When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring.
Written in free verse, this award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma's staggering dust storms, and the environmental--and emotional--turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength.
Hardcover, 227 pages
Published January 1st 1997
by Scholastic Inc
I'm jumping back on the bandwagon in 2021 to continue on my quest to read the John Newbery Medal winners. Next year 2022 will mark the 100th anniversary of this award and I've got some catching up to do. So far I have managed 18 reads with Out of the Dust being #19 and was the winner in 1998.
This book was written in diary format by 14 year old Billie Jo and geared for the middle grade reader. I loved the writing style, it drew me right into the setting, it wasn't hard to visualise the dust, the dryness and the despair. Definitely gave a clear picture of life in the dust bowl and it wasn't pretty. I actually found the book to be rather depressing and felt so sorry for this young girl.
Coming in at 227 pages it was a quick read (thankfully), especially with the verse format. It spans 2 years of heartache, loneliness and dust. But here is the thing, it was beautifully written.
“The way I see it, hard times aren't only about money,
Hard times are about losing spirit,
and what happens when dreams dry up.”
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