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Out of the Dust [Paperback]

Karen Hesse
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (643 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1999 Out of the Dust
This gripping story, written in sparse first-person, free-verse poems, is the compelling tale of Billie Jo's struggle to survive during the dust bowl years of the Depression. With stoic courage, 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.

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Product Description

From Amazon

Like the Oklahoma dust bowl from which she came, 14-year-old narrator Billie Jo writes in sparse, free-floating verse. In this compelling, immediate journal, Billie Jo reveals the grim domestic realities of living during the years of constant dust storms: That hopes--like the crops--blow away in the night like skittering tumbleweeds. That trucks, tractors, even Billie Jo's beloved piano, can suddenly be buried beneath drifts of dust. Perhaps swallowing all that grit is what gives Billie Jo--our strong, endearing, rough-cut heroine--the stoic courage to face the death of her mother after a hideous accident that also leaves her piano-playing hands in pain and permanently scarred.

Meanwhile, Billie Jo's silent, windblown father is literally decaying with grief and skin cancer before her very eyes. When she decides to flee the lingering ghosts and dust of her homestead and jump a train west, she discovers a simple but profound truth about herself and her plight. There are no tight, sentimental endings here--just a steady ember of hope that brightens Karen Hesse's exquisitely written and mournful tale. Hesse won the 1998 Newbery Award for this elegantly crafted, gut-wrenching novel, and her fans won't want to miss The Music of Dolphins or Letters from Rifka. (Ages 9 and older) --Gail Hudson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

In a starred review of the 1998 Newbery Medal winner, set during the Depression, PW said, "This intimate novel, written in stanza form, poetically conveys the heat, dust and wind of Oklahoma. With each meticulously arranged entry Hesse paints a vivid picture of her heroine's emotions." Ages 11-13.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars it's a good story July 19 2004
By A Customer
I recommend this book to anyone that's 13 years old and up because the first part of the story is emotional. Billy's mom died. "Ma died that day giving birth to my brother." Billy's mom died because of the fire in which she was burned badly. This is why I recommend this book to older kids. I like this book because when people that are close to you pass away it shows how you can get on with your live. "I was invited to graduation, to play the piano." This citation shows that people start to think that Billy is normal, and she can play the piano again.
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By A Customer
I read Out of The Dust when i was probably 11, and i LOVED it! For me, i love stories with a lot of drama and stories that make me cry. Some people don't like that feeling when reading a book. like i said though, i like it. As well as tears, there were also some laughs. it's a quick read and deffinately a good one!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Story May 20 2004
I think the book was good. It made me think about how tough it was living through dust storms and living without a mom and without a little brother. Living without a mom that teaches you piano lessons and having those lessons dissappear when she dies is really hard. So she's trying to move on and regain those lessons and memories.
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1.0 out of 5 stars This book really stinks! May 6 2004
By A Customer
The theme of this book is death. You meet someone, you like them, they either die or move to California. Sorry I ruined all the book talks about. This is the kind of book that kids hate, and yet teachers think they love. It is really depressing when everyone dies.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Out of the Book Wonderful! May 5 2004
By A Customer
The book called out of the dust is a great book! I loved how she explained what the land looked like and how the people relate to the weather when there were major dust storms. It was fun to learn about how a family interacted then and the dust. The girl did a great job explaining her life in detail but not making it to detailed to where it got very boring.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Out of the Dust May 3 2004
By A Customer
I thought that it was a very interesting book(in a good way), and I liked the way it was written -in free verse-, I have not ever seen that before. It was also very educational and I learned a lot about that time period and the Dust Bowl. For instance, I had no idea that the dust was in their food, and beds, and drinks, and mouths, or even in the buildings. Another thing was that this book, unlike many other historical-fiction books, was that it was not boring, it kept hold of my intrest constantly. Over all, I enjoyed this book, and I'm not just saying this, I mean it, I liked this book and would recommend it to anybody who needed a good one to read.(I only gave it 4 stars because nothing is perfect)
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4.0 out of 5 stars book May 1 2004
By Rolin
I was a good book in which exposed you to the harsh reality of the dust how often people died and how hard it was to keep on to hope even through severe hardships. I give it a 4 out of 5
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This book really opened my eyes. I had no idea how difficult it was to live in the Dust Bowl during the Great Deppression. The way the book was written in free verse poetry helped convey the book's powerful message. I loved the way the book ended. It left you feeling hopeful that Billie Jo's life would turn around and become joyful again.
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