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Strawberry Girl (American Regional)

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  10,092 Ratings  ·  400 Reviews
The land was theirs, but so were its hardships

Strawberries -- big, ripe, and juicy. Ten-year-old Birdie Boyer can hardly wait to start picking them. But her family has just moved to the Florida backwoods, and they haven′t even begun their planting. "Don′t count your biddies ′fore they′re hatched, gal young un!" her father tells her.

Making the new farm prosper is not easy.
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Paperback, 60th Anniversary Edition, 208 pages
Published April 26th 2005 by HarperCollins (first published 1945)
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Duane
1946 Newbery Medal winner.

These older Newbery Medal books, these children's classics, are struggling to stand the test of time. Why? Well, take this one for example. It's about a time gone by, very different from today, a much harder time. It's characters, it's language, it's life situations are so stark, they must seem almost foreign to today's young readers. Can today's children still relate? Maybe, but not very easily. It's a shame too. Most of them are well written, have wonderful characters
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Craig
Oct 16, 2013 Craig rated it it was amazing
Strawberry Girl was the first novel I read by children’s book author and illustrator Lois Lenski (October 14, 1893 – September 11, 1974). I read the book in the fifth grade in secret, because with its pink cover, not to mention title, was girly. At the time, I was in the process of reading books that had the Newbery Award, regardless of content. There were some duds in that bunch. For instance, I could not get into Dr. Doolittle by Hugh Lofting, due to the archaic language and the fact that ther ...more
Howard
Sep 27, 2016 Howard rated it really liked it
Lois Lenski wrote a huge series of children's books that were set in different sections of the U.S. As a youngster, I was never able to relate to this Newbery Medal winner as much as I did to her "Cotton in My Sack," because it is set in Florida rather than Arkansas, and in my youth I spent much, much more time in cotton patches than in strawberry fields.
Angie
May 06, 2017 Angie rated it really liked it
Strawberry Girl, the 1946 Newberry winner, shares a slice of reality from early 1900s Florida with main character, Birdie, that kids and adults alike will find charming.

I personally learned a lot about the regional speech, mannerisms & traditions that I never would've known. The lives of today's youth (and even my own) are so vastly different from the times in this book. It really makes you think. The characters endured so much, but the conflict resolution is a happy one. Lois Lenski's SHOO
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Ruth
Dec 31, 2011 Ruth rated it really liked it
I like to think I've been reasonably successful in making readers out of my kids, though none of them loves it as much as I do. However, I haven't been terribly successful in passing on love of particular books. Strawberry Girl, along with Lois Lenski's other books about girls from various parts of the US, is one of those I loved but could never convince my older daughter to read. When NetGalley offered this one, I jumped at the chance to re-live part of my childhood (though I must admit that my ...more
Ann
Oct 24, 2012 Ann rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery, historical
This book almost rated four stars, but the highly improbably ending left a sour note in my mouth. I did not believe for a moment that a single kindness (even a long and sustained kindness) could so totally change the character of Mr. Slater. I could sort of see him being nice to the Boyers from now on, but his entire personality has changed. When he's talking about the death of his livlihood and entire way of life, it says that previously he'd have been in a rage, but now he was gentle as milk. ...more
Dorcas
Mar 09, 2014 Dorcas rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
I'm basing this rating on how much I enjoyed it when I read it: almost 30 years ago in fourth grade. I remember loving Lois Lenski and the illustrations are wonderful. My friend and I were both reading this at the same time. I was flying through it and she was plodding and then overnight to my shock and horror she finished the whole thing while I was "waiting up" for her. Never forgot that.
Lisa
This was a surprising read for me. I didn't know that Lois Lenski has an "American Regional Series" set in various parts of the US, highlighting childhood in such parts. Strawberry Girl is set in the pioneer days of Florida and seen through the eyes of young Birdie Boyer whose family settles in the backwoods. In a way, this book shows signs of age but it is so well told that I believe it would make a great read-aloud as long as the reader is committed to reading the dialogue in the backwoods dia ...more
Cheryl
Jul 27, 2016 Cheryl rated it liked it

Ok, yes, I see that the other Slaters were ready to become 'civilized.' But their Pa's conversion, apparently by that hungry traveling preacher, as totally out-of-the-blue. This book is very much an earnest exhortation to hard work, clean living, and kindliness. Upon this reread, at this time of my life, it was almost nauseating.

I kept thinking, too, of the anthropological fallacy that Lenski succumbed to. It's clear that she can't but help think of herself as someone studying the natives, tryin
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Karol
Jul 07, 2016 Karol rated it really liked it
Vivid details and troublesome neighbors made this story about the late 1800's in Florida quite engaging. The book did seem sewn up a little too neatly at the end, but all in all a fascinating story.
Maggie
Jan 29, 2012 Maggie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Maggie by: Ruthie Hisaw
When we were done reading this book me and Meredith both agreed that we the book's title should of been " How to Have a Bad Fight with your Neighbors"!
Kathi
May 24, 2015 Kathi rated it it was ok
Shelves: newbery
This book is an example of an older Newbery that has not aged particularly well, but still offers very interesting glimpses of our American past.

Lois Lenski, prolific author of children’s books, wrote one large group of books about how children typically lived in different regions in the United States in the 1930s and 1940’s.

Strawberry Girl’s setting is Florida. It’s hard to believe that the rural dramas and the hard, hard lives depicted might have occurred where Disney World exists now! That fa
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ABC
May 14, 2012 ABC rated it liked it
Shelves: older-kids
When I was seven, my mom bribed me to read a Lois Lenski book, a moving story about a migrant farm family. All these years, I have remembered that book as "Strawberry Girl", but I realize now it was a different book. I checked various Lenski books and it must have been "Judy's Journey." (And judging by reviews, it appears that people seem to like "Judy's Journey" better than "Strawberry Girl.")

Anyway, we did "Strawberry Girl" as a read-aloud. I thought I would hate the dialect, but I rather like
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Jen
Apr 01, 2011 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery, kids
Charming in the order of Caddie Woodlawn or Thimble Summer. Birdie and the other characters are as complex as can be expected. I enjoyed Lenski's description of the setting. As I've never been to that part of Florida, I appreciated "hearing" their speech and "seeing" their homes. In the foreward, Lenski mentions having visited Florida and spending time with the people she would write about. It seems she wanted to write stories set in a variety of communities in the States, so that Americans coul ...more
Lisa Lawrence
Feb 11, 2017 Lisa Lawrence rated it liked it
Sweet but old-fashioned story of farm family in rural Florida. I don't believe today's children could relate, but I love the concept of regional American life for young people to glimpse the vast differences - and similarities - of our country. The importance of neighbors is a lost concept for many.
Katie
1946 Newberry winner about the Boyer family, who move from the Carolinas to rural Florida and buy a farm. They immediately begin to feud with their neighbors, the Slaters, a poor, rural family with a drunken, domineering father and rowdy, disrespectful children. The Slaters run their cattle and hogs over the Boyer property, destroying strawberry plants and the orange grove. Mr. Boyer retaliates by killing some hogs, and the feud continues. Of course everything works out in the end. I liked the d ...more
Marfita
Jun 25, 2010 Marfita rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s
Backwoods Florida sounds to be as rough and tumble as the wild west. They had the same problems with ranging cattle ... and what about those "biggety" folk who come from the North (that is, "Caroliny") with their annoying habits, such as attending school, actually feeding their livestock, planting crops, painting their houses, putting up fences to keep the friendly neighborhood livestock from destroying their crops, and going to church.
I don't want to give anything away, but I would have prefer
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Judy
Dec 02, 2015 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-medal
This could be called "Cross Creek" for kids. Like Cross Creek, this is set in backwoods Florida complete with a range of characters and descriptions of the local flora and fauna. Written in 1945 (but set during the early 1900s), it tackles more tough issues than is typical for books from that era: alcoholism, revenge, bullying, cruelty to animals, dysfunctional family, poverty ... The last two chapters tidy-up the problems and give the reader a fairy tale ending. Maybe that's all right since thi ...more
Wendy
Sep 14, 2007 Wendy rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery
This is an entertaining and fast-moving book, though I definitely don't think it's Lenski's best--the resolution is particularly unsatisfying, and the character depth isn't great. (JUDY'S JOURNEY is much better.) The main thing I note about this is that the subject matter is truly shocking--those who think the Newbery has gone too far in the last few years, rewarding books that talk about the harshness of life, should take note. In comparison, THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY is tame. (Well, it's alrea ...more
Juli Anna
Oct 19, 2016 Juli Anna rated it it was ok
This one actually grew on me as I was reading--it gets 2 1/2 stars. Heavy dialect is always difficult for me to get through without rolling my eyes (it usually just feels so contrived and culturally insensitive), and this was no exception. It's also very strange subject matter for a children's book; it's the story of an escalating feud between two families in rural Florida. As the book got weirder ("Pa done got drunk and shot all the heads off Ma's chickens jest to see iffen he could hit um") I ...more
Chris Meads
Aug 12, 2016 Chris Meads rated it it was amazing
This is a story set back in the time when Florida was being settled.

Birdie and her family have just moved in to an abandoned homestead and are wanting to plant strawberries. But their neighbors, the Slaters, don't like them because Birdie's pa ends up putting u a fence around their farm, nicking the pigs' ears of the Slaters and whatever else to keep their animals off their land. According to Birdie, her pa calls them "squatters." The Slater kids cause many problems and Birdie tries to outwit t
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Vicki
Jan 19, 2009 Vicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow -- such a strange book. I'm trying to read all of the Newbery winners, and definitely the honor books, just because I'd like to get a feel for the history of it. Not having a context for a lot of the early winners, nor for Lenski, I just kind of found this to be fascinating. Mostly because I had no idea where she was going with it. When religion enters the picture later, I felt a little weirded out, but I guess that was the best case scenario of what could have happened. It was so unpredicta ...more
Amy
Apr 15, 2011 Amy rated it liked it
I enjoyed the story of Birdie and her family, farmers in Florida. The tension with the neighbors because of the fences was well done. I knew that had happened in the west, but didn't realize it took place in Florida as well.

I thought the characters of Birdie and Shoestring were fairly well drawn. Some of the other characters, like Shoestring's brothers and father, were rather one-dimensional. I appreciated the dilemma that Shoestring's mother faced, trying (sort of) to keep good relationships w
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Kristen
Aug 15, 2016 Kristen rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery-winners
Newbery Medal Winner--1946

This was difficult at first because of the country dialect, but it was a pretty entertaining little read. The Boyers have terrible neighbors--the father is a drunk who keeps allowing his cattle and pigs to trample the Boyer's crops, cutting the Boyer's fences, and eventually does even worse. Everytime Birdie and her family do something good for themselves (buy a new stove, paint their house), their neighbors claim they must think they're better than everyone else. Somet
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Dahlene
Jun 19, 2011 Dahlene rated it really liked it
This was a children's Newbery winner. I love to read Newberys in the summer to my boys. I chose this one for myself because I was afraid it would be too girly for my boys. I picked Onion John for them and we are enjoying it too. This book was not too girly for boys. It was a cute story of a family in Southern Florida trying to make a living growing strawberries. The neighbors aren't too neighborly and try everything to get them to move back to "Caroliny". I love the language of this book. They s ...more
Debra
Aug 02, 2012 Debra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm only giving this a 3 because of the portrayal of the hardships Cracker families encountered on a day-to-day basis, otherwise it was just okay. The morality tale doesn't work for me... stop drinking, find God, suddenly become a great neighbor after years of abusing the family and neighbors. It just doesn't work like that in real life. The "good" kids were far too Polyanna for me; loving the hard labor. Young girls back in the day probably loved the story of the Strawberry Girl, but I don't th ...more
Samantha
Mar 25, 2016 Samantha rated it liked it
Shelves: newberry-winners
The dialect in this book drove me nuts after awhile. We get it, they have a southern accent. As a person who has a southern accent in real life I can tell you that "poor" and "pore" are pronounced in entirely the same way, making some of the changes she made to show the dialect totally unnecessary. Gah.

The other beef I had with this book was the ending. It was poised to not have a happy one, and then boom it all worked out. Give me a more realistic ending, book! I mean I know it's intended for c
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Elizabeth
I just love this book.

Though Strawberry Girl won the Newbery Award in 1946, I remember praising it to my classmates back when I was in a children's literature class in grad school and no one in the class had heard of the book except for our professor!

This is SUCH a beautiful book on so many levels. Everyone should read it :-)
Trinette
Apr 10, 2013 Trinette rated it really liked it
Just a pure memory of childhood is all I can say about this book.
Simple, strawberry scented reminders of the days of Little House on the Prairie, The Black Stallion and Charlottes Web.
If only I could go back.
Lydia Smith
Feb 04, 2016 Lydia Smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: with-kids
Loved learning about how the people of Florida lived in the early 1900s. Was a fun read-aloud with the dialect. Difficult issues to discuss - drunken father, fighting kids.
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Children's Books: The Medal Winner from 1946 - July 2016 - Strawberry Girl 16 44 Apr 22, 2017 05:51PM  
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lois_Lenski

Many of Lenski's books can be collated into 'series' - but since they don't have to be read in order, you may be better off just looking for more information here: http://library.illinoisstate.edu/uniq...

Probably her most famous set is the following:
American Regional Series

Beginning with Bayou Suzette in 1943, Lois Lenski began writing a series of books whic
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More about Lois Lenski...

Other Books in the Series

American Regional (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Bayou Suzette
  • Blue Ridge Billy
  • Judy's Journey
  • Boom Town Boy
  • Cotton In My Sack
  • Texas Tomboy
  • Prairie School
  • Corn Farm Boy
  • San Francisco Boy
  • Flood Friday

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