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Our Only May Amelia (May Amelia #1)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  6,475 Ratings  ·  445 Reviews
Twelve-year-old May Amelia is too busy chasing sheep, fishing for salmon, and keeping pace with the antics of her seven Finnish brothers to bother wearing a dress or scrubbing behind her ears. Unfortunately, she's being pressured to clean up her act. "It seems like everyone is conspiring to make me a Proper Young Lady," she observes in frustration. "I do not think being a ...more
Audio Cassette, 0 pages
Published May 2nd 2000 by Listening Library (first published June 1st 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Molly Staron
Feb 10, 2016 Molly Staron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ltcy-504
Book Talk: Our Only May Amelia

People keep asking me to tell them about my sister, May Amelia. Well, Grandmother Patience says she is a trouble maker and a hellion, but then again Grandmother Patience is just plain evil. Yes, May Amelia does have a knack for getting into sticky situations. Like the time she got treed by a mother bear while out trying to catch that fugitive. We had to search all night for her. She never listens when Pappa forbids her to do something and she's downright pigheaded.
Oct 06, 2012 Jenni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My mom's been married a few times now, and I can honestly say that not much good has come out of the multiple stepfathers I've dealt with. There is one notable exception: my first stepfather, when I was maybe 8 years old, randomly decided to give my sister and I a present each. He put his hands behind his back and told us to each pick a side, and then presented us each with our own book. My sister got "Because of Winn Dixie" and I got this book.

I remember being disappointed at first, because I
Wow! Picked this up randomly at my in-law's...what a treasure! I laughed and I cried...cried...& did both some more. It runs the full gamut of emotions. The style is fun, as if written by a 12 yo girl of little education but a fair bit of common sense, truth and wit.

I love that this book was inspired by the author's grand-aunt, and her family history in general. That's just cool.

May Amelia could be an unforgettable character (I guess we'll see, eh?).

This book deals with very real issues,
Nov 25, 2011 Josiah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are so few books out there that have really hit me like a hard punch in the gut that the emotions of the experience are always compounded by the surprise. To stir up complex and dynamic real emotion in a human heart by nothing more than the trails of ink on the page of a novel is an accomplishment that almost defies reason. How could a made-up story have more of an impact on us than most of what we live through on a daily basis? How could we become so invested in the lives of fictional fa ...more
Kelsi Nelson
Sep 03, 2011 Kelsi Nelson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like May Amelia, I grew up in a Finnish-American family in Naselle (the extra "le" was added in the early twentieth century). This story, through it's heartache, always manages to bring me to a happy place. As May Amelia travels throughout the valley, across the rivers and over to Astoria, my heart follows her along in familiarity. Jennifer Holm captured the area--the culture, the scenery--and from it, has brought to life the memories of her great-aunt May. Whether your connection to the story i ...more
On the outside, this seemed like a light and fun read....NOT! Very emotionally charged with birth, death, first love, recognizing parents' limitations, struggling for survival, racial tensions, suicidal thoughts....ugh! We certainly had a lot to talk about, but I chose it as a fun read-aloud. I also did not care for the fact that the author chose to use no punctuation to indicate dialogue. This makes reading aloud a huge challenge. Definitely not for anyone under 9 or 10, and I think it needs a ...more
May 15, 2009 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I heard Jennifer speak at IRC. Once about Penny from Heaven, a serious look at her family's history, and another with her brother, Matthew, complete with song, dance, voices, and sketching.

Ying Chang Compestine isn't the only author who switches genre and mood, going for light and humorous when the serious work weights them down.

Our Amelia May
Jennifer L. Holm
Newbery Honor Book
ALA Notable Book
Parents’ Choice Silver Award

Jennifer L. Holm weaves a phenomenal story from artifacts and handed-down fa
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Let's see.. In general I rather liked this book. It had a charming voice to the narration with a generally likeable protagonist. It fit together very nicely with themes connecting throughout the book such as the Chinook baby, the new babydoll, and Baby Amy. The foreshadowing felt so subtle that I'm not sure that it was useful while reading despite being interesting to look back upon toward the end. Some interesting things are sort of bumped into, possibly in a "good" way, but generally left unex ...more
Aug 05, 2015 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fourth-grade, newbery
Loved this book. Like an updated version of Little House on the Prairie. About May Amelia, a headstrong eleven year old growing up in the wilderness of Washington state in 1899. Great portrayal of pioneer life. Super likable, relatable protagonist. I liked this book even more when I read the author's note and found out that this is the author's interpretation of her great aunt's life. This would make a great read aloud.
Feb 07, 2009 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I struggled with this book at first because the author doesn't use quotation marks for dialogue. This is because it is supposed to be the journal of a Finnish immigrant girl. After I got over the lack of punctuation, I really enjoyed it. The book has such a powerful place of sense and time. It's set in Oregon, and I loved feeling like I was in the west, reading about something my ancestors might have experienced. Excellent read.
Carrie Snider
Jan 04, 2015 Carrie Snider rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost put this down, since it was written how a young girl thought and not proper grammar. I'm glad I kept reading! Once I got into the rhythm of it, it was easier to read. I loved the main character. She was so funny. There were heart-warming times, and also sad times. I was never bored and always interested in what might happen. The fact that it was based on a real person and a real place is a huge plus.
joy *the clean-reader extraordinaire*
witty, hilarious, heartbreaking, and hopeful

i loved the use of caps to emphasize exact phrasing. loved all may amelia's brothers and family. loved the unique finnish pioneer setting.

highly recommended for 11 and up. PG with two disturbing deaths in her family, some peril, and a bitter, nasty, hateful grandmother who reminds me of a former step-grandma of mine.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Jenni Holm does a great job in writing girl characters that are spunky, funny, and able to win you over. I loved this story about a young girl in 1899 Washington State. Can't wait to dive into the next book The Trouble with May Amelia

Mark Castrique
Jun 11, 2012 Mark Castrique rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting coming-of-age YA novel set in 1898 in frontier of Washington State. Material is drawn from author's great aunt's diary which gives an authenticity of voice. Some dramatic story lines could have had more resolution, but overall a finely drawn portrait of twelve-year-old girl in Finnish farming community on Naselle River.
Feb 20, 2016 S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am part of a mother daughter book club and this was our January book selection.
This was a wonderful read by an author, Jennifer Holm, that I am now familiar with, since we have now read a few of her books in our book club; "The Fourteenth Goldfish" and "Turtle in Paradise, both of which I loved and would highly recommend.

This novel was Ms. Holm's debut in the world of children's literature and right off the bat, she won a Newberry Honor in 2000. It is children's historical fiction and so thoug
Jen Petro-Roy
4.5 stars.
Can't remember why I originally had the sequel The Trouble with May Amelia, on my to-read list; but I always put off reading it because I wanted to start with the first book, this one, and it's not available on kindle. Then I got amazon prime and that meant free shipping and the paperback was pretty reasonable so I got it and here I am finally finished reading a book I intended to read in Aug 2011. Isn't that fascinating? I thought so.

Likes: I immediately fell in love with May. I love her voice
May 22, 2016 LobsterQuadrille rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction, children's lit fans
I love historical fiction, and I love children's literature, and Our Only May Amelia is a very satisfying combination of the two. May Amelia Jackson, a tomboyish Finnish-American girl, is a nicely developed and relatable character who really brought the story to life. I loved her narrative voice, and I loved reading about her many misadventures from her rural home on the Nasel River to her aunt's luxurious house in Astoria, Oregon. There is a diverse cast of supporting characters, who are likab ...more
Andrea Cabrera
May 22, 2014 Andrea Cabrera rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
May Amelia is a tomboy growing up with lots of brothers along the Nasal river in the late 1800's. May is always getting into trouble and doesn't want to be the 'proper young lady' that folks seem to think she should. Her mother is always on her to clean up her act, and is trying to raise her to be the ideal woman any man would want. Although Amelia doesn’t want to be like other girls, she simply wants to be herself a girl who is able to express herself in all different kinds of ways. She is a mi ...more
Jul 20, 2015 Devin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 13, 2015 Sienna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good juvenile historical fiction story told from the point of view of a spunky tomboy named May Amelia Jackson who is one of the early Finnish settlers living with her family in the untamed land surrounding the Nasel river in Washington. The realistic and exciting adventures she experiences as a 12-yr-old and sister to seven older brothers are heartwarming, intriguing, and humorous. May Amelia will make you laugh, that's for sure. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone ages 9+. It has a grea ...more
Mar 10, 2015 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd rate it higher but for the narrator who does a perfectly fine job emoting but can't balance her volume well (turn it up, turn it down, turn it up, etc). This has plenty of things I like: Homesteading in Washington, a young girl trying to make it in a world of boys, lots of siblings with character, etc. so it sounded like gold. For the most part, it is. I'd highly recommend it to someone who likes Anne of Green Gables or Little House on the Prairie. It's episodic and doesn't really have any o ...more
Gail Hedlund
Jul 06, 2014 Gail Hedlund rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book & it's sequel at the library while I was volunteering for the summer reading program. I hadn't read a children's or young person's book in many years. I found this to be a very enjoyable read.
I could identify with May Amelia greatly. I was raised the youngest of seven & spent most of my time with my brothers because they were closer in age & they were also around the ranch much more.
One part of the May Amelia story I really did identify with was the relationship
May 17, 2015 Tiffany rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Britomarte Van Horn
I'm going to give both books about May Amelia the same review, because they feel like two halves of one book.

These are the saddest books ever. Every few pages, some child is being physically or emotionally wounded. Parents dying. Children dying. Permanent maimings. Loss and grief everywhere.

I feel like the author struggled a bit to find the right voice for the age of the protagonist, but she did settle into one. For me, the voice was a little young for a twelve-year-old, but I understood the c
LCL Children'S
Sep 16, 2015 LCL Children'S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
May Amelia has seven brothers, but not a single sister. She can keep up with the boys, but doing so often gets her in trouble, especially from her father. But why should the boys get to have all the fun, just because May Amelia is supposed to be learning how to be a proper young lady?

This story combines lighthearted moments of humor with themes of surprising depth as May Amelia experiences both the joys and the hardships of frontier living. I can see the episodic nature of the story making for g
Apr 26, 2015 Evie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Our Only May Ameila is a great book. The book is about May Amelia and how she learns how to be become a young lady and of her many adventures she goes on. She lives on the Nasel River in Washington in 1899.May Amelia is twelve years old and hopes for her soon to be sibling to be a girl. This is because she has seven brothers and would like to not be alone. May Amelia is thought of as a miracle not because she is well behaving but because of her gender. There are not many girls where she lives. T ...more
This is written about a girl growing up and the hardships she experienced. There are references to people being afraid of living in the area because of the dead Indian spirits in the area. It was not enough to make me stop reading the book though. The girl's grandmother comes to live with the family and is really mean and cruel to the girl. She ends up running away to the city and staying with her aunt and uncle until her grandmother dies. It was an okay book. There was no driving plot throughou ...more
May 09, 2016 Lexish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-medal
Since these stories are based on the author's own family history and an ancestor's diary (and therefore could have been told in a very basic and straightforward manner), I appreciate that the author chose an unusual writing style. Though it works for the narration, it's not so effective for character development. May Amelia seemed flat to me, as did most of the others except for occasionally Wilbert. I believe this is the first of two books written about May Amelia. I'm willing to try the second ...more
Kate Babbitt
This book is about a girl, May Amelia, who is the only girl of 8 kids and is a big tomboy. She struggles to find herself and her role in her family. This book brings her on adventures and trials that affect her and her family, testing her loyalty and strength when she wants to run away from her family but still keeps them together and safe. This is a good book about courage and family. It can be read for it's interesting story but also related back to the student's role in their family and frien ...more
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Jennifer L. Holm is a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling children's author and the recipient of three Newbery Honors for her novels OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA, PENNY FROM HEAVEN, and TURTLE IN PARADISE.

Jennifer collaborates with her brother, Matthew Holm, on two graphic novel series -- the Eisner Award-winning Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. She is also the author of several other highly pra
More about Jennifer L. Holm...

Other Books in the Series

May Amelia (2 books)
  • The Trouble with May Amelia (May Amelia, #2)

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