Cover image for Raising Yoder's barn
Raising Yoder's barn
Yolen, Jane.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Eight-year-old Matthew tells what happens when fire destroys the barn on his family's farm and all the Amish neighbors come to rebuild it in one day.
Reading Level:
AD 680 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.2 0.5 29515.

Reading Counts RC K-2 5.2 2 Quiz: 19078 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



This powerful and triumphant story is told by a young Amish boy whose family's barn is destroyed in a huge fire. The Amish community comes together to build a new barn, bringing tools, wood, dozens of workers, and food to feed them all. Jane Yolen's lyrical prose and Bernie Fuchs's illuminating oil paintings deftly capture the spirit of an Amish barn raising.

Author Notes

Jane Yolen was born February 11, 1939 in New York City. She received a bachelor's degree from Smith College in 1960 and a master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts in 1976. After college, she became an editor in New York City and wrote during her lunch break. She sold her first children's book, Pirates in Petticoats, at the age of 22. Since then, she has written over 300 books for children, young adults, and adults.

Her other works include the Emperor and the Kite, Owl Moon, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? and The Devil's Arithmetic. She has won numerous awards including the Kerlan Award, the Regina Medal, the Keene State Children's Literature Award, the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, two Christopher Medals, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards, the Golden Kite Award, the Jewish Book Award, the World Fantasy Association's Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Association of Jewish Libraries Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 6^-8. On a Monday in July, lightning strikes Matthew Yoder's family's barn, and on Friday his entire Amish community gathers to raise a new one, for "barns come first on a proper Amish farm, even before the house." In language that is supple and graceful, Yolen's text first follows Matthew as he begins to take his place in working the farm with his father and brothers; then lightning "like a stooping hawk" strikes the windmill that powers their machinery. The alarm is sounded, and all come to help, but the barn burns to the ground. Samuel Stulzfoot designs barns, and when the men come to raise a new barn, and the women come to feed them, Matthew is given the task of carrying Stulzfoot's instructions to the workers. Fuchs' full-page paintings, which face each page of text, make the plain clothing, broad faces, and sunlit fields glow with sumptuous light. The edges of fruit jars, horses' rumps, and barn framing are honeyed and silvered, making Amish bounty beautiful indeed. As in Yolen's recent House, House [BKL My 15 98], the meaning of home and community underlies the text. What the Amish believe is never made explicit, but their values are limpidly clear. A fine story, finely limned and told, with much to teach. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

Work of the hands, faith and community spirit are constants that eight-year-old Matthew has always known growing up on a Pennsylvania Amish farm. These things make all the difference when lightning burns his family's barn to the ground. When a barn-raising is organized, he despairs of being thought too young to help despite his father's praise for his work skills; eventually, the organizer, Samuel Stulzfoot, gives Matthew a special and important task. Yolen (The Girl in the Golden Bower) uses atmospheric metaphors‘blisters are compared to "the barley in Mama's soup" and the barn grows "like a giant flower in the field." Her vision of the Amish seems rose-colored‘not even the fire disturbs the underlying calm‘but both the fire and the one-day barn-raising carry palpable excitement. In Fuchs's (Ragtime Tumpie) similarly idealized oil paintings, the Amish characters, clad in their traditional garb, move against radiant, broadly brushed pastoral settings. The new barn glows golden in the light of the new moon; the jars of preserves on the kitchen counter gleam as the sun pours in. The mood, never broken, is the real star of the book. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Time-honored traditions of interdependence and cooperation are celebrated in a heartwarming story of an Amish barn raising. Matthew Yoder relates the events of his eighth summer when a fire consumes his family's barn. Four days later, neighbors rally to have a "frolic" and build a new one; however, the boy is concerned there will not be a task for him to perform. When expert builder Samuel Stultzfoot tells the child he's needed to relay instructions to the men, he is honored to be assigned such an important role. At the end of the day, the family gives thanks for their good neighbors and the barn. Matthew's "Amen" is a mere whisper but his satisfaction in a job well done speaks volumes. Luminous, impressionistic-style oil paintings reveal images of Amish life: the horse-drawn buggies, the unadorned clothing, the camaraderie and industriousness of the people. Direct and reflected light warm the full-page illustrations with gold, copper, and brown hues. Poetic language and stunning artwork pay tribute to a close-knit lifestyle and a commitment to family and community.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.