A Stone's Throw from Paradise

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Overview

Ever since her real mama died, thirteen-year-old Lizzie Zook has wished she could fly. She’d like to fly away from her stepmother Mae-mama, her brand new baby brother Lucas, and Shady Acres Estates, the West Virginia trailer park where she lives but doesn’t feel at home. When her Granny Zook invites her to spend the summer in Pearly Gates, Pennsylvania, an Amish community where she last saw her mama alive, Lizzie jumps at the chance.

In this true story about love and the ...

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Overview

Ever since her real mama died, thirteen-year-old Lizzie Zook has wished she could fly. She’d like to fly away from her stepmother Mae-mama, her brand new baby brother Lucas, and Shady Acres Estates, the West Virginia trailer park where she lives but doesn’t feel at home. When her Granny Zook invites her to spend the summer in Pearly Gates, Pennsylvania, an Amish community where she last saw her mama alive, Lizzie jumps at the chance.

In this true story about love and the importance of family, Lizzie grows in many ways and is able to reconcile with her past.

Twelve-year-old Lizzie searches for memories of her mother while spending a summer with her great-grandmother among the Amish in Pearly Gates, Pennsylvania.

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Editorial Reviews

The Horn Book Guide
Thirteen-year-old Lizzie jumps at the chance to leave her tacky trailer home for the summer to live with her Amish grandmother. Lizzie's idealistic vision of the plain life is replaced by a respect for the hard work necessary to run a rural household, and she returns home with a new appreciation for her own family. The entertaining, down-to-earth novel is written in fresh, easy-to-read prose.
Children's Literature - Donna Freedman
Although the Amish lifestyle is one of the book's underpinnings, it's used pretty much as a backdrop. Don't expect a lot of explanation of the old ways, or even of the fact that many young people are leaving the Amish for a more "worldly" existence. Still, there's plenty to like about this young adult novel, which features 13-year-old Lizzie Zook, resident of a West Virginia trailer park, yearning for a pastoral Pennsylvania life that she's experienced only through her father's stories of the happy life they had before Lizzie's mama died. That was when Lizzie was an infant, and having grown up on these idyllic flashbacks, she's none too happy when her dad finally gives her a stepmom and a stinky new baby brother. It takes a summer visit to her grandmom's to finally show Lizzie that living in the past is wasteful of the present, and that it's all right to love a memory as well as the folks who are all around you.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9--Lizzie Zook is 13 and lost. Her mother died when she was only nine months old, and she doesn't fit in with her father's new wife and baby or the trailer park in which they live. She dislikes her stepmother and is sickened by her squirmy, smelly baby brother. When her Granny Zook needs help with her vegetable stand, Lizzie jumps at the opportunity to spend the summer in the Amish community where her parents grew up. However, readers will find that her search for her roots is hampered by bits and pieces of Amish life imposed upon an otherwise conventional plot line. The many descriptions of Amish food, particularly the ingredients, serve little purpose, and the girl's stereotypical view of the Amish as a perfect people is predictably shattered by the phone Granny Zook keeps in the barn loft and the occasional presence of Daniel, a boy who plays a radio and smokes cigarettes. Lizzie does discover information about her mother's relatives, but the book ends before any meeting takes place. Readers will be dissatisfied with the trite conclusion in which Lizzie suddenly likes her stepmother and no longer has an aversion to the baby. The prose, though engaging at times, is more often too melodramatic for readers to take this book seriously.--Linda Bindner, Athens Clarke County Library, GA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802851420
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Pages: 143
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.28 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 0.46 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2000

    NOMINATED FOR OHIO BUCKEYE AWARD

    A Stone's Throw From Paradise has been nominated for the Ohio Buckeye Award. It's also used as part of the course at the Institute of Children's Literature. Great book!

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