Out of the Dust

Out of the Dust

by Karen Hesse

Overview: This gripping story, written in sparse first-person, free-verse poems, is the compelling tale of Billie Jo's struggle to survive during the dust bowl years of the Depression. With stoic courage, she learns to cope with the loss of her mother and her grieving father's slow deterioration. There is hope at the end when Billie Jo's badly burned hands are healed, and she is able to play her beloved piano again. The 1998 Newbery Medal winner.

Judy Stanton (11/18/16): A fellow book club member recommended this young adult book to me as one of the best she has ever read. The book was written from the point of view of Billie Jo, a youngster living in the Oklahoma dust bowl during the Great Depression. The writing was spare yet impactful, mirroring the family's communications and living conditions. It gives you a heartfelt sense of the poverty and sense of helplessness of the times, but with an amazing sense of hopefulness, determination, and love of home. A quick read, well done.
Rating: ****

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