Cover image for A time of angels
A time of angels
Hesse, Karen.
Personal Author:
Revised edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion Books for Children, 2000.

Physical Description:
277 pages ; 22 cm
Sick with influenza during the 1918 epidemic and separated from her two sisters, a young Jewish girl living in Boston relies on the help of an old German man, and her visions of angels, to get better and to reunite herself with her family.
Reading Level:
650 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.2 9.0 18841.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.8 14 Quiz: 11564 Guided reading level: W.

Format :


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

On Order



An absorbing story with strongly drawn characters and convincing sense of time and place (Kirkus Reviews) from the 1997 Newbery Medalist. Separated from her family because of a devastating influenza epidemic, Hannah relies of her vision of an angel to lead her back home.

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 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-8. Hannah and her sisters live in Boston with Tanta Rose and stern Vashti, awaiting their parents' return from a Europe embroiled in World War I. An influenza epidemic sweeps through the city, killing thousands including Tanta Rose. As Hannah is leaving town, she comes down with the flu and is helped by a mysterious girl with violet eyes. Hannah makes a slow recovery in Brattleboro, Vermont, cared for by an old farmer named Klaus, whose German heritage has made him suspect in the town. Hesse's meticulous re-creation of time and place (substantiated by an author's note) gets the novel off to a very slow start but lends an authentic feel to the story, despite some incidents that seem added merely for historical flavor. Her characters are also richly drawn, especially Klaus and Vashti, and there's a ring of truth to Hannah's being torn between her life in Vermont and her life in the city. (Reviewed December 1, 1995)0786800879Susan Dove Lempke

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9‘A warm, personal novel set in Boston during 1918. Hannah Gold, 14, and her two sisters live with their Tanta Rose while their parents are trapped in Russia because of the war. Although life is not easy, Tanta Rose provides for the girls as best she can. Rose's companion Vashti, however, feels that the girls are an intrusion. When the deadly influenza epidemic ravishes the city, Hannah's world is turned upside-down. Driven away by Vashti after Rose's death, the feverish young woman is guided to safety by a beautiful, ethereal girl (actually, an angel) who saved her life once before. She is nursed back to health on a Vermont farm by an old man whose strength and wisdom give her the courage to go back to Boston and to make peace with Vashti. Aspects of Jewish culture are nicely incorporated into the story, as are period details. However, some plot elements may cause confusion. The angel, portrayed as a guiding force instead of a fully developed character, interacts with Hannah on an almost subconscious level. Also, some of Hannah's actions do not seem realistic. Shortcomings aside, Hesse offers readers much to enjoy, analyze, and consider in this piece of historical fiction with a mystical bent.‘Tracey Kroll, Brookland Middle School, Richmond, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.