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Out Of The Dust (Newbery Medal Book) Hardcover – October 1, 1997
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Meanwhile, Billie Jo's silent, windblown father is literally decaying with grief and skin cancer before her very eyes. When she decides to flee the lingering ghosts and dust of her homestead and jump a train west, she discovers a simple but profound truth about herself and her plight. There are no tight, sentimental endings here--just a steady ember of hope that brightens Karen Hesse's exquisitely written and mournful tale. Hesse won the 1998 Newbery Award for this elegantly crafted, gut-wrenching novel, and her fans won't want to miss The Music of Dolphins or Letters from Rifka. (Ages 9 and older) --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Billie Jo's poems span a period of years filled with difficult experiences: poverty, unemployment, her mother's death in an accident, her own maiming in the same accident, her trouble communicating with her father. Her life is certainly not easy, her path almost never smooth. Yet, the poems radiate such a hope, even a joy at times, that the book never becomes depressing.
I think some of the images of this book will stick with me for a long time -- the family chewing their dust-laden milk, her mother's tent of pain, her father's smile at the dance, Billie Jo's first concert after recovering from her burns. Billie Jo is a survivor whose story is both thought-provoking and uplifting.
Billy Joe's dad is a quiet guy that is just trying to grow some wheat. But, because of the dust no wheat will grow. Then, to make matters worse, a horrible accident happens. Her dad had left a bucket of kerosene on the stove, which her mom mistook for water. When she begins making coffee with it the pot bursts into flames. Billy Joe's mom quickly runs out of the house screaming for help. Billy Joe throws the kerosene out of the back door and it lands directly onto her mom. This was a complete accident which results in both Billy Joe and her mom being badly burnt. It is a very sad story, but a really good book. I also like how the words are written like a poem. Every one should read this book!
I am an 11 year old boy that plays the guitar, piano and baseball, and I love to draw. I would also recommend The Giver, Number the Stars, and The Hatchet.
Let me say first off that I personally found this to be a wonderful book. I think it is interesting and moving. Though not generally a fan of the free verse/prose poem style Hesse uses in this "novel," I found that her words generated an emotional response that straight prose might have lessened. I was also surprised by how detailed this world became for me while reading what is a very sparse book. This shows real talent and stylistic strength.
On the other hand, though I believe strongly that the best books for children and young adults are equally readable by adults, sometimes an author shoots a little high for the primary readership. Hesse's book is wonderful for adults but a little difficult for younger readers. I was able to let myself be carried away by the beauty of this book because I already have a strong sense about the Depression, life on a farm, the Dust Bowl. A child, however, will struggle with this book because, though strong on feeling, it's short on background.
This is not to say that this book is without merit even for younger readers. Its style and emotion are worth a read for anyone, particularly since it is short enough to be read in very little time. In combination with a more historically oriented book or other background on the Depression, a young reader could get even more from this book. Without this, though, many younger readers will struggle with this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a wonderful story. I read at Reading Club for Senior Citizens Assisted Living Center. They shared their own memories after we finished this book.Published 1 month ago by Carolyn Owens
Easy peasy transaction! Item as described and fast shipping. Thank you.Published 2 months ago by Terri
I hated this book it was very boring and talked about the same thing over and over againPublished 2 months ago by Bart Kapuscinski
Wow, a powerful story of the dust bowl. The choice of words/phrases makes you feel every grain of dust. Read morePublished 3 months ago by chi lady