Katie's Reviews > Out of the Dust

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
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Feb 05, 12

bookshelves: eced-221, middle-level

“Out of the Dust” is the story of Billie Jo, a young girl living in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. Billie Jo’s father is a farmer, and her family suffers through the droughts and dust storms. When a terrible accident occurs, Billie Jo and her father must face heartbreak while doing their best to stay on their feet and make it through such a financially and emotionally desperate time.

The novel is written in verse, and the flow and sound is appropriate for the mood of the poems. They allow the reader to clearly visualize Billie Jo’s experiences and make it easy to relate to her. Billie Jo is just an ordinary girl dealing with terrible circumstances, and it is easy for readers to connect to her. This book is great for teaching students about the Great Depression or the Dust Bowl. It’s easy to understand but also shows just how tough it was for Billie Jo, her family, and her town.

I really enjoyed how straightforward this book was. It did not sugarcoat any of the problems that Billie Jo had to face, and I would let my students read it if I wanted them to understand what it actually felt like to live during the financially unstable days of the Great Depression. It’s a great teaching tool, but it’s also a novel that children would actually enjoy reading. I read it in fifth grade and, even though I did not remember the plot, 9 years later I still remembered how much I enjoyed reading it. This is a great book for older elementary students.
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