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Out of the Dust

Out of the Dust

by Karen Hesse

A poem cycle that reads as a novel, Out of the Dust tells the story of a girl named Billie Jo, who struggles to help her family survive the dust-bowl years of the Depression. Fighting against the elements on her Oklahoma farm, Billie Jo takes on even more responsibilities when her mother dies in a tragic accident. A testament to the American spirit, this novel is an instant classic.

This gripping story, written in sparse first-person, free-verse poems, tells of Billie Jo's stoic courage, as she learns to cope with the loss of her mother and her grieving father's slow deterioration. There is hope at the end when Billie Jo's badly burned hands are healed, and she is able to play her beloved piano again. The 1998 Newbery Medal winner.

11, 12, 13
Interest Level
Grades 6 - 8
Grade Level Equivalent
Guided Reading
Scholastic Inc.
Number of Pages
Historical Fiction, Poetry and Rhymes, Young Adult

About the Author

Karen Hesse Karen Hesse lives in Vermont with her husband and two teen-aged daughters. Her book Out of the Dust was awarded the Newbery Medal for 1998.

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