Heather's Reviews > Out Of The Dust

Out Of The Dust by Karen Hesse
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's review
Apr 20, 10

bookshelves: historical-fiction, poetry, great-depression, children, young-adult, awards-newbery, awards-scott-o-dell
Read from April 18 to 20, 2010, read count: 2

1998 Newbery Medal Winner
1998 Scott O'Dell Award Winner

2nd time through: 8/26/2011 to 8/26/2011

I've finally discovered another book that deserves five stars. Out of the Dust is about Billie Jo, who grows up during the dust bowl in 1930's Oklahoma. It's written in a spare, poetic format and is a very quick read, but packs an emotional punch.

My maternal grandma's uncle and his family fled South Dakota during this time, and I'd heard her say that their crops got "dusted out"... I'd been picturing a little bit of dust clogging up some crops, so this book just bowled me over with its brutal imagery of the indoors of houses coated with dust, giant dark rolling clouds overtaking the land, people dying of "dust pneumonia," and cows with mouths full of mud. Just horrible. Yet, at the end, there's such a wonderful note of hope. The main character comes to understand what it really means for her to get "out of the dust," and with her, we do too.

UPDATE: I re-read this book in 2011 for a children's lit class and it's still excellent!

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