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Children's LiteratureNine-year-old Esther is Amish and forced to attend public school by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She is excited but afraid. Her older brother, Dan, left the community. Will she, too, be tempted by colorful clothing, games, and a desire to be like others? Will she be teased or accepted by her classmates? Esther becomes friends with Mary who wears pink dresses and plays Jacks. Esther wonders if it is wrong for her to do these things but also knows that the greatest love of all is friendship. Everyday she prays that Dan will come back, but even if he does, the community may not accept him. Her prayers are answered and Dan explains to Esther in a secret meeting that the old ways are good, but some of the new ways are also good, like machinery that helps with the running of the farm. Amish life is adequately depicted as well as the struggles the young people go through deciding for themselves if this is the life for them. The book moves quickly and the characters are real. 2003, Harcourt, Ages 8 to 12.
— Janet L. Rose