Module 4: Out of the Dust

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2012 at 4:58 am

Book Summary:  Out of the Dust is written in short verses or poems.  It is a verse in a novel.  The young girl shown on the front cover is named Billie Joe.  Billie Joe lives during the time of the Great Depression during one of the events call the Dust Bowl.  Billie escapes the time by playing piano.  Her fingers touching the keys make her tell a story and feel an urge to express herself in a different form of sound.  Living with her Ma and Pa they live a normal life that is suffering through economic times.  Billie Joe tells her story in verses.  She talks about her Ma setting rules for dinner and how jealous she is when Joe plays the piano and about the debts her dad is rolling.  Through the hardships of getting burned on her hands and her Ma’s  and baby brother “Franklins'” death and Dad’s sickness, Billie Joe sees that life isn’t about what we need but what we have in front of us.  She talks about the government and politics and forgiveness.

Hesse, K.  (1997). Out of the Dust.  New York, NY:  Scholastic Inc.  

Impressions: The John Newbery Award book is an original book that was creative to show the side of a young girl’s side during the Great Depression.  Children’s book of history in a narrative form can engage new readers and teach them a lesson on history at the same time.  The verses in the book is short and simple but sometimes a bit confusing if the reader does not understand the history part of the Dust Bowl.  I really enjoyed this book.  My younger sister read it at the same time because of class and we had a great discussion of Billie Joe’s life and the Great Depression.

Professional Review: 

Donelson, K.  (1999, Jan).  Out of the Dust

[Review of the book Out of the Dust, by K.H].

English Journal 88(3), 120-121.  Retrieved from http://libproxy.library.unt.edu:7125/docview/237284426

“Heavens to Betsy-a Newbery winner I liked. What a strange feeling after I’d argued over the years that awards were reserved for books that sensitive adults would love and kids would generally ignore. But I really liked Out of the Dust, even if it won an award and if I wonder whether many kids will pick it up voluntarily, though English teachers and librarians will probably admire it.”

Finnegan, M.  (1998, Sep).  Out of the Dust

[Review of the book Out of the Dust, by K.H].

Voices From the Middle 6(1), C1.  Retrieved from http://libproxy.library.unt.edu:7125/docview/213934378

“This book documents a year in the life of an Oklahoma girl, growing up through the dust bowl. It’s a remarkable narrative written entirely in poetry. Karen Hesse breathes life into this adolescent by creating her with spirit and honesty, innocence and experience.  Accessible to young adults and older people, this is a fast, but truly engaging, read. Do not miss Out of the Dust. It’s no wonder it won the Newbery Award.”

Library Use: Out of the Dust can be taught as a history lesson in a school library.  Since the book is written in a short verse, poem format it can help kids appreciate this type of new writing.  The Dust Bowl was a serious time during the Great Depression.  The reader can appreciate that working hard helps achieve a goal in life.  The library use can be centered on persistence.  Persistence is the benefit in the end.  There can be a treasure hunt in the library.  The search is for certain books and see if they can find them all.   Towards the end of the treasure hunt the kids that find all the items can be rewarded with a candy.


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