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Strawberry Girl

(American Regional)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  11,882 ratings  ·  517 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.
Paperback, 60th Anniversary Edition, 208 pages
Published April 26th 2005 by HarperCollins (first published 1945)
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 ·  11,882 ratings  ·  517 reviews

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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
Oct 16, 2013 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 ...more
Sep 27, 2016 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.
Luisa Knight
I should have been more securely fastened in my chair when I finished this book - what a catapulting shock of an ending!! Christians, you'll LOVE IT!!

I'm not sure how this book got missed in my childhood, but it's a sad occurrence for sure. The ending entirely made the book, and it's one that every Christian will applaud and cheer! So you're probably scratching your head like me, wondering just how this book won a Newbery Medal? I don't know. But here's what the story is about...

A farming family
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Here's a great way to keep history alive for middle-schoolers. Lois Lenski wrote about ordinary country children, usually in agricultural occupations. Her STRAWBERRY GIRL lives in Florida and has to contend with rival families struggling to bring in the seasonal strawberry crop. While the time (ca. 1940) has now gone by, this is such a worthwhile document of Florida history that it is still in print and widely read in the Sunshine State. Perhaps your kids will enjoy it too!
Mar 09, 2014 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.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Not only are the characters well-drawn, and the illustrations quaint, but I learned a piece of Florida's history - something I knew nothing about prior to reading Strawberry Girl.
May 06, 2017 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
Jul 27, 2016 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,
Dec 31, 2011 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
Oct 24, 2012 rated it liked it
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
May 24, 2015 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
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
I liked this book about a family who moves to a new farm in Florida, during the pioneer days, determined to make the farm a success with a beautiful orchard and strawberry grove.
Birdie is excited to become a Strawberry Girl, but is worried that the disgruntled neighbors will make trouble for her family. When the neighbor's pigs and cows trample over the new strawberry plants, Birdie's father is outraged and vows to fence in his property to keep them out. This begins a feud between the two
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
This book started out okay, and I like the fact that the author did research on a group of people that were little known about, but I feel the stories didn't really captivate me. Perhaps it is because I am older now in reading a children's story, but I just feel like I was not charmed or able to gain an attachment for the main characters.

This is about people who lived in a remote area of Florida during the 1940s, but who still were living in a more colonial way. The whole story is about the
Jun 25, 2010 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
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 ...more
First sentence: 'That goes our cow, Pa!' said the little girl.

Premise/plot: The Boyer family has newly moved into the community. Most make the family feel welcome. Not so their nearest neighbors the Slaters. From the start these two families clash. Birdie Boyer, for example, clashes with Shoestring. The Slater mother has a love-to-hate, hate-to-love relationship with the Boyer mother. She tends to think that the Boyers are uppity SNOBS because they have (relatively) nice things. The two fathers,
Alicia Perrin
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We listened to this narrated by Natalie Ross and it was excellent!
Apr 01, 2011 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 ...more
Juli Anna
Oct 19, 2016 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
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
How could a child read this book and complain about her life in 21st century America? The two families in this book suffer from the ravages of grasshoppers, illness, hunger, and jealousy. They argue and fight with each other, eventually going so far as to kill each other’s animals and set fire to the other’s farmhouse. A hardscrabble life complete with rattlesnakes and alligators and swamps. Yet there was also a beauty to this life, of neighbors helping each other, even when they have little for ...more
Jennifer Mangler
This was okay, but like many of the older Newbery winners I've read lately, it doesn't age particularly well. Mr. Slater does some pretty dark things, and I'm not sure if I'd want my middle grades child reading about his actions because he's just magically redeemed at the end without doing the work necessary to earn forgiveness. I have a problem with that.
My daughter did not like this book. The book started out good, however, it took a wrong turn with us. I don't think this was a good fit for my daughter's age group. We both decided to not finish it because of some of the content. Just was not impressed.
Jan 29, 2012 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"!
Jul 07, 2016 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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
this popped up in my recommendations on amazon & i figured i would give it a try. the illustration on the cover reminded me a lot of my beloved betsy-tacy treasury that i read when i was a kid, and i was hoping strawberry girl would be something like that. quaint, sweet, feel-good.

what i wasn't expecting was how gritty it would be! sure, yes it was quaint. i mean, it takes place in the backwoods of florida in 1900. but it was...dark too. for example the main character birdie wasn't just a
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I didn't mind this old Newberry book. If it had been shorter, I might have liked it even more.

I read a bit about this author and she made a whole series about different regions in the US. This is the only one that people still read, I think, at least based on the number of reviews on GR.

Birdie and her family move to a spot in Florida to start a farm with things like strawberries and oranges. They move next to a family that raises cows and lets the wander everywhere. (Cue "Oklahoma" music.) The
This is an Admirable Book. The setting is admirable; the use of colloquial language is admirable; the characters are somewhat admirable.

It's my least favorite of all Newbery Award winners. The story just didn't capture me -- but I'm glad I persevered, because the "religion part" is at the end.

The story involves two families, the Boyers and the Slaters. The Boyers are definitely the more respectable of the two, and Birdie Boyer is the Strawberry Girl of the title. The Boyers move to Florida from
Feb 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
Here's one of those childhood books that doesn't survive a re-read. Lenski's earnest attempt to capture the life of various American subcultures (Bayou Suzette and Coal Camp Girl are among some of the titles in her regional series) must have seemed like a worthy educational aim. But wait. In this story of Florida farmers - she calls them Crackers - she's painted out an enormous swath of southern culture. There's not a single African-American in the book. Instead, she focuses on two neighbor ...more
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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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See similar books…

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:

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

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