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Counting On Grace (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Counting On Grace (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

4.5 15
by Elizabeth Winthrop

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FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Wanting desperately to help her mother with her job at the mill, twelve-year-old Grace does her best to produce work that will bring in the money her family needs, yet when Grace and her brother write a secret letter


FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Wanting desperately to help her mother with her job at the mill, twelve-year-old Grace does her best to produce work that will bring in the money her family needs, yet when Grace and her brother write a secret letter

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
The feisty heroine of Winthrop's (The Castle in the Attic) novel set in a 1910 Vermont mill town brings child labor issues into sharp focus. Twelve-year-old Grace, who narrates, chafes against her teacher Miss Lesley's rules: "Seems she cares more about sitting still than learning." But when Grace must leave school to doff her mother's looms as an underage worker, she yearns for her former challenges. Winthrop effectively lays out the mill town's subsistence economy. Readers will understand why Grace's mother saved her deceased infant's papers in order to fake Grace's age (the child would have been 14, the age requirement for mill workers). One uplifting subplot follows Grace and classroom rival Arthur who become friends and co-workers in the mill and begin secret lessons with Miss Lesley. But the most compelling thread of the novel chronicles the mounting tension between Grace and her demanding mother, who dominates the other workers ("Only thing bigger and bossier than my mother in the spinning room is the frames"). The scene in which Arthur and Miss Lesley write the Child Labor Bureau may be rather forced, but a visit from Lewis Hine, who photographs the underage mill workers, feeding Grace's sense of connection to the world, seems believable. This enlightening novel explores the perils of mill work for children and adults alike. Readers will cheer when Grace uses her smarts to triumph over the mill store's corrupt bookkeeper, and the implication that she could well find a calling outside this mill town. Ages 8-14. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Grace is a twelve-year-old girl working full-time in a cotton mill in Vermont in the early 1900s. Her French Canadian family immigrated to the U.S. for its opportunities, but with abysmal wages and unethical employers and shopkeepers who prey on the poor, the family has no alternative but to send their children to work. Grace's teacher is furious that "her" children have their futures so limited and reports the mill to the National Child Labor Committee, which results in Lewis Hine arriving to document the plight of the children. This is a compelling story and steeped in important history children should be aware of. The back matter is complete and very interesting reading. 2006, Random House, and Ages 10 to 14.
—Joan Kindig, Ph.D.
Twelve-year-old Grace Forcier narrates this novel about life at a rural Vermont cotton mill in 1910. Bright and independent, Grace is proud of her ability to read and write in English, a rare talent within her poor French-Canadian community. Money overcomes education, however, when Grace is told that she must leave school to begin work at the mill with the other children, some as young as ten. Suspense builds when famed photographer Lewis Hine arrives to take surreptitious photos of the mill for the National Child Labor Committee. This intriguing twist, which is based on true events, offers hope that justice might prevail. The strength of this book lies with its endearing portrait of Grace, who learns by the end of the story that she has a chance to break free from the desperation that has trapped her family in a cycle of illiteracy and poverty. Readers will appreciate the fine attention to historical detail and Winthrop's first-rate prose. An additional feature is a postscript in which Winthrop describes how she found information on a girl who actually worked at the cotton mill portrayed in her novel. The book's only weakness is a lack of resolution for the visit by Lewis Hine. Did the labor committee prosecute the mill owners? Will Grace be forced to return to the mill? A sequel may be necessary to tie up loose ends. Nevertheless this novel is a worthwhile purchase for libraries and schools. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, 144p., and PLB Ages 11 to 15.
—Christina Fairman
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8
Elizabeth Winthrop's novel (Wendy Lamb Books, 2006) is set in 1910 Vermont. At first, 12-year-old Grace and her family are thrilled that she's leaving school to work in the mill. The pennies that she earns will help the family get out of debt. Grace works as a doffer at the mill, but she's left-handed and finds the work difficult. When Lewis Hines, photographer-reformer, comes to the mill, the lives of Grace and her friend Arthur change. They work secretly with the child labor commission to expose the conditions at the mill. Frequent background music and Lili Gamache's frantic narration during dramatic plot turns sometimes makes it difficult to follow the story. Bonus features include an interview with the author detailing her research and writing process. An excellent blend of history and fiction.
—Karen T. BiltonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Inspired by Lewis Hine's haunting photograph of a French Canadian girl in Vermont in 1910, Winthrop's compelling story vividly captures the mill experience. Grace Forcier and her friend Arthur, both 12 and the best readers in the mill school, are forced to suspend their educations to doff bobbins for their mothers' frames in the spinning room. While this is difficult for left-handed Grace, Arthur is desperate to escape the stuffy, sweaty, linty, noisy factory. Miss Lesley, their teacher, helps them write a letter to the National Child Labor Committee about underage kids, as young as eight, working in their mill. Grace understands the dilemma a response will cause. If the children don't work, the families won't have enough money to survive. Lewis Hine is the answer to the letter. He comes and photographs the mill rats, as the kids are called; no one will believe the conditions without pictures. Arthur, however, can wait no longer to carry out his escape plan. In a horrifying scene, he jams his right hand into the gearbox of the frame, painfully mangling it and losing two fingers. Miss Lesley's interference causes her to be fired, and she encourages Grace to be the substitute teacher, leaving readers with a sense that she will escape the mill and have a better life. Much information on early photography and the workings of the textile mills is conveyed, and history and fiction are woven seamlessly together in this beautifully written novel. Readers won't soon forget Grace.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Twelve-year-old Grace is proud to be one of the best readers at school, but she's pulled out to be a doffer at the mill, her parents happy to have the extra money coming in. Then Miss Lesley, her teacher, conspires to contact the National Child Labor Committee about the hiring of underage children in the mills. Lewis Hine, the now-famous photographer for the NCLC, arrives to document conditions and ends up befriending Miss Lesley, Grace and her friend Arthur. Inspired by a Hine photograph of a young Vermont mill girl, Winthrop has woven a fine story to complement Hine's visual document. She vividly portrays mill life and four characters who resist its deadening effects. Readers familiar with Katherine Paterson's Lyddie (1991) will see a kindred spirit in Grace Forcier. Solid research and lively writing make this a fine historical novel, a perfect companion to Russell Freedman's Kids at Work (1994). (about Lewis Hine, the story behind the photograph, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 8-12)

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Turtleback Books
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4.90(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)

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Counting on Grace 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever. I started reading this book in my reading group. We would have to take notes and we would talk about it with a teacher. Like I had said it was very,very good. And i cant believe it was true!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
i read counting on grace as a discussion for my social studies class. I loved the book and it really shows how awful child labor is. Good book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a sweet/sad story of a girk who loves to read and write but is forced to leave school so she can work in a factory to pay for her family's well being. She is left handed and finds it hard to do the work. The only thing she loves is the sundays spent with her bet friend Arthur and her teacher, who hates what the factory is doing to her favorite students. Grace thinks there is no hope...until a man comes to the factory, undercover, and determined to stop these kids from working(its against the law). This story is a wonderful book and an eyeopener to the hardship of child labor. 10 STARS!!!!!!!!!
lynnski0723 More than 1 year ago
I read this piece of historical fiction for my daughter’s book club and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s sad to think that families had to take young children out of school so that they could work to help keep a roof over their head and food on the table. Although not touched on in the book, the truth of the matter is that it still happens today in some areas of the country.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grace is a ten year old girl that was taken away from school to help pay the bills for her family. Her teacher, Ms.Lesley tried to help Grace and her friend, Arthur get out of the mill. Grace gets a photographer, Mr.Hine to get pictures to sendti the goverment. When Mr.Hine leaves all Graces friends are kicked out of the mills property. Then Grace takes Ms.Lesley's place as teacher until the mill owner gets a real teacher.
ArdenC More than 1 year ago
Wonderful way to get the history of the child labor law. I am giving it to my teenage grandson for Christmas. Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very heart-touching book!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was great!!!!!!