Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918 (Dear America Series)

( 46 )

Overview


Two-time Newbery Award-winning author Lois Lowry brings a brand-new, beautiful diary to the Dear America series!

Suddenly orphaned by the Spanish flu epidemic in the fall of 1918, eleven-year-old Lydia Pierce and her fourteen-year-old brother, Daniel, of Portland, Maine, are taken by their uncle to be raised in the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake. Thrust into the Shakers' unfamiliar way of life, Lydia must grapple with a new world that is ...

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Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918 (Dear America Series)

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Overview


Two-time Newbery Award-winning author Lois Lowry brings a brand-new, beautiful diary to the Dear America series!

Suddenly orphaned by the Spanish flu epidemic in the fall of 1918, eleven-year-old Lydia Pierce and her fourteen-year-old brother, Daniel, of Portland, Maine, are taken by their uncle to be raised in the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake. Thrust into the Shakers' unfamiliar way of life, Lydia must grapple with a new world that is nothing like the one she used to know.

Now separated from her beloved brother, for men and women do not mix in this community, Lydia must adjust to many changes. But in time, and with her courageous spirit, she learns to find the joy in life again.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ellen Welty
Eleven year-old Lydia and her older brother Daniel are orphans, their parents and baby sister having all died within hours of each other in the worldwide pandemic of 1918 known as the Spanish Flu. They are taken to the home of their uncle, but there is no room for them and their uncle takes them to the Shaker community called Sabbathday Lake. The Shaker way of life is strange and uncomfortable to Lydia at first and she does not understand their beliefs. To make matters worse, Daniel is not adjusting well and she is not allowed to talk to him. She finds out that he intends to run away and when he does, she determines to find out where he has gone and how he is faring. This book, a part of the "Dear America" series, chronicles the first year of Lydia's new life as part of the Shaker community. The epilogue at the end of the book describes what happened to Lydia and Daniel as adults. The Shakers contributed much to the culture of the United States including many inventions, such as clothespins and a washing machine. The community where Lydia and Daniel lived is one of the few remaining communities in the country. Children and their teachers will both appreciate the wealth of information in this engaging story. Reviewer: Ellen Welty
Kirkus Reviews
"I am desolate," Lydia Pierce declares to her diary on her birthday, Oct. 4, 1918, because the motion-picture houses have been closed due to Spanish flu. In short order, she has great cause for desolation: Her parents and baby sister have all died, and she and her brother have been deposited with the community of Shakers at Sabbathday Lake, Maine, where in accordance with Shaker custom they are separated by gender and forced to relinquish their personal possessions. But Chosen Land is a balm to Lydia's spirit, and she adjusts quickly to the rhythms of life there. Working within the confines of the Dear America format, Lowry pens a tender, affecting portrait of a devout community in transition—one tenet of the Shaker creed is celibacy. The Sisters and Brothers emerge a little on the saintly side, but the author endows them with enough humanity that readers will join in Lydia's concern for their continued prosperity. As befits the setting and subject, the narrative is simple and heartfelt, presenting a snapshot of a unique American community. (historical note, photographs)(Historical fiction. 8-12)
Children's Literature - Tiffany Torbeck
The Spanish Influenza spreads across America, and Lydia is worried that she will not get to go to the theater for her birthday. Then, one day, her father comes home from his job as a grocer and becomes ill; soon, Lydia's mother and baby sister become ill also. The next journal entry informs the listener that all three have died. Lydia and her older brother Daniel live with relatives for a while, and then are taken to a Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake, where they are raised as Shaker children. Lydia describes Shaker life and how it changes her and Daniel, despite his initial resistance to the community. Barnett has a slow and measured pace and a lovely childlike voice that is perfect for Lydia. No matter the emotion—excited and silly or worried and soft—she captures the tone well. Shaker music often accompanies the story, especially during breaks, and there is also much singing from the characters. Following the story is an author interview, information about Shaker history and more Shaker music. This recording thoughtfully tells the story of the Shaker community and the good work they did for orphaned children. School and public libraries interested in historical fiction that looks beyond war should purchase this recording. Part of the "Dear America" series. Reviewer: Tiffany Torbeck
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Lydia Amelia Pierce, 11, and her older brother, Daniel, are sent to live in the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake, ME, after her parents die in the 1918 influenza epidemic. Lydia must become accustomed to living, working, and learning with the Shakers and the other orphaned or abandoned children cared for at the settlement. However, Daniel toys with the idea of running away, and does indeed leave for a time. Although Lydia worries about him, her time with the Shakers is marked by a sense of acceptance and appreciation for what she has. Effective use of detail and language immerses readers in Lydia's world, especially her life with the Shakers, making for a standout historical fiction read. The book covers just six months of the children's lives. Lydia grows and changes, but her development is slow and subtle as she learns to let go of her sorrow and appreciate the simple joys in life. Pages of historical notes and photographs at the end of the book provide thorough coverage of the epidemic as well as the Shakers and Sabbathday Lake. These notes are especially helpful in clarifying which parts of the story are real and which are fiction. Readers with a high interest in historical fiction or classes studying early 20th century America, and, of course, "Dear America" fans will appreciate this novel.—Heather Talty, Lower School Library, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545144698
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/2011
  • Series: Dear America Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 231,029
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 830L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry is the author of many acclaimed books for children. She is a two-time Newbery Award winner -- for NUMBER THE STARS, a book that is required reading in many classrooms, and THE GIVER, which remains one of the most talked-about and debated books in children's publishing history. THE GIVER is soon to be a major motion picture with Walden Media. She is also the author of GOSSAMER, CROW CALL, and THE WILLOUGHBYS, among many, many others. She lives in Massachusetts with her family.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 46 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    Dull with spoilers

    I love the dear america series. When i saw this was about the spanish flu, i thought this would be great. Within the first few pages practically her whole family is dead with frustratingingly little detail and she's off to live with shakers. There isn't even any culture shock related conflict. She loves the shakers. The whole thing was yay shakers. I couldn't finish the book because it was so dull. There was no discernable plot. I was highly disapointed.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 5, 2011

    Amazing

    So good got me reading the whole seiries.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    It was okay

    I liked it but I just wish there was more to the book.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo

    No one knows the actual statistics on deaths due to the Spanish influenza in 1918, but estimates range from 50-100 million worldwide. When the sickness hit Portland, Maine, Lydia Pierce lost her mother, her father, and her baby sister. Uncle Henry came to collect Lydia and her brother, Daniel. They went to live in a house crowded with their many cousins. Uncle Henry and his wife just couldn't handle two more children, so Lydia and Daniel were packed up and taken to the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake. Life there was very different from their life in Portland. The Shakers are a religious community that believes in hard work, clean living, and the separation of men and women. There are no marriages and no romantic involvement in a Shaker community. Everyone shares all material goods and everyone works to support the community. It may sound harsh and impersonal, but that is not the case. Love and respect are present in abundance. Lydia desperately missed her parents and her baby sister, but life with the Shakers kept her busy. She and Daniel attended school and each were given jobs around the complex. Lydia helped in the kitchens, the laundry, and with basket making, although she never seemed to be given the chore she wanted most - helping with the candy making. Daniel lived and worked with the men. When he wasn't in the classroom, he helped with the animals and other chores on the farm. LIKE THE WILLOW TREE is part of the DEAR AMERICA series focusing on historical fiction. Lydia's story greatly enhanced my understanding of the Shaker way of life. Since the community never produced children, young people like Lydia and her brother were welcomed with open arms. Lydia tells of the diminishing numbers in her Shaker family, and how unless adults learned of this wholesome way of life, the communities would eventually cease to exist. Author Lois Lowry captures Lydia's experience beautifully. Although her diary simply recounts humble daily activities, I found it a fascinating read.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2012

    Awesome Book!

    I really like this book. Set in the time during the Spanish Influenza, Lydia and her brother are sent to the Shakers after their parents and little sister die. Struggling extremely with settling into life with the Shakers, this "diary" records Lydia's everyday thoughts as she tries to change to fit in with these interesting people. I highly reccomend this book! Great story!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2011

    Awesome My new favorite novel!!!!

    Wonderful story I coud not put the book down now I gotta read the series!!! :)

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    Hate the Sample

    I just got the samle and it wont downlode!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2014

    Cutepaw

    This was a sad one too. I had a hard time reading it. Great book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2014

    Uh

    I was sooooo upset that lydia wasnt a real person. I cried and i said: curse this author." Plus i made a mental note to find out the authors name so i could say: curse the authors name"

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2014

    Kinda Disses Catholics, Strange

    This was a good book, I found it very interesting. But while I'm not going to bi<_>tch and whine, this kind of disrespected the Catholic religion. "Catholic is a strange religion." said the main character, and they laughed.
    <p>
    But otherwise its pretty good. The Shakers are weird, though, and led me to kind of wonder what the heck they were.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Fawnheart

    "My clan, my family, my home where are you?"

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

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    Dgxhrgdgxnxgxgxgdgdjedg.dusreusgdgcbgggggggvcflfjgjfhgjggggghfofydyrlfbcbcfyfhfff














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    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    Shiningstare

    Waits her turn

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    Orchidfrost

    She pads to 'white willow' result one.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    Lightpaw

    Thank you. He pads away.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    Nitehawk

    Hmmm

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    Star

    Nope. But when i was 11 i wrote a story about the white willow. No it wasnt published but that just proes tht i created it first!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2013

    Annonamus

    I love the dear america series

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    Yo

    Not this one though remeber Cleopatra rockedthis one dull

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2013

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!

    I love this book. I hope you will read this. If you don't want a spoil,stop reading this. Her mother,father and sister die. I feel sorry for having to go to a foster home. I wish I could be her sister.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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