Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Judy's Journey” as Want to Read:
Judy's Journey
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Judy's Journey

(American Regional)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  255 ratings  ·  33 reviews
One of the author's series of regional books for children, this is the story of a fierce-tempered child of a migrant family that journeys from Alabama sharecropper shack in a desperate search for security. Fortunately, Judy has the good sense to learn something from each experience. ...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published 1978 by Dell Yearling (first published 1947)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Judy's Journey, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Judy's Journey

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  255 ratings  ·  33 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Judy's Journey
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
The value of a book is more than the skill and creativity of the writer. It encompasses the value that it is given by its readers. A book has immeasurable value when it gives hope, comfort, and a sense of belonging to children.

I can't review Judy's Journey objectively because of my love for it as a child. Television was new then and I believed that it depicted a real world of perfect homes, fathers who always knew best, three perfect meals a day, and mothers who could hear and wore high heels. F
Aug 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Middle-grade readers, parents, teachers
Recommended to Judy by: my mom
I missed this one back when I was reading the list for 1947. It is the fourth volume in Lois Lenski's American Regional Series and I read it many times as a child. Being published in the year of my birth and having my name in the title made it special to me.

But this book also had a large effect on my life. Judy is the oldest child of a migrant worker family. They follow the crops, live in a tent and are often hungry. Judy longs to go to school and live in a real house. Near the end of the book
Mandi Ellsworth
This is a story of a very poor migrant family from Alabama that bought a truck and traveled from their home to Florida. From Florida they went up the coast of the eastern states to New Jersey following the crops being harvested. I had no idea there were so many people who lived like that. I realize this book is old, but even as a slice of history, I didn't know about it. The children and I read this and there's a fantastic map in the front that shows what was grown in which state and where it is ...more
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Relentlessly sad, this is the story of another Pa not unlike Pa Ingalls. A Pa who can't catch a break, who starts out a sharecropper and ends up midway through the book on his hands and knees with his eldest daughter, picking potatoes. Judy's fierce and proud and smart, of course. One assumes there will be a happy ending. But the road is long and hard. Not to mention dirty and humiliating. Nicely done.

I just can't warm up to Lenski's illustrations. Never have liked 'em. Never will.
I do not believe that I shall ever read this book again but I give it five stars for the following reasons:
*It was one of the most stirring, saddest, most raw portraits of childhood in America that I have ever read. Lenski did not miss any angle in telling Judy's story which is the story of a child in a migrant family during the 1930's in America.
*This book will remain in my head for a long time to come-- the vivid imagery of the struggles of this child and her family brought me to tears multipl
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lois Lenski was one of my favorite authors from elementary school, and I decided to read one of her books for old times sake. I was not disappointed.

"Judy's Journey" (1947) is about a sharecropper family from Alabama that gets thrown off their land and into the migrant worker way of life. They have more than their share of hardship during their journeys from job to job, but they learn a lot (how to use a faucet), experience a lot (eating their first apple!) and meet lots of people (both good, b
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
A little rough given our current family situation -- but interesting about a former share cropper turned migrant family following the harvest season along the east coast. but funny that they live in a chicken coop at the end which made us all laugh:) Some political correctness editing since written in the '40's:) But a newbery award winning author nonetheless for good writing. ...more
Sep 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
My favorite Lois Lenski book. It still breaks my heart, and I've gotten something new from it in every reread. ...more
Sep 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrensbooks
I always liked the clothing made out of feed bags.
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
I discovered Lois Lenski as a child in the new Beech Grove Indiana library and loved them all!
Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it
It’s interesting how reading circumstances can have such an impact on a book—I started this about six months ago and was enjoying the story, but then I got busy and had a several month gap before finding time to finish it. Had I read it in one go, I probably would have enjoyed it more, but due to the lapse in reading, it was really hard for me to get back into the story.

Judy’s Journey is a valuable book in that it sheds light on the experiences of migrant workers and their families in the 1900s
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: older-kids
This is not as famous as "Strawberry Girl", but it is a much better book, in my opinion. Its heart is in the right place. It is not mean-spirited like "Strawberry Girl" could sometimes be.

This is about a white family that leaves their "home" (actually owned by the wealthy landowner whom they work for) and set out to make money in order to achieve their dream of owning their own land. They find it difficult to get ahead, although it has a happy ending (although probably very unlikely.)

Nowadays i
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's best to read Lois Lenski's Regions of America books as historical fiction -- the second quarter of the 20th century is far enough away to be "historical." When the cotton crop fails the Drummond family -- Judy, her parents, and her three siblings -- leave their sharecroppers' shack in Alabama in an old jalopy. They head to Florida where they camp out by the orange groves, then pick beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Papa wants to work outside, not indoors in a cannery or a factory. Going up th ...more
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth S
Jan 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Surprisingly fun, and not surprisingly well done. I've enjoyed Lois Lenski's picture books, and I've enjoyed her illustrations for other middle-grade novels, and now I get to enjoy her own middle-grade book.

This book follows Judy and her family as they travel through various states looking for work to earn enough money to get a little farm of their own. We see how easy it is to slip into the grind of just getting by, and how hard to work out of it. But it is possible. We also see that some famil
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lois Lenski has a gift for helping the reader understand the emotions of her characters. Judy is a young girl who desperately wants to go to school, but her family's poverty forces all of them to become migrant pickers. Following the crops as they ripen, Judy meets lots of people very different from herself. Published in 1947, the book uses the term "colored" to apply to black people, and segregation is evident throughout. However, when the family is fortunate enough to arrive in a place where f ...more
The time was the 40's in America, when migrant families roamed all over the country working in fields or warehouses so that they could to keep food on the table. Judy, age 11, is the main character. She learns a lot during her travels and makes friends wherever she goes. She does act out and fight at times until she learns to treat others the way that she wants to be treated, thus making friends.
Her family traveled from Alabama to Florida, then up the East Coast to New Jersey, stopping along t
Mary H
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I had no idea this was part of a series. Judy's Journey is absolutely a favorite childhood book for me. So much that my copy has just about fallen apart after many rereads. Judy's adventures across America were intriguing to me as a child, when I loved reading historical fiction. I was always fascinated by how different lives were from mine with several decades between us. Here's to me not knowing, for the longest time, how to pronounce jalopy! ...more
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great book about how good we have it! I did not read it to my kids, but still enjoyed it as an adult. Childhood has not always been easy and I loved how Judy had authentic reactions that were not always perfect to her circumstances.
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: henry, kindle
I've been reading these on my Kindle, as sadly, most of these are out of print. As an adult, I'm struck by the compassion Lenski shows, giving her subjects such quiet dignity. I hope I can interest Henry in her books. ...more
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I got this book for Christmas when I was ten years old. It changed the way I looked at the world. I realized what a struggle life can be for so many people. It has become one of my favourite books. I read it to my own daughter when she was ten.
Apr 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read
Lunch-time read-aloud. I enjoyed re-reading this book, especially because in spite of all of the hard times that Judy's family faces, it ends happily! ...more
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
It is so good to read a Lenski I hadn't read before. ...more
Beth Kaminske
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
one of my three favorite books by Lois Lenski.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Good historical fiction about migrant workers
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just absolutely had a journey of a lifetime

I love Lois Lenski's writings and this one I think I liked best so far. Judy is a migrant child, and this is the story of her and her family over the course of a couple of years. She experienced a lot, both good and bad, but she was always wanting a real house to live . The struggle seemed real, and the ending was such a goid, happy one. This story emphasizes ha work and determination.
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were several Lois Lenski books in a stack I was gifted with recently. I don't recall reading any of her books as a child, so I'm reading them now. I really enjoyed this book. It's the story of a migrant family following the crops from Alabama to Florida and then on to New Jersey, as seen through the eyes of the oldest daughter. Four stars. ...more
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
A story about a migrant family in the 1940's, set up and down the Eastern coast, this story gives an honest depiction of the trials and joys of this lifestyle. Judy is an endearing main character. ...more
Deevena Jemima
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Loved it. It gave a detailed view of how life was with families who had to travel and work in fields to support themselves. Judy's courage is inspiring in many situations. ...more
Nancy Root
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It is one of my favorite childhood stories and it was refreshing to read it once again. It is about a young girl named Judy who travels with her family of migrant workers from town to town seeking work, food, and shelter. It is a hard life, but Judy makes friends along the way, always hoping for a better day ahead. In spite of her surroundings, Judy keeps her chin up, finding adventure everywhere she goes. I love her delightful personality lending to a very heartwarming story.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Cool Bean (The Bad Seed, #3)
  • Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachian Mountains
  • The Fixed Stars
  • Lucky Us
  • Stolen Hearts (A Grace Street Mystery, #1)
  • Just Like Me
  • Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland
  • Plain Bad Heroines
  • In Zanesville
  • Fairest: A Memoir
  • Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present
  • Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America
  • The Girl from Blind River
  • Bedtime Bonnet
  • The Serious Goose
  • New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America
  • The Miracle and Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets
  • Stolen Children
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 whic

Other books in the series

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

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
25 likes · 6 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »