This book won the 1998 Newbery Medal, and I reread it for the first time since elementary school as part of my ongoing project to read all the Newbery winners in chronological order. I liked it more this time around than I did as a kid, even as I struggled with certain elements of it -- I'm not at all a fan of novels in verse, and while I love historical fiction, Depression-era Dust Bowl is not really my cup of tea. And yet I could still appreciate the merits of this, even if it's not something I would normally enjoy; it's a lovely story and very moving, in a quiet sort of way. Not for everyone, but I can actually begrudgingly understand why this won the Newbery.
one of the most emotional books I have ever read
This is a young adult novel written as poetry and at first I thought I wouldn't like it, but such was far from the case. The author uses few words but the result is a story rich with feeling. Billy Joe, a fourteen-year-old girl living with her mother and father in the dustbowl of Oklahoma, shares her thoughts and feelings as we follow the events of 1934 and 1935. Her father stays on the land fighting for a wheat crop that never really materializes. We battle the dust with them and the imagery brings home the dry pervasive unrelenting grittiness of it. This is a story of persistence, forgiveness, love, and optimism. Grim but uplifting at the same time.
I love how this author writes a novel in poetry. Going back and reading it again as an adult, I realized there are multiple themes in the book, but the one that still makes the greatest impression on me is that of forgiveness and accepting accidents as accidents.
red_crane_52 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over
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