
      I don't know Just Juice . I did read Letters from Rifka by her and it was very good too. This story is about her great aunt who was a Russian Jew and fled from her homeland during WW1 and all that happens to her. I would say the content might be a tad old for a 4th grader but I think you might enjoy it --a great read about boldness, courage, determination and resilience.

  2. We love books in our house! Great work!

  3. I wonder if my 4th grade son would like it. I'm trying to drag him away from Wimpy Kid. Plus I'd like my boys to view girls as being multi faceted beings. We will see :)

    1. Hey Shannon!
      I think the topic in the book might be a little old for him still --- a tragedy happens in the book and I don't know if it would be right for him or not. You might try Harriet the Spy?? It's been awhile since my children were that age