Cover image for My brother's keeper : Virginia's diary
My brother's keeper : Virginia's diary
Osborne, Mary Pope.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic, 2000.
Physical Description:
109 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm.
In 1863, as the Civil War approaches her quiet town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, nine-year-old Virginia records in a journal the horrible things she witnesses before, during, and after the Battle of Gettysburg.
General Note:
"Virginia Dickens is a fictional character created by the author and her diary is a work of fiction"--Copyright page.
Reading Level:
590 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.3 2.0 40138.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.1 5 Quiz: 22200 Guided reading level: P.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area
Clarence Library X Juvenile Fiction Series
Dudley Branch Library X Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Eden Library X Juvenile Fiction Series
Eggertsville-Snyder Library X Juvenile Fiction Series
Elma Library X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Grand Island Library X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Kenilworth Library X Juvenile Fiction Series
Kenmore Library X Juvenile Fiction Series
Kenmore Library X Juvenile Fiction Series
Lackawanna Library X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Anna M. Reinstein Library X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library X Juvenile Fiction On Display

On Order



Mary Pope Osborne's book, part of the relaunch of the My America series, tells the story of Ginny, a young girl who keeps a journal during the Civil War's Battle of Gettysburg.

Virginia Dickens has promised to keep a journal for her older brother Jed. And Ginny finds plenty to write about: Pennsylvania Volunteers arrive in the town square reporting a big battle in Virginia and calling for more men to join their ranks. Rumors fly that the Rebs are headed to Gettysburg, and the Battle of Gettysburg ensues. Suddenly, Ginny's quiet town is filled with the injured.

Ginny's brother Jed has joined the Union army, and they find him wounded in a makeshift hospital. With Ginny's nursing, he recovers, and Ginny is is able to witness the President's Gettysburg Address.

Author Notes

Mary Pope Osborne was born in Fort Sill, Oklahoma on May 20, 1949. She grew up in a military family, and by the time she was 15 she had lived in Oklahoma, Austria, Florida, and four different army posts in Virginia and North Carolina. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she majored in religion. After graduation, she traveled around Europe and Asia. Before becoming an author, she worked as a window dresser, a medical assistant, a Russian travel consultant, a waitress, an acting teacher, a bartender, and an assistant editor for a children's magazine.

Her first book, Run, Run as Fast as You Can, was published in 1982. She is the author of the Magic Tree House series and the Merlin Missions series. Her husband, actor Will Osborne, helps her write the nonfiction companion series, Magic Tree House Research Guides. Her other books include The Deadly Power of Medusa, Jason and the Argonauts, Haunted Waters, and Moonhorse.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 2^-5. This book in the My America series uses the same diary format as books in the Dear America and My Name Is America series, but it is intended for younger readers. When nine-year-old Virginia's father and brother Jed leave to get horses from Uncle Jack, Jed asks Virginia to keep his journal going. Angry at being left behind, Virginia has no idea what to write. As she witnesses the aftermath of the bloody battle of Gettysburg, she records all she sees and hears, concluding with Lincoln's Gettysburg address. Although Osborne never explains why Virginia's father and 18-year-old Jed aren't fighting, she does a good job of looking at the Civil War from a young girl's perspective. Notes at the end offer brief historical background, and a few black-and-white photos provide visual cues to the events. --Karen Hutt

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-Resembling the "Dear America" books (Scholastic), these titles are aimed at a slightly younger audience. In the first book, nine-year-old Elizabeth records her experiences as she, her family, and other colonists adjust to the harsh weather conditions, illness, endless hard work, and nascent social strata in the new land. In the course of three months, Elizabeth meets Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, Gabriel Archer, and George Percy. This is a quick, easy read. Hermes has created a sensitive main character and readers will empathize with her fears and emotions as she adjusts to her new life. In My Brother's Keeper, nine-year-old Virginia Dickens is left in the care of Reverend and Mrs. McCully while her father and brother help her uncle hide his horses from the Confederate raiders. Her journal documents the battle at Gettysburg and the horrors of war. After the battle, she and her father find her brother in a makeshift hospital. The novel ends as the town slowly recovers and Virginia hears President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Osborne successfully creates individual characters, and she poses difficult questions about war and the waste of human life. There is a lyrical quality to several passages, and the author slowly builds suspense and release. However, this book seems more fitting for older, more experienced readers, and the intended audience may have difficulty digesting some of the material. Fans of "Dear America" will enjoy it.-Shawn Brommer, Southern Tier Library System, Painted Post, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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