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The Belonging Place
     

The Belonging Place

by Jean Little
 
An inspiring story of self discovery. In Jean Little's first historical novel, Elspet Mary, a young Scottish orphan, embarks on the journey of a lifetime when she emigrates with relatives to Canada in the 1840s. Her struggle to make a place for herself, not only in her adoptive family but in her new home as well, is powerful and poignant, told as only Jean Little can

Overview

An inspiring story of self discovery. In Jean Little's first historical novel, Elspet Mary, a young Scottish orphan, embarks on the journey of a lifetime when she emigrates with relatives to Canada in the 1840s. Her struggle to make a place for herself, not only in her adoptive family but in her new home as well, is powerful and poignant, told as only Jean Little can tell it. Jean Little is the award-winning author of more than twenty books for young readers, including the novels His Banner Over Me, which Kirkus called "exceptional storytelling, unforced, and powerful",and Mine for Keeps (both Viking).

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Karen Moroughan
Elspet Mary is a child whose life is fraught with loss. When her mother dies suddenly, her father sends her to live with her mother's sister. She learns that with some people and in some places, she is welcome, but in other places she is not. Eventually her restabilized life is again upset when her new family decides to move from Scotland to Canada. As she and others from the family prepare for travel, there are some who plan to stay behind, refusing to leave their "belonging place." As Elspet Mary leaves hers, her trip becomes bittersweet. Once in Canada, she must share her new home with strangers. In doing so, she learns that there will always be a place where she belongs. Although the story is a good one, its dialogue is set in thick Scottish brogue, making this a difficult book for younger readers.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6--To ease her boredom while her broken leg mends, 16-year-old Elspet writes her life story, from her early years in Scotland to her family's homestead in Canada in the mid-19th century. After Elspet's mother dies when she is three, her seafaring father places the girl with her uncle's family in the Scottish countryside. When her father is lost at sea, Elspet is adopted by them. Although she feels secure and happy, she strongly resists Da's decision to take the family to Canada and is unable to express her fear of moving. In Canada, the family settles on a remote homestead. The loneliness of the backwoods is relieved when neighbors settle nearby. The ship voyage is depicted as typically miserable with seasickness, filth, stench, and boredom, and the new land is properly majestic and inspiring. There are enough bannocks and bairns to give the flavor of the auld country but no real explanation of the hardships of life in northern Scotland or the reason why so many people were leaving. However, Little excels in creating characters dealing, or not dealing, with their feelings. Surrounded by unfaltering love, Elspet writes of her lingering fears and doubts about her place in the family. With their need for belonging and love, young people will identify with and understand her.--Melissa Hudak, Northern Illinois Medical Center, McHenry, IL

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670875931
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
11/01/1997
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.74(h) x 0.63(d)
Lexile:
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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