Crossing Stones

Crossing Stones

5.0 1
by Helen Frost, Natalia Payne
     
 

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Maybe you won’t rock a cradle, Muriel.

Some women seem to prefer to rock the boat.

Eighteen-year-old Muriel Jorgensen lives on one side of Crabapple Creek. Her family’s closest friends, the Normans, live on the other. For as long as Muriel can remember, the families’ lives have been intertwined, connected by the crossing stones

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Overview

Maybe you won’t rock a cradle, Muriel.

Some women seem to prefer to rock the boat.

Eighteen-year-old Muriel Jorgensen lives on one side of Crabapple Creek. Her family’s closest friends, the Normans, live on the other. For as long as Muriel can remember, the families’ lives have been intertwined, connected by the crossing stones that span the water. But now that Frank Norman—who Muriel is just beginning to think might be more than a friend—has enlisted to fight in World War I and her brother, Ollie, has lied about his age to join him, the future is uncertain. As Muriel tends to things at home with the help of Frank’s sister, Emma, she becomes more and more fascinated by the women’s suffrage movement, but she is surrounded by people who advise her to keep her opinions to herself. How can she find a way to care for those she loves while still remaining true to who she is?

Written in beautifully structured verse, Crossing Stones captures nine months in the lives of two resilient families struggling to stay together and cross carefully, stone by stone, into a changing world.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6�10—This gripping story (Farrar, Straus, 2009) by Helen Frost about two neighboring families during the Great War relates personal perspectives on the war, the struggle for women's suffrage in the U.S., the Spanish flu, and the day-to-day hardships of a small farming community in Minnesota in 1918. A son from each of the two families enlisted to fight the war in Europe, and one was killed and the other was maimed. The main character, Muriel, is against the war, but has learned to moderate her opinion to keep peace in her home and with her neighbors. When Muriel's Aunt Vera takes part in a hunger strike in support of women's suffrage, the girl is sent to bring Vera back home. However, instead of returning home, Vera introduces her niece to suffragettes and the art of demonstration. Muriel, who has been wondering what to do with her life after graduating from school, finds purpose in speaking her mind and teaching children in the slums. Unlike the facts and figures memorized for history class, this story brings the people and the issues to life. The heartfelt personal narratives related by four voice actors involve listeners from the very beginning of the book. This is historical fiction at it best.—Ann Weber, Bellarmine College Prep., San Jose, CA
VOYA - Jane Van Wiemokly
Beautifully written in formally structured verse, Frost's story spans nine months from 1917 to 1918. Each of three characters' poems, with their own distinct rhyming schemes and visual shapes, tell about their lives growing up in two families living on either side of a creek in rural Michigan. Muriel has just graduated from high school and dreams of something more. Her slightly older friend and neighbor, Frank, has finished basic training and is sent to Europe to fight in World War I; her younger brother Ollie lies about his age so he can enlist and join Frank; and her best friend Emma, Frank's sister, is content to some day become a wife. To help her suffragette aunt recover after being in jail, Muriel travels to Washington DC, and a whole new world is opened up to her, one in which she can make a difference. Although warned by family to be careful with voicing her opinions, Muriel learns that sometimes it takes protesting and education to help effect change. Frost deals with many issues, including the horrors and experiences associated with war: death, mutilation, separation, how the home front coped; gender roles and women's suffrage; the Spanish influenza outbreak; and discovering what to do with one's life. At the end in "Notes on the Form," Frost explains the formal structure of each person's verse, which is amazingly done. This beautifully written, gently told story can be used for classroom discussion in social studies and English, or simply for leisure reading. Reviewer: Jane Van Wiemokly
Kirkus Reviews
This gorgeous collection of "cupped-hand" sonnets tells the story of two families whose lives are forever changed by World War I. Perhaps the most poignant poems, flowing like rushing water across the pages, are those from 18-year-old Muriel's point of view. Outspoken Muriel questions the war and finds herself drawn more and more to her Aunt Vera's suffragist cause. Other poems, shaped like river stones, are written from Muriel's brother Ollie's and her friend Emma's perspectives. Ollie's poems chronicle his brief experience in the war before an injury brings him home, and Emma's point up the great loss her family has felt since her brother, Frank, was killed in the war. Both Emma's and Ollie's poems also reveal the tender feelings of first love blossoming between them. With care and precision, Frost deftly turns plainspoken conversations and the internal monologues of her characters into stunning poems that combine to present three unique and thoughtful perspectives on war, family, love and loss. Heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful, this is one to savor. (notes on form) (Historical fiction/poetry. 12 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781449810078
Publisher:
Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
07/23/2010
Age Range:
11 - 15 Years

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