- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 5 - 9
- Lexile Measure: 1100 (What's this?)
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (January 8, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0425182789
- ISBN-13: 978-0425182789
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 287 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Across Five Aprils Paperback – January 8, 2002
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“An intriguing and beautifully written book...”The New York Times
“Drawing from family records and from stories told by her grandfather, the author has, in an uncommonly fine narrative, created living characters and vividly reconstructed a crucial period of history.”Booklist
“A powerfully moving story about the Creighton family of Southern Illinois and their personal struggles in the War Between the States.”Chicago Daily News
“This beautifully written novel offers valuable insights into the difficulties faced by families and communities caught up in the political, economic, and personal upheavals of war..”School Journal
Awards for Irene Hunt
Across Five Aprils,was named a Newbery Honor book in 1965, received the Charles W. Follett Award in 1964, and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1966. In addition, Hunt's work The Everlasting Hills received the Parents'Choice Award in 1985.
Internet School Library Media Centerhttp://falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/hunt.htm
TeacherVision Lesson Planhttp://www.teachervision.com/lesson-plans/lesson-17165.html
Newton Community High School Pagehttp://220.127.116.11/techprojects/tp-proj/huntnar.htm
C*R*E*A*T*E for Mississippi Lesson Planhttp://www.create.cett.msstate.edu/create/lplans/lplan_details.asp?articleID=166
About the Author
Irene Hunt is the author of many distinguished books for young people. Her first novel, Across Five Aprils, was a Newberry Honor Book and received a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. For her second novel, Up a Road Slowly, Ms. Hunt was awarded the Newberry Medal. Ms. Hunt was born in southern Illinois and has received degrees from the University of Illinois and the University of Colorado. For many years she taught in the public schools of northern Illinois, and later she taught psychology at the University of South Dakota. Ms. Hunt now lives in Florida.
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Set in southern Illinois, the story unfolds over five years, starting just before the Civil War and ending soon after the war ends. Jethro is the main character, a nine year old farmboy who is the baby in the family. Soon all his older brothers go off to war leaving his sister, he, and his parents to tend to the family farm which is a lot of work. Jethro's father falls ill and all the farmwork then falls to Jethro. Forced to grow up before his time given both the family's individual situation and the unrest in the country, this winds up being a coming of age tale. At the start of the story Jethro was a little boy and by the end he is a fourteen year old young man.
Issues with the Civil War are debated and discussed in the story by the characters. An early situation is one of Jethro's brothers sympathizes with the Southerners and leaves the family to fight with the Rebels. This causes discontent, anger and hatred in the community, since they live in The North. Later the Creighton family is the target of hate crimes punishing them for the crime of the traitor son.
Throughout the book we are informed of the happenings in the Civil War as the family hears news of various battles. Sometimes we read letters written by family members at the battlefront and other times we hear the opinions expressed in the newspapers. The opinions of the public about the Generals and President Lincoln are also shared as part of the story. I felt this showed that the issues were complicated and that even a family raised with the same values could not agree on which opinion was the right one. Later we wrestle with the issue of what should happen to soldiers who ran away from the battlefield and also what should happen to the traitors when the war was over.
A subplot is the romantic love that develops between the fourteen year old girl and the schoolteacher who winds up fighting in the war. Her father had banned their marriage before he left to fight saying she was too young to marry. The girl matured in the war years and in the end we hope to see them united in marriage and hope he makes it through the war alive. (I'll not spoil the story...)
I confess I am not a war story lover so in the parts that detailed the details of the battles my interest waned. However I was rivoted to the book and wanted to find out what happened to the Creighton family in the end. I would guess that any reader who likes battle details will be most interested in the book but honestly the story is solid and moves along quickly so even if you just want to know what happens to the individual people in the family and in the community you will enjoy the book.
Character traits and virtues are clearly present in this historical fiction story. There is a lot to talk about regarding ethics and values as well as the topic of the Civil War. The book gave me a sense for what life was like for those who were both fighing in the war and those who were left at home struggling to make ends meet with most of the men in the family gone off to war.
This is a solid, high quality historical fiction book that I think every middle school aged student should read, hopefully in conjunction with a study of The Civil War. I bet they'd learn a lot more by reading this than by reading a boring old textbook.
Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt is a bittersweet book that reminds you that war is never tied up with a tidy bow. People die or are injured or can’t come home for various reasons. The story is told very well with the focus on how the war affected those left at home. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction or the Civil War.
Young Jethro is an amazing young man who is forced to grow up and become the bread winner but throughout his trail he becomes a thoughtful caring human.
The history of the battles is cleverly written into the fabric of the life's impacted.
Great reading and ranks along side "Where the Red Fern Grows" and "Red Badge of Courage"