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By Karen Hesse

This gripping tale, written in sparse first-person, free-verse poems, is the compelling story of Billie Jo's fight to outlive through the dirt bowl years of the melancholy. With stoic braveness, she learns to deal with the lack of her mom and her grieving father's sluggish deterioration. there's wish on the finish whilst Billie Jo's badly burned palms are healed, and he or she is ready to play her cherished piano back. The 1998 Newbery Medal winner.

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I questioned what Livie Killian’s brother seemed like now. I questioned approximately Livie herself. Daddy requested if the boy sought after a tub, a haircut, a metamorphosis of garments ahead of he moved on. The boy nodded. I by no means heard him say greater than “Yes, sir” or “No, sir” or “Much obliged. ” We watched him stroll away down the line, in a couple of Daddy’s mended overalls, his legs like willow limbs, his hands like reeds. Ma rested her palms on her heavy abdominal, Daddy rested his chin at the best of my head. “His mom is caring approximately him,” Ma acknowledged. “His mom is wishing her boy might come domestic. ” plenty of moms wishing that nowadays, whereas their sons stroll to California, the place rain comes, and the colour eco-friendly doesn’t look like any such miracle, and desire rises day-by-day, like sap in a stem. and that i imagine, a few day I’m going to stroll there too, via New Mexico and Arizona and Nevada. a few day I’ll go away in the back of the wind, and the airborne dirt and dust and stroll my approach West and make myself to domestic in that far away position of eco-friendly vines and promise. July 1934 The coincidence I bought burned undesirable. Daddy placed a pail of kerosene subsequent to the range and Ma, solving breakfast, considering the pail was once jam-packed with water, lifted it, to make Daddy’s espresso, poured it, yet rather than making espresso, Ma made a rope of fireside. It rose up from the range to the pail and the kerosene burst into flames. Ma ran around the kitchen, out the porch door, screaming for Daddy. I tore after her, then, taking into account the burning pail left in the back of within the bone-dry kitchen, I flew again and grabbed it, throwing it out the door. I didn’t understand. I didn’t be aware of Ma used to be coming again. The flaming oil splashed onto her apron, and Ma, without notice Ma, used to be a column of fireside. I driven her to the floor, desirous to store her, desirous to keep the child, I attempted, beating out the flames with my fingers. I did the easiest i'll. however it used to be no strong. Ma bought burned undesirable. July 1934 Burns at the beginning I felt no discomfort, basically warmth. i assumed i would be swallowed via the warmth, just like the witch in “Hansel and Gretel,” and not anything will be left of me. somebody introduced document Rice. He tended Ma first, then got here to me. The physician lower away the outside on my fingers, it hung in crested strips. He lower my dermis away with scissors, then poked my fingers with pins to work out what i may suppose. He bathed my burns in antiseptic. merely then the ache got here. July 1934 Nightmare i'm conscious now, nonetheless shaking from my dream: i used to be coming domestic via a howling airborne dirt and dust typhoon, my decreased face used to be scrubbed uncooked via airborne dirt and dust and wind. Grit scratched my eyes, it crunched among my the teeth. Sand chafed within my outfits, opposed to my dermis. dirt crept inside of my ears, up my nostril, down my throat. I shuddered, nasty with airborne dirt and dust. in the home, dirt blew in the course of the cracks within the partitions, it coated the floorboards and heaped opposed to the doorways. It floated within the air, in all places. I didn’t care approximately a person, whatever, merely the piano. I looked for it, discovered it lower than a mound of airborne dirt and dust. i used to be indignant at Ma for letting within the airborne dirt and dust.

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