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Mothers give birth in the borning room. The dying take their departure there.
Ouside the Lott family's Ohio farmhouse, the Civil War rages, slavery falls, and the world marvels at the wonder of electricity. Inside, within the walls of the borning room, Georgina Lott will experience her life's greatest turnings. Across the years, she discovers womanhood and first love, experiences the ...
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Mothers give birth in the borning room. The dying take their departure there.
Ouside the Lott family's Ohio farmhouse, the Civil War rages, slavery falls, and the world marvels at the wonder of electricity. Inside, within the walls of the borning room, Georgina Lott will experience her life's greatest turnings. Across the years, she discovers womanhood and first love, experiences the mourning that comes with loss, and, as did her mother and grandmother, at last takes her place in the room as another precious life is about to begin.The borning room is a room that figures large in the life of an Ohio farm girl born in 1851. Through its doorway pass the members of a free thinking family, bearing news of the world beyond the window: talk of runaway slaves, the siege of Vicksburg, seances, chloroform, electricity. In this heartfelt and haunting work, an account of one life, one family, and one room widens into a panoramic view of the human seasons and the procession of generations. "From an innovative, highly talented novelist and poet . . . memorable characters and valuable glimpses of social history in a beautifully crafted novel. Deeply rewarding." —K.
Notable Children's Books of 1992 (ALA)
1992 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)
1992 Fanfare Honor List (The Horn Book)
Best Books of 1991 (SLJ)
1991 Books for Youth Editors' Choices (BL)
1992 Teacher's Choices (IRA)
Notable 1991 Children's Trade Books in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)
1991 Notable Trade Books in the Language Arts (NCTE)
1991 Golden Kite Award Honor Book for Fiction (SCBW)
1991 Choices: TheYear's Best Books (Publishers Weekly)
100 Books for Reading and Sharing 1991 (NY Public Library)
Bulletin Blue Ribbon Books 1991 (C)
Children's Books of 1991 (Library of Congress)
1992 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)
Lying at the end of her life in the room where she was born in 1851, Georgina remembers what it was like to grow up on the Ohio frontier.
Four small walls, sheathed with pine, painted white. A window. A door onto the kitchen, for warmth. Two chairs. A bed, nearly filling up the room, like a bird held in cupped hands. Standing by the bed, squire beside his knight, a table bearing a Bible and a lamp. I'm certain you've stood in many such rooms.
Look out the window. That's a sugar maple. Grandfather greatly cherished that tree. Now tilt your head back and look up at the beams. You can still make out the track of his plane. He'd put it, and everything else that would fit, and his wife and baby into a wagon and set out from New Hampshire in the year 1820. He'd heard there was plenty of land in Ohio and that corn and wheat would leap out of the soil if a man merely tickled it with his hoe. When he got here, he was glad he'd brought his ax as well. Ohio was a forest. He steered his oxen along the Stillwater, halted them here, and commenced cutting trees as if he were the avenging arm of the Lord. But when he came to that maple, it so put him in mind of New Hampshire, of his mother and father and sisters, all left behind, that he let it stand and decided to build his house beside it, for summer shade. He called it his memory tree.
He hauled his straightest oaks seven miles to a mill on Pig Creek and came home with planks. Being a New Englander, he raised up a New England house, with a stone-lined cellar and a long north roof, a smoke room for meats, a loom room for weaving. And behind the kitchen, as in his New Hampshire home, a borning room, set aside for both dying and giving birth--the room my father was born in before the window glass had yet arrived.
It's not a room that's seenmuch use. But the times it has stand up in my memory more than the months and years in between. Most of my life's turnings have taken place here.
It was on a snowy morning in January that Mama whispered to Father to ride for Mrs. Radtke, the midwife. Mama's last baby had been stillborn and the one before had died at two months. Following her mother's advice, which arrived in weekly letters from Baltimore, she'd all but concealed her condition this time. She'd scarcely spoken about the coming baby. She'd sewn not one piece of clothing for it. The afternoon before, when Father had brought the cradle down from the garret, she'd silently motioned him to return it. Outside, snow streamed out of the sky. Ignoring her pains, Mama cooked breakfast for the family, then began mixing dough. It was Saturday, her baking day. While the bread loaves rose, she churned butter with one hand and sorted seeds for spring planting with the other, giving the fates no sign that she was engaged in anything other than her chores. It was hours before Mrs. Radtke arrived. She found Mama lying in the borning room, the churn drawn up beside the bed and her right hand weakly working the handle.
Her waters finally broke about noon. That very instant she heard an owl call and then another answer back. She told the midwife how strange it was to hear owls hooting at midday. Mrs. Radtke replied that they were in truth the spirits of Mama's last two babies. Her pains came on in earnest then. Mama didn't dare moan or cry out, but just gripped the handle of the churn. Then a bird, small and black, struck the window with a bang. Mama jerked. There was a flash of huge wings. Maybe it was that shock that caused her the following moment to release her baby into Mrs. Radtke's hands.
"Ein Mädchen," she told Mama. "A fine girl." Above the baby's crying, she explained that a bird who gets into the house brings a death, that as soon as she'd come she'd had Father check for any open or broken windows, and that the bird hadn't even cracked the glass.
"Where is it?" asked Mama.
"Die Eulen," she answered. "The owls. One of them snatched it right up. They're watching over you both, it's sure. Ja, ja. This child, she'll live."
It was said that I had Mama's mother's high forehead and delicate fingers. Mama picked out all of our names. As if to enroll me at once among the living, within a quarter hour of my birth Father opened the family Bible, dipped a pen in ink, and wrote out "Georgina Caroline Lott, born the 11th day of January, 1851."
Two dozen times, two thousand times, Mama told this story--for the reason that I asked for it that often. "Yes, my dove, I recollect the day quite well," she'd always begin. "Snowflakes filled the sky thick as locusts." And slowly she'd repeat it once more, while our paring knives peeled or the spinning wheel whirred. She never lost patience with my requests, I suppose because she never lost gratitude that Mrs. Radtke had been right. I had lived.The Borning Room. Copyright © by Paul Fleischman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Posted May 9, 2007
The Borning Room is a novel about life and death, but more importantly, it¿s about how love and family go hand in hand. No one ever imagined that one room could hold so much history, and Georgina Lott remembers a lot that went on in the borning room. She was born there and her grandfather died in that room. With the help of a runaway slave, her brother was born in that same room. Then, after giving birth to another child, Georgina¿s mother died in the room. Now, as an old woman, Georgina is lying in the room, waiting for her turn to die, and remembering all of the events of birth and death that took place in that room. This is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read. It¿s really incredible how families tend to stick together in times of need. I really enjoyed reading this book, because it¿s one of those books that will scoop you up from the very beginning and you can¿t stop until you¿ve completely read it. This book does have some sad parts, that could possibly bring tears, but it¿s still a very great book.
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Posted May 28, 2010
This novella follows a family through four generations of life and death in the borning room. It is a very teachable book that shows the circle of life and that beauty is present everywhere in all things.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 4, 2007
This is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read. It's real incredible how families tend to stick together in times of need. I really enjoyed reading this book, because its one of those books that will scoop you up from the very beginning and you can't stop until you've read it completely. This book does have some sad parts that could possibly bring tears, but it still remains a good book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 12, 2006
I read this book in I think 4th or 5th Grade. I thought it was going to be boring and dull but it wasn't! I just thought of it now and wanted to write a review for this book of my past. I reconmmend it as a read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 27, 2004
I thought that the part when Mama gave birth to Zeb and Cement was very sad because things went wrong. Also when grandpa died that was so discriptive and really sad. I thought that it was so neat that Mama, grandma, grandpa and Emaline were all a part of the boring room. However, after that Mama died and I could really tell that Emaline loved her so much. Then when Mama's baby died that was so depressing. I loved the part at the end of the book. It was the best part of the book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 3, 2003
I love this book. I read this book 2 times in a row. I am now reading it agian. This is a Libary book and I kept returning the book and kept checking it back out. Now I have 4 copys of it because i told everyone about it and talked about it over and over and most of them bought me the book. I recommend this book to everyone that Loves to read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 28, 2002
It took me a little over a month to read this book because of all of the requirments that we had to do. And that is because I am reading this book as an individual reading book of my choice for school. This was a very interesting and memorable book. I learned A LOT because I to, like Georgina (the main character), live in Ohio and it is really neat how I can hear about what Ohio was like in the 1800s and compare it to how it is now in 2002. I really enjoyed reading this book and hope to pick up another of Paul Fleischman's books and really get into it and like it as much as I did this one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 30, 2001
I remember when I read the Borning Room as a school assignment and yet I enjoyed it so much that I re-read it again! I had to return the book to my teacher,and right after I did that, I bought my own copy. It is a book that should be loved and cherished forever!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 16, 2001
I read this book in about an hour and a half thats how easy this book was. At first I thought it would be boring but really its good. This book seemed like a long novel but really it was only 101 pages but it exspressed a ton in those 101 pages. I really think you should read it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 1, 2001
Our class had to read historical fiction books this year and we had to make an exciting poster, talk about the book, and do a skit on our book. Our group read this book and we were trying to find an EXCITING thing to do with the skit and the poster. Our group all agrees, there isn't a thing that is interting. I wouldn't recommend this book, to anyone.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 23, 2011
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