Cover image for Amy's story
Amy's story
Pfeffer, Susan Beth, 1948-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Delacorte Press, [1997]

Physical Description:
78 pages, 24 unnumbered pages : illustrations ; 19 cm.
Because she desperately wants to have her picture taken, ten-year-old Amy finds a way to accumulate the necessary five dollars but then decides to spend it in another way.
General Note:
Based on characters found in Louisa May Alcott's Little women.
Reading Level:
660 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.1 1.0 20206.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.9 4 Quiz: 16072.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Beautiful Amy March, the youngest March sister, is a talented artist.  Everyone praises her lifelike portraits.  The one person she can't draw is herself.  So when a photographer's studio opens in town, Amy is thrilled.  Now her pretty blond curls and piercing blue eyes can be captured forever in a photograph. A photograph costs quite a bit of money--more than she has, and more than her parents can give her.  Amy thinks of a clever way to come up with the money...and soon she has enough.  But she decides to spend her savings on a gift for her father--a gift that will warm his heart when he's far away from home, and that ultimately gives Amy an unexpected gift in return.

Author Notes

Susan Beth Pfeffer was born in New York City in 1948, and grew up in the city and its nearby suburbs. At the age of six, when her father wrote and published a book, Pfeffer decided she, too, wanted to be a writer; that year, she wrote her first story. She didn't write her first published book, until much later. Just Morgan, a young adult novel, was written during her final semester at New York University, and published the following year.

Since then, Pfeffer has been a full-time writer for young people. She has won numerous awards and citations for her work, which ranges from picture books to middle-grade and young-adult novels and includes both contemporary and historical fiction. Her young adult novel About David was awarded the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award. Her young adult novel The Year Without Michael, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and winner of the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award, was named by the American Library Association as one of the hundred best books for teenagers written between 1968-1993.

Pfeffer has also written a book for adults on writing for children. She has written over 60 books for children and young adults.

(Bowker Author Biography)



What do you want most in the world, Amy? " Jo March asked her youngest sister. It was a Saturday afternoon in April. There was a scent of springtime in the air, but it was too cold for Amy and her sisters, Meg, Jo, and Beth, to be playing outside. Instead they were in the parlor. Their parents were visiting their friends the Emersons. Amy could recall a time when she and her sisters were regarded as too young to be left alone. But now Meg was fifteen, Jo fourteen, Beth twelve, and Amy almost eleven. "Why do you want to know?" Amy asked. it, was just wondering," Jo replied. I know what I want the most: to be a famous writer. And Meg wants a husband and babies. Am I right, Meg? " I would like a husband and babies," Meg said with a smile. "But not for another week or two, thank you. Right now what I'd like more than anything is a new dress. One I could wear to parties and not be ashamed of." "You have nothing to be ashamed of," Beth said* "You dress beautifully, Meg." Meg sighed. "Not compared to the girls I know. Anyway, that's what I want. A red new Party dress." I want all of us to be happy, " said Beth "And some new sheet music. And a really fine piano. And a new head for my doll. Her headless body looks so sad." "That's quite a list," Jo said. "Now, Amy, what's your pleasure?" "A truly aristocratic nose," Amy replied. "You ought to know, Jo, since it's your fault I don't have one. " "Will you never let me forget?" Jo said. I didn't mean to drop you when you were a baby. I suppose you must have been quite slippery. " "You couldn't be any prettier than you are now," Beth told Amy. "And I think your nose is extremely aristocratic. For an American, that is." "Beth's right," said Jo. "A true patriot wouldn't care so much for an aristocratic nose, Amy. You are a true patriot, aren't you?" "As much a one as you," Amy said. "But there's nothing in the Constitution that prevents me from wanting a truly beautiful nose. "You're beautiful enough as you are," said Meg. "What else would you like?" Amy thought about it. She knew she was pretty. Her shiny blond hair fell in lovely curls, and her eyes were as blue as cornflowers. Still, an aristocratic nose would help, but beyond sleeping with a clothespin on her nose there was little she could do to make it perfect. "I'd like to be a real, professional artist,"she said. "Someone who sells her paintings for lots and lots of money." "I'd like that too," Jo said. "For you're a generous girl, Amy, and sure to share your wealth with your less fortunate sisters!" The girls laughed. They were still laughing when their parents entered the parlor. "What a wonderful greeting," Father said. it MY little women enjoying themselves so." "Father, Marmee!" the girls cried, and although they had seen their parents )ust a few hours earlier, they rushed into their arms and exchanged embraces. "It is good to see you so happy," Marmee siad. "Especially after the conversation we just had with the Emersons." "Why, Marmee?" Beth asked. "Everything's all right with them, isn't it?" "With them, yes," Father replied. "But not with the nation." "You mean the Southern states seceding?" Jo asked. "President Lincoln will keep tlie country together. I'm sure of it." It will take more than words," said Father. "It was in the newspapers. The Confederates have fired upon Fort Sumter." "Where's that, Father?" asked Meg. Ariny was glad Meg had asked, as she didn't care to appear ignorant. "It's in Charleston, South Carolina. The Union soldiers were asked to surrender but refused, and the Southerners fired upon them." "How terrible," Meg said. "Were there Fatalities'? " "Fortunately not," said Father. "But we'd be naive to think there won't be. War has begun, and with war there is always loss and suffering. " I wish I were a boy," said Jo. "I'd enlist right away to fight for the Union and for the end of slavery." "I'm glad I have daughters and no sons," said Marmee. I know it's selfish of me, but at least I don't have to worry about any of you dying in battle. No matter how noble the cause. "You aren't going to go off to be a soldier, are you, Father?" asked Beth. "I'm too old, I'm afraid," Father said. "But there must be something I can do. All these years, I've fought for abolition. But what are words when young men are going to sacrifice their lives?" "Words are what you have to offer," said Marmee. "And prayers too, for a quick resolution to this war." War. Amy thrilled at the very word. She had no desire to be a boy and go off to fight. But, like Jo, she found the idea of war exciting. Handsome young men in uniform, fighting for a just and noble cause. She supposed some of the men fighting for the South were handsome as well, but she didn't care. They were certain to lose and to realize how wrong they were about everything. "It's a good war, isn't it, Father?" she asked. Father sighed. "All wars are evil. But in this case, there's a greater evil, and that's slavery. So in some ways, it's a good war. But I pray it will be a short one, with as little bloodshed as possible." "That's what we all should pray for," Marmee said. Amy thought about her nose. It was selfish of her to wish for a nicer one when young men were going to risk their lives for the freedom of others. "I'll pray for a short war, Father," Amy said. "And for freedom for the slaves." Excerpted from Amy's Story by Susan Beth Pfeffer, Louisa May Alcott All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.