Pictures, 1918

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Asia McKinna comes of age in a rural Texas town during World War I. She struggles to understand the frailty of her grandmother, the strain of the war, her intensifying feelings for her friend Nick Grissom, and the uneasiness caused by the mysterious fires plaguing her town. Through her growing passion for photography, she hopes eventually to gain perspective on the times—and on her place in the world.

Coming of age in a rural ...

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Asia McKinna comes of age in a rural Texas town during World War I. She struggles to understand the frailty of her grandmother, the strain of the war, her intensifying feelings for her friend Nick Grissom, and the uneasiness caused by the mysterious fires plaguing her town. Through her growing passion for photography, she hopes eventually to gain perspective on the times—and on her place in the world.

Coming of age in a rural Texas community in 1918, fifteen-year-old Asia assists in the local war effort, contemplates romance with a local boy, and expands her horizons through her pursuit of photography.

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Editorial Reviews

To quote KLIATT's Sept. 1998 review of the hardcover edition: Fifteen-year-old Asia lives in the tiny town of Dust Crossing, Texas, in 1918. The novel opens with a bang—a suspicious fire in the chicken house erupts in the night, killing a jackrabbit baby that Asia has been nurturing. Asia wishes she could somehow have captured and kept the image of the rabbit as it was, and when she sees a fancy new Autographic camera in the drugstore, she wants it more than anything she's ever seen. With the help of her loving grandmother, and the support of her boyfriend Nick, Asia buys the camera and becomes an assistant to the town's portrait photographer in order to learn how to take pictures. Meanwhile, Nick's cousin Boy has his eye on Asia too, and she doesn't quite trust him; and her proud grandmother is growing increasingly forgetful, which scares Asia. This is an affecting coming-of-age tale, set against the backdrop of WW I, that depicts small-town and family life warmly and realistically. Asia is an appealing protagonist, and her interest in photography is described in enthusiastic detail (the author is a photographer herself). Her romantic life will interest readers, too, as she and Nick have a falling out and then make up. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1998, Penguin/Puffin, 154p, 18cm, 99-27763, $5.99. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; July 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 4)
Children's Literature - Helen J. Pavick
Asia is determined to discover who set the fire that killed her rabbit, Straw Bit. However, all she has to rely upon is a blurred image in the back of her mind. Even more distressing, though, is that she has no photo by which to remember her beloved pet. Therefore, when she discovers an Autographic camera staring at her from a shop window, Asia knows that she must own the camera. The skills she hones as a photographer are the very ones that lead her to identify Straw Bit's killer and to a future in photography. What an uplifting story of determination and courage.
VOYA - Florence H. Munat
For Asia McKinna, a sixteen-year-old girl living in the small west Texas town of Dust Crossing, the final year of World War I brings many changes. First, an apparent arsonist sets her family's chicken coop ablaze, and Asia's pet rabbit dies in the fire. Her beloved Grandmama is drifting into senility, and Asia fears losing her. Her best friend, Nick Grissom, has become her boyfriend, but their relationship is undermined by Nick's Louisiana cousin, Boy Blackwell, who tricks Asia into kissing him while Nick is watching. Boy is staying with Nick's family while his father recovers from war wounds received in France. Asia finds Boy's avid anti-German sentiments and his angry, brooding behavior disturbing. Asia finds solace in photography. Using her savings and some money borrowed from Grandmama, Asia purchases a Kodak Autographic for fifty-five dollars and arranges to apprentice herself to the local portrait photographer, who is impressed by her talent. Preserving images of the people and places she loves helps Asia cope with her rapidly changing world. In the end, when the arsonist is revealed and other secrets come out, Asia has come to understand that it takes not only her photos but also her memories (mind pictures) to create a full picture of the truth. The story moves briskly, the characters are endearing though a bit clichéd at times (e.g., the grandmother who understands better than the parents, the pesky younger brother), and the scenes involving picture taking and developing hold the readers' interest. The book creates a picture of how the events of a faraway war can trickle down and affect a small rural community. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-A novel set in rural Texas during World War I. The story begins with a suspicious barnyard fire that claims the life of Asia's beloved pet rabbit. In the days that follow, the teen's longtime friend, Nick Grissom, and his cousin Boy, who has just moved in with Nick's family, compete for her attention. Asia senses that there is something dangerous about Boy, and soon realizes that her feelings for Nick run deep. Meanwhile, she sees a Kodak Autographic camera in the drugstore window, earns the money to purchase it, begins to experiment, and eventually becomes an apprentice to the town photographer. Woven into this story line are subplots about other unexplained fires, Asia's grandmother's growing dementia, concerns about the war, and the limitations set on women at the time. The dominant theme of Asia's desire to take pictures is slow moving, and readers may wonder when the camera will play a larger role. However, the characters are believable and unique. The author presents Grandmama in an especially realistic and endearing way, addressing her gradual dementia and its effects on her granddaughter. Boy's anger is explained as his past is revealed. Through the first-person narrative, Asia shares her thoughts and insights. This novel should appeal to those who enjoy historical fiction with a little romance. Although events unfold slowly, Ingold draws readers in and makes them want to know and understand the characters as they grow and change.-Susan Knell, Pittsburgh State University, Pittsburgh, KS
Kirkus Reviews
An innovative novel from Ingold (The Window, 1996, etc.), in some ways reminiscent of Patricia MacLachlan's Journey (1991), where photography serves as the metaphor for a clarifying of many kinds of vision. In 1918 in Dust Crossing, Texas, Asia is a high-school junior. As the story opens someone has set fire to her family's chicken house and Asia has lost a pet jackrabbit in the blaze. The experience starts her thinking about loss and change, and the precarious balance of life. With WWI raging, there's plenty to think about; boys Asia's age, 17, are going off to fight. There are changes at home, too: Asia's grandmother, a strong woman who has always been a bulwark, is having memory problems and lapses of strange behavior. Romance begins to blossom between Asia and Nick, a boy who's always been her best friend; Nick's cousin, Boy Blackwell, who is rabidly anti-German, likes Asia, too, and she finds herself in the middle of an uncomfortable rivalry. At first Asia wants to take pictures to capture and preserve the present. But as she becomes more involved with the photographic process (buying a camera and apprenticing at a local studio), she acquires a different view of the world. Ingold makes vivid the last days of WWI, March to November, relayed in a first-person present tense that gives Asia's growing-up a very contemporary texture. This perceptive novel has believable characters and complex, evolving relationships. The element of mystery about the fire, gratifyingly played out, leads to a satisfying, fully-rounded conclusion. (Fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152018092
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/1/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.77 (w) x 8.47 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

JEANETTE INGOLD , the author of six young adult novels, has been writing since she worked as a reporter on a daily newspaper many years ago. Her novel Hitch was a Christopher Award winner. She lives in Missoula, Montana.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2007

    Get Over Here and Read This!!!

    The author describes what it's like to be living during World War I very subtly. She doesn't give lines of facts and direct statements about the war. Instead, as she explains what's happening in the story, she puts in a little here and there to make it seem as though it wasn't historical fiction. For example, during WWI, there was a lot of hatred towards the Germans, including the ones living in America. Ergo, as one could imagine, there were a lot of problems that the main character, Asia, and her family had to deal with throughout the story. The author incorporates these facts into her story making it seem as though she is simply writing as if it was a fictional book. This book is exactly what younger kids should be looking for because of the simplicity to understand major points of history while enjoying the writing at the same time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2007

    Don't Overlook this Book!!!

    Asia and her family are living in a rather quiet town during World War I. The war causes many problems especially views against Germans living in America. Asia also has an unusual interest in photography and becomes an apprentice of a photographer. This is very unusual for girls to become an apprentice during WWI. The reason I like this book is because of the fact that the author doesn't list fact after historical fact. Instead, she weaves in romance, adventure, history, and everyday life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2005

    I LOVE THIS BOOK !!!!!

    I have read this one book now for years, over, and over, and over agian and every time i do it gets better, and better. If a person enjoys romance and adventure than this is the one book that fits you right. i love romance book and i wish i could find more like this one

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2003

    Its ok

    Help, Asia cried, as she saw her rabbit surrounded by fire. Asia knew that this would be a memory that she would always remember. Asia knew that it would not just be a bad memory. It would be a picture stuck in her head forever. It all happens in Pictures 1918 this book is by Jennet Ingold. I think that this is the closes person to the book. This book is about a young girl by the name of Asia who has the capability of her mind being like a camera. One trenched day some one puts her family barn on fire, with only one memory to remember the tall shadow she is determined to find out who did it. Therefore that is not all the problem. The boy who was her best friend is now becoming closer. Though on the other hand there is Boy Blackwell. Now Asia must choose whom to go with. Meanwhile, her grandma encourages to follow her heart. I like this book because it encourages ton follow your heart and also to never give up in the goals you want to reach or anything you want to improve. This is the way that this book has done for me

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2002

    Asia McKinna's life

    Asia McKinna is a teenage girl living in 1918, World War I. Her life becomes hectic when her friend, Nick Grissom, and his cousin, Boy Blackwell, begin to fight for her attentions. Her pet rabbit, Straw Bit, is killed in an arsonist fire, and all Asia has is an image of a shadowy figure running away. Seeing a camera in a shop window, Asia thinks of how she wishes she had a picture of Straw Bit, and decides to buy the camera. Convincing a photographer to apprentice her, she learns to use her camera to capture her favorite moments. But Asia also worries about her Grandmother's ever-growing dementia. Pictures, 1918 is a wonderful book with real-life events. A great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2002


    This book is filled will suprises! When there are missteres fires Asia and her family are very suspiesious and when Asia falles in Love will Nick there relashonship is torn appart by Boy Nicks Cousin who just wants to be a hero.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2000

    Pictures 1918

    15 year old Asia lives in Texas with her mom, dad, grandmother, brother, and sister (May). Asia makes important choices in the line of love while trying to keep her kid sister safe from a boy named Boy. Asia falls in love with a camera she sees and try to keep in touch with the romance between herself and a family friend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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