Cover image for Out of the dust
Title:
Out of the dust
Author:
Hesse, Karen.
Personal Author:
Edition:
An Apple Signature edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press, [1999]

©1997
Physical Description:
227 pages ; 20 cm
Summary:
In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression. in a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression. Dust piles up like snow across the prairie. A terrible accident has transformed Billie Jo's life, scarring her inside and out. Her mother is gone. Her father can't talk about it. And the one thing that might make her feel better -- playing the piano -- is impossible with her wounded hands. To make matters worse, dust storms are devastating the family farm and all the farms nearby. While others flee from the dust bowl, Billie Jo is left to find peace in the bleak landscape of Oklahoma -- and in the surprising landscape of her own heart.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.3 3.0 18783.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.1 5 Quiz: 08788 Guided reading level: X.
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780590371254
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Out of the Dust joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!

"Dust piles up like snow across the prairie. . . ."

A terrible accident has transformed Billie Jo's life, scarring her inside and out. Her mother is gone. Her father can't talk about it. And the one thing that might make her feel better -- playing the piano -- is impossible with her wounded hands.

To make matters worse, dust storms are devastating the family farm and all the farms nearby. While others flee from the dust bowl, Billie Jo is left to find peace in the bleak landscape of Oklahoma -- and in the surprising landscape of her own heart.


Author Notes

Karen Hesse (born on August 29, 1952 Baltimore, Maryland) is an American author of children's literature and literature for young adults. She studied theatre at Towson State College, and finished her undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland in English, Psychology, and Anthropology. In 1998 she won the Newbery Medal for her young adult novel, Out of the Dust.

Hesse lives in Vermont with her husband and two teen-aged daughters.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-9. "Daddy came in, / he sat across from Ma and blew his nose. / Mud streamed out. / He coughed and spit out / mud. / If he had cried, / his tears would have been mud too, / but he didn't cry. / And neither did Ma." This is life in the Oklahoma dust bowl in the mid-1930s. Billie Jo and her parents barely eke out a living from the land, as her father refuses to plant anything but wheat, and the winds and dust destroy the crop time after time. Playing the piano provides some solace, but there is no comfort to be had once Billie Jo's pregnant mother mistakes a bucket of kerosene for a bucket of water and dies, leaving a husband who withdraws even further and an adolescent daughter with terribly burned hands. The story is bleak, but Hesse's writing transcends the gloom and transforms it into a powerfully compelling tale of a girl with enormous strength, courage, and love. The entire novel is written in very readable blank verse, a superb choice for bringing out the exquisite agony and delight to be found in such a difficult period lived by such a vibrant character. It also spares the reader the trouble of wading through pages of distressing text, distilling all the experiences into brief, acutely observed phrases. This is an excellent book for discussion, and many of the poems stand alone sufficiently to be used as powerful supplements to a history lesson. --Susan Dove Lempke


Publisher's Weekly Review

In a starred review of the 1998 Newbery Medal winner, set during the Depression, PW said, "This intimate novel, written in stanza form, poetically conveys the heat, dust and wind of Oklahoma. With each meticulously arranged entry Hesse paints a vivid picture of her heroine's emotions." Ages 11-13. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Fourteen-year-old Billie Jo's life is defined by struggle both physical and emotional. She struggles to forgive her father for causing the accident that killed her mother. She fights a daily battle to survive during the worst days of the Oklahoma dust storms. And she strives to heal her body and her soul when severe burns leave her disfigured and unable to play the music she loves. Set during the time of the Great Depression and written in free verse, Karen Hesse's spare but powerful work (Scholastic, 1997) captures every nuance of Billie Jo's emotions, from heartwrenching sadness at the death of her mother and newborn brother to the challenge of rebuilding a relationship with her embittered father. Read with disarming simplicity and straightforwardness by Marika Mashburn, an Oklahoma native, the titled and dated entries span the course of a year during which Billie Jo's reflections lead her to draw on qualities she never knew she possessed. Powerful and moving, this 1998 Newbery Medal winner is a recommended purchase for all school and public libraries.-Cindy Lombardo, Orrville Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.