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The Barn

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3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  517 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
The schoolmaster says nine-year-old Benjamin is the finest student he's ever seen-fit for more than farming; destined for great things someday But his father's grave illness brings Ben home,from school and compels him to strive forsomething great right now -- to do the one thing that will please Father so much he'll want to live. But first Ben must convince his older siste ...more
Paperback, 106 pages
Published August 1st 1996 by HarperCollins (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 834)
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Bill
Nov 10, 2015 Bill rated it it was amazing
Ben, away at school in Portland, Oregon, fulfilling his dead mother’s dream, is told his father is sick, and his sister is there to take him home.

In fact, his father has had a severe stroke, can’t move or speak, and has left 9 year old Ben, his 13 year old brother and older sister to fend for themselves.

Out of potential tragedy and a need to survive, his two older siblings plow and plant the fields, while Ben tends to his dad, and then decides to fulfill his dad’s dream – to build a much needed
...more
Jodi
Sep 24, 2011 Jodi rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tanner Simonson
Jan 13, 2016 Tanner Simonson rated it really liked it
I felt that the book "The Barn" was a really interesting book about how hard people worked in the 1800's. The three kids did all of the work such as working in the fields, cooking meals, and doing chores because their father was very sick and dying. My favorite part of the book was Ben's determination for them to build a barn as a gift to their father who had dreamed of building a barn for himself one day. It was amazing that the three children were able to cut down trees, trim and split them in ...more
Jana
Sep 21, 2015 Jana rated it liked it
This historical fiction book is about a young boy growing up in the Oregon Territory in 1855. When his father becomes critically ill, Benjamin has to come home from his private school to help take care of him. The book is really blunt about the wretchedness of taking care of someone who can't control their bodily functions: "For there I was, nine years of age, having to undress my father and clean his privates both back and front. What shame I felt that he should be like a baby to me, who was hi ...more
Cliffside Park Public Library (NJ)
Benjamin and his family live in a farm. He is very smart and his teachers say he's the best student they have ever seen, but with his dad being sick he wants to do something great for him. With the help of his sister and brother, will they do something great for their dad?
I would recommend this book because it talks about unity with the siblings. I also think people who have sick relatives may take something away after reading this book and may be inspired to do something nice for them.

L.G.
Grade
...more
Miss Amanda
gr 3-6 106pgs


1855, Oregon Territory. 9 year old Ben is horrified when he is brought home from school and finds his family suffering from "a fit of palsy"/a stroke. Ben is convinced that his father is still there and is determined to help him recover. His brother and sister are skeptical, but allow him to try. Ben knows that his father's dream had been to build a huge barn and is convinced that seeing that dream come true is the key to his recovery, but can his siblings be convinced.

I didn't like
...more
Rion Iida
Aug 16, 2015 Rion Iida rated it really liked it
This book is for younger children but I really like this book because after reading this story I can think about kindness and relationship with my family. It is a heart-warming story. Ben is a main character of this story and he is a only person who try to communicate with his father. His father has disability and can't move or speak. His family give up to communicate with him. However, he does not. He found a way to communicate. He listened his father's dream and his family try to fulfill it wi ...more
Laura Verret
Nine-year old Benjamin didn’t even know that his father had met with an accident until the day his big sister, Nettie came to pick him up from the boarding school where he was living. His father had sent him to that school; said that he’d promised Ben’s mother before she died that he would give Ben an education. Ben’s school teacher agrees that Ben is a promising student. Maybe he can be a scholar one day. But now Father’s gone and gotten hurt. Ben will have to return home with his sister.

As he
...more
Ms. A.
Nov 10, 2012 Ms. A. rated it it was amazing
"You were meant to go off and be different. To *be* somebody. Not like us".

I struggled with how to rate this book because as an adult reader of many books it felt like the same story told a different way. So I rated this book from the perspective of the young audience it was written for and from that perspective the book is marvelous. The story centers around an ailing father and his three children, two sons one daughter, in 1855 Oregon. The children are struggling to take care of their father.
...more
Becca
Oct 08, 2011 Becca added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Danika Meunier
In this novella, Nettie and Harrison, sister and brother to Ben, live on the farm with their father while Ben is "destined for something more". He is the fortunate of three children to be sent away to school. Ben is brought home from school when his father becomes gravely ill. To help his father heal Ben becomes determined to reach his father's dream of building a barn. A story about belonging and letting go. I would recommend this for ages 10+.
Tamra
Jun 27, 2011 Tamra rated it liked it
Another solid Avi book.

It's a sad, sweet story about a young boy coming to terms with his father's stroke (or stroke-ish ailment. They call it the palsy). The setting of Oregon Territory times was cute. Not over-done, but potentially under-done. In fact, the whole book was possibly under-done. Avi typically does a good job of packing in character, setting and plot development in a minimum of words, but this book could have been fleshed out more.

I would hesitate to suggest this book to young chil
...more
Colette
This was an interesting book to pick up just after reading Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. Two stories about people who can't speak or control their bodies very well. I didn't find this story depressing, as many other reviewers have. It was a quick read, developed more like a short story. I liked it. I won't go running out recommending it to everyone, but I liked it.
Katie
Mar 02, 2015 Katie rated it liked it
What I thought of The Barn was well it really didn't make any since the ending kinda ended off to soon I think and also it was a kinda boring story but it was a pretty good book other then the things that I thought wrong about this book but I suggest people who can figure confusing things to read this.
Krista
Mar 24, 2014 Krista rated it liked it
Shelves: chapter-books, 2014
This story has memorable characters full of determination. Three siblings work together to build a barn for their father who has had a stroke. It's a very well written and touching book but not a lot of action so I'm not sure if it will hold the attention of elementary readers.
Nicole
Jul 23, 2016 Nicole rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this with my daughter as part of a summer reading challenge she was doing. It is a heart-warming story and it did give me an opportunity to talk to her about the time period, but overall she (and I) found it boring and repetitive.
Iris Manning
Jul 13, 2015 Iris Manning rated it liked it
A very quick read, too quick for me, personally, to really get connected to it. It was okay, though. I'm not sure I would even suggest it to anyone, though. I read it in one sitting, about two hours.
JennLynn
Jun 22, 2014 JennLynn rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014-my-books
While I do appreciate Avi's fine writing, I just found this book too depressing to appreciate. Not for the most sensitive readers.
Kathie Jackson
Jul 08, 2013 Kathie Jackson rated it really liked it
I never get tired of reading Avi! Such a versatile, prolific and gifted author of books for all ages. Set in late 1800s Oregon, nine-year old Ben is sent away to school to fulfill his mother's dying wish that he get an education. She felt Ben, the youngest of three, was "different" than the rest of this family of pioneer farmers, and was destined for great things. When the book opens, Ben is being fetched back to the farm because his dad has "met with an accident." Avi manages to pack an amazing ...more
Selena
Sep 20, 2016 Selena added it
When I started reading this book it was nice then in the middle of the book I read how the boys father was sick.
Bev
Jul 12, 2011 Bev rated it it was ok
I always feel it is a little severe to give a fair book only two stars, but I just couldn't bring myself to give it three. I felt the writing was below average, even for a book written for children. The story was totally unrealistic, which made the ending much less meaningful for me. I have really liked some of Avi's other books, but sorry to say, this one just didn't make the grade.

The story concerns three children, ages 9,13,15, who's father suffers a stroke. They manage to work the farm, care
...more
Ethan
Feb 09, 2015 Ethan rated it liked it
I thought there was some good parts in the book. It kind of got boring, but I still liked it
Megan Stamp
I love this book! It's about a young boy nine named Ben he an his brother an sister both older,Ben go's to school while Nettie-daughter an Harrison-brother stay home an help on the farm!well there dad has a palsy fit (palzy) an cant do ANYTHING on his own he can hardly lift a finger!An ALOT of exciting things happen through out the story,although the beginning was a little confusing,but I was a little off that day.I hope you all LOVE the book as much as me,an believe me I don't like books,except ...more
Robert Sieg
Jul 30, 2015 Robert Sieg rated it liked it
I have good memories of reading it but it is a ponderous tome.
Shawna Holt
Sep 30, 2015 Shawna Holt rated it liked it
Good story to teach family values and sacrifice.
Angie
Mar 02, 2014 Angie rated it liked it
Heavy concepts for 4th graders! The children's dad gets incapacitated and they must run the barn.
Melody Savage
Aug 10, 2013 Melody Savage rated it liked it
Clean. This was an short intense exploration of how a youth would feel to take care of the basic, daily needs of a father who has had a stroke. It would be most appropriate for youth who have had experience giving very intimate care to someone(dealing with incontinence, feeding someone, etc.) or for older youth who are researching a care-giving career or reading other empathetic pieces like Wonder by Palacio and Out of My Mind by Draper.
SevieReads
Jan 19, 2014 SevieReads rated it really liked it
As an adult, I enjoyed this -- but I don't know if the kids will. Will they relate to what Ben is going through?
Kevin Evans
Sep 06, 2011 Kevin Evans rated it it was amazing
The barn is an excellent book for children to learn about the importance of family. This book also can be considered good to show how children lived long ago. This book teaches sacrifices that people have to make can sometimes pay off. The boy came home from school because his father was ill, which to the boy was a sacrifice. However, he built his father the barn he had longed to build.
Christy
Mar 24, 2012 Christy rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
The schoolmaster says nine-year-old Benjamin is the finest student he's ever seen-fit for more than farming; destined for great things someday But his father's grave illness brings Ben home, from school and compels him to strive forsomething great right now -- to do the one thing that will please Father so much he'll want to live. But first Ben must convince his older sist

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Avi is a pen name for Edward Irving Wortis, but he says, "The fact is, Avi is the only name I use." Born in 1937, Avi has created many fictional favorites such as The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, and the Crispin series. His work is popular among readers young and old.
More about Avi...

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