**See Parent Note at the end of this entry**
I picked this book up while hunting for some historical fiction to read with my upper elementary gifted education classes. We had just finished reading A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck (an absolute favorite of mine, by the way!) and I wanted a more dramatic story set in the same time period. This one certainly fit that bill!
The story is centered on Sadie and her family as they move from their home Missouri to look for work in Texas in 1933. Her father is disabled, but a very proud man that refuses to take charity, so they sell everything they own and move from the dustbowl environment of the parched Missouri plains to the Gulf coast of Texas in pursuit of a new life. Sadie is deeply saddened by this move and the fact that she and her best friend (who is also moving) will be separated.
Overall, I liked this book for upper elementary grades. I think that it was realistic enough to hold the attention of both boys and girls, but it would be a tough read after the humor of A Long Way from Chicago. Sadie’s family suffers a devastating string of tragedies, but they are resilient and very sympathetic characters. I did have a few moments of just wishing Sadie would get over her stubborn “I’m going to hate everything about this” attitude, but honestly, I could see where she was coming from. I think that her attitude would actually be a really great talking point for parents and teachers. There are lots of wonderful questions to be asked about overcoming circumstances and learning life lessons through adversity.
**Parent Note** There is a scene in this book where Sadie has to help deliver her baby sister. It is not terribly graphic, but a sparse description of the birth is in chapter 24. More sensitive or younger readers may be uncomfortable with it. I think it was handled well, but I know even my daughter would have A LOT of questions after reading it!