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Across Five Aprils

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  11,336 ratings  ·  1,077 reviews
The Newbery Award winning author of Up a Road Slowly presents the unforgettable story of Jethro Creighton—a brave boy who comes of age during the turbulent years of the Civil War.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 8th 2002 by Berkley (first published 1964)
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Aidan No don't read it unless you have to or like the civil war but even then don't read it
Adrian Well... I'm a country kid so I can easily interpret it all ;) Any certain slang you can't comprehend?
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Average rating 3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,336 ratings  ·  1,077 reviews

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Jason Koivu
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war, fiction
Do they make kid's books like this sort anymore? Real and real painful. Across Five Aprils was required reading in 6th grade and it was as if the teacher's were saying "Life's a bitch, get used to it."

I remember this as eloquently rendered and high-minded, gut-wrenching drama when I read it way back then. Mind you, I also thought TV's The Waltons was the height of drama, so maybe my opinion is a bit skewed on the subject.

Just the same, Across Five Aprils, the story of brothers torn apart by the
Jun 15, 2008 rated it did not like it
TERRIBLE BOOK. that is all I have to say. This is about the Civil War and how the main character Jethro is coming of age. This book was so boring that I do not have anything more to say. Do not read it. If you are interested in the Civil War, maybe you should consider it because it gives you a lot of historical background information. Otherwise, it is veyr hard to keep reading this book.
Jun 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any student of the American Civil War
I wish I could find my copy of this. It's around here somewhere. I still have the edition I read in high school and I wanted to look up the copywrite date. The edition I selected here -- obviously -- isn't the one I have but I doubt there's a picture of my edition's cover anywhere on-line, it's so old. When I locate it, I'll come back and annotate the exact date.

This is a classic tale about the Civil War and I've read it at least three times--maybe more. The last time was with my daughters and I
Angela R. Watts
This is the only book I have read that captures the reality of the Civil War in a gripping, astounding story. This story does not choose a political side and push propaganda, like so many other stories and history textbooks do. Across Five Aprils shows the truth: that there was much more to the American Civil War than just slavery.
From a historical, realistic viewpoint, this book was spot on and never had info dumps. It flowed well and showed many events in a clear light. The setting was also v
So first and foremost, what had made Irene Hunt's 1964 Across Five Aprils (and which won a Newbery Honour designation in 1965) so readable and so relatable, so wonderful for and to me as a personal reading experience is the author's, is Irene Hunt's accurate and historical sense of time and place, is her narrational realism (and which is achieved not only by her detailed and factually based descriptions of events occurring or having occurred but also because to add colour and life, to add a sens ...more
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: newbery-books
This book shows us in a moving and sympathetic way the effects of the American Civil War on a farming family in southern Illinois.
Feb 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt manages to turn the thrilling action and gruesome turmoil of war into threadbare monotony. Despite its detailed descriptions of familial discords, the book has no central plot. The chapters are nonsensical and do not follow a recognizable storyline. For instance, in one chapter, Jethro's mother falls ill because of caffeine addiction. In the next chapter, a criminal's father rescues Jethro from an attacker on the roadside. How do all these scattered events come t ...more
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
First of all, anyone who gave this book a single star or complained "My lame teacher made me read this...." needs to be deleted. A few months ago, I was reminiscing about the mandatory reading that was required in junior and high school and one of the few I remembered was this story. I decided to read this since I realize you don't ever appreciate things when you're in high school.

This book, to me is actually a 4.5 only because of the slow start until about chapter 4. The poor grammar of Jethro
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am reading this with a book with a group of 6th graders, and so far they do not appreciate this excellent book. My high school English teacher always said to give classic literature a good 50 pages before giving up, and I think/hope they will be hooked by then. I last read it in junior high - I remember liking it, but as an adult I loved it. It is beautifully written, with wonderfully well developed characters. I laughed and I cried with the experiences of a very genuine family and the impact ...more
Mar 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: masochists
Recommended to Chris by: 8th grade humanities teacher
i wish irene hunt's death could have been at least as agonizing as reading this.
Touches a lot of familiar subjects/names/places and I see why it’s assigned reading for tweens. However, I feel like it could have been more emotional and personal to really pull the reader in.
Oct 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
The 12yo in my house had to finish this for summer reading, and would not stop complaining about how boring it was. I'm an enormous fan of historical fiction, so I was of course incensed. How could you not love a book about growing up during the Civil War? I decreed that we'd finish it as an audio book so I could explain its many virtues and strengths.

Turns out the book is unbelievably dull. I mean tepid bathwater on a Tuesday night dull. There's no character development. There isn't even a lot
Gracelyn Buckner
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Middle-Schoolers, Civil War Buffs
5 Stars

I first received a copy of Across Five Aprils from my grandfather several Christmases ago. She had bought three copies at a Civil War battlefield, one for me and two for my cousins. I began reading it right away, but I found the slang too challenging at the time. It sat unread for a few years, until I picked it up a few weeks ago. And I was happily surprised.

Things I Love:

1) The setting. Hidalgo was the perfect place to capture the conflict between residents of once close-knit towns. It a
Nov 15, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a written for children through the eyes of a 10 year old boy but the author has taken true stories passed down from her Grandfather who was a 9 year boy at the beginning of the Civil War. Then she did extensive research to fill in the holes. It gave a good picture of the civil war from a Northern perspective. Even families in the North were divided. She gave a good picture of the Generals of the Northern armies and how difficult it was for Lincoln to find one that would win the war and e ...more
Anne Lawson
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm re-reading the novels I enjoyed as a child, and this is one of the best. A great perspective on the Civil War, bringing up all the historical facts as well as emotional family issues surrounding the War. There is much to be enjoyed even if you are not a Civil War buff. The family is close-knit and must deal with the effects of having two sons fighting on different sides. The community is close and rallies together. Unlike many novels, in this one people ponder issues of character and almost ...more
Jun 18, 2008 rated it did not like it
I hated this book so much! I was forced to read it in school and hated it. I never even had that much intrest in civil war stories anyway. So to say I hated this book was an understatement. I would only reccomend this to you if you are absolutely obsessed with the civil way, but if you aren't dont bother reading this long and exteremely boring book!
Andrew Winkel
Feb 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
Since this book is about the Civil War from the perspective of a boy back home in Southern Illinois, all of the war action takes place out of the main narrative and is related by newspaper accounts and letters. Even as a teacher I kept waiting for it to get better, and unfortunately, I reached the back cover before it did.
I chose this book because I needed a historical fiction title to read with seventh graders, and the school had a classroom set available. I'm afraid I didn't sell the genre wit
I have heard about this book before, but I've never heard much more than this was a wonderful book. I never knew what it was about, where it took place, or the topic it discussed. So, when I was at a small thrift store close to where I live I saw this there for a quarter and I had to pick it up. Once I got home and I was adding it to my Goodreads I realized that it took place in Southern Illinois, and I knew I had to read it.

I currently live in Southern Illinois, and I love it. It's extremely ru
Dec 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is one of the best novels I have read for the time period. I liked how it is told from young Jethro's perspective. So you get an innocent view of a 9 year old boy, on the verge of manhood of the times. It is also more family-centric. More on how it affects him, his sister, brothers, cousin, etc. There is tragedy, loss family divides as each must decide whom they support. We get a lot of the facts of the war as well but it is more on how it might have felt for the families waiting back home. ...more
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Too much exposition and description. The author uses her characters only as vehicles for dolling out historical information. So it all falls flat. Between the exposition, the unrealistic dialogue, a severe lack of subtlety, and the special coincidences, I became quickly disconnected from the story — rolled my eyes at several spots.

For a better Civil War book, read Shades of Gray.

Newbery honor book 1965.
Emily D
Oct 11, 2008 rated it did not like it
So far, boring. :/ It's a book I have to read for school about a nine-year-old boy durring the beginning of the Civil War. But then again, maybe I'm just baised against anything I am forced to read. xD
Jan 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: school
NEVER READ THIS BOOK!!!! I had to read it for school and it is like the worst book ever. It's all about the Civil war and blah blah blah. It's not even interesting and I didn't learn anything from it.
Kevin Zhao
May 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt was a somewhat disappointing read. The story takes place during the civil war. It's the Unions vs the Confederates. It starts with an immature child named Jethro. He's gaping upon war with eyes full of innocence.

There is a drastic change in character as Jethro is robbed of his siblings and teachers. Most of his loved ones are forced in battle. Surprisingly, his two brothers, originally best buddies, are harshly against each other in the North and South sides.

Linda Hart
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is an extensively well researched book, the author having woven the story primarily from her grandfather's journals but also from old newspaper clippings, letters, war journals, and stories he related to her and her parents. Her grandfather was 9 years old when the Civil War began and the story 11 year old Jethro chronicles is her grandfather's story. Jethro watches a war unfold around him and feels the effects of it on his community and on his own family.

Five men & boys, age 16 and over,
I don't have any words. How can I describe a book this.....AWFUL?!?

I think this is one of the worst books I've read. It might even be at the top of my Most Hated Books list, or at least tied with Johnny Tremain. Not only was this book extremely boring, but it literally made me want to vomit every time I looked at the cover. Literally. And that's just the cover. I admit, I read Across Five Aprils for school (not that I would ever pick up a book like this of my own accord) and I wondered during c
Sean Campbell
Nov 14, 2009 rated it did not like it
An absolute piece of shit. If you can get past the writing style, which is essentially redneck-toungue, you're going to be treated to a boring, predictable tale about some kid and his family while his brothers go off to kill each other in the civil war.

I was made to read this book in the seventh grade, and I remember that we, my class I mean (all from South Carolina no less) had to go through a crash course in the redneck "language" that this book was written in. It was painful to read. Like rea
Feb 13, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book was about the Civil War, a much talked about subject(book and history wise) and it drove me crazy!!!! I can't stand to read about one more battle. The plot was boring and the characters mediocre and unintresting. This is one of the most boring books I have read. I wouldn't suggest this to anyone unless you are having trouble getting to sleep or if you actually like the Civil War which if you do I don't mean to offend.
Shannon Looney
Sep 20, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like the cival war
I didnt much like the book, it was a very dry read. It was hard for me to really get into it when they were describe how he had to tend to the farm by himself; I would have liked more action and drama to occure. his mom having caffeen with draws waasnt enough for me to really care...
Feb 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Tragic and beautiful, this book describes the deep family divisions which the Civil War caused. War may be captivating, but it is also hell.
Jane Gansey
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
I did not enjoy it very much. I don't think I will be rereading this book again. The parts I liked the most were the parts with Shadrach and Jenny or Jenny and Jethro.
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Irene Hunt was an American children's writer known best for historical novels. She was a runner-up for the Newbery Medal for her first book, Across Five Aprils, and won the medal for her second, Up a Road Slowly. For her contribution as a children's writer she was U.S. nominee in 1974 for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international recognition available to ...more

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