Out of the Dust

Out of the Dust

by Karen Hesse


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780590371254
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 01/28/1999
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 18,630
Product dimensions: 7.62(w) x 5.24(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 11 - 14 Years

About the Author

Karen Hesse is the author of some fifteen books for children, and was recently awarded a prestigious MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" for her contribution to the literature of children and young adults. Her many novels have garnered considerable success, including the Sydney Taylor Award, the IRA/YA Award, 5 Notable Books for Children, 4 Best Books for Young Adults, and the Newbery Medal in 1998. Hesse has spent many years promotion her books to the school market, and is well-known in classrooms throughout the country. She and her husband, Randy, live in Brattleboro, Vermont.

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Out of the Dust 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 392 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Out of the Dust This is a very touching story written in all poetry. It features a lot of metaphors, like comparing her piano to her mother. I think this book is appropriate for ages 10-13 because you can relate to the characters better at that age. My favorite poem is "On Stage" on page 13 because I play piano and I know how it feels to be on stage. Some parts were boring, but overall I thought it was a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Out of the Dust is about a young girl named Billie Jo. She lives on the dry flat lands of Oklahoma with her mother and father. Her mother dies giving birth to what would have been her first sibling. Unfortunatly her new born baby brother dies also. What is wost is that the only thing to calm her done is to play the piano which she can't do because her hands are burnt. Her father does not talk to her any more and she can't get over her mother dieing. so she leaves her dad in the middle of the night to catch a trian. But after a few days she calls he dad and tells him were she is and that she is coming home on the next train. After that they were like a family again and there wheat started growing. Billie Jo ends up going to the doctor and her gives her medicine so she can use her hands again.

I would give this book 5 stars. I like it because you can really tell what the charectors are saying doing and feeling. It isn't a fairy tale or somthing like that it tells what happens in real life today. I feel like I am in the blazzing sun of running away with Billie Jo. I loved this book but make sure you have4 a box of tissues by your side.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this is a great book and it should be read by Middle School Students because it tells the story of an often forgotten part of United States history from the perspective of a child. I liked the way it was written also, almost like there was dust everywhere during the writing because the author writes as if she doesn't have a lot of time ot elaborate on details due to the situation around her yet she still conveys the message. Good, easy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What I am going to talk about is how the book out of the dust. I am going to tell how Billie Jo life changes after her mom passes away after giving birth to her baby brother who dies after being born. I am also going to tell you how Billie Jo and her father try to overcome the great depression and the dust bowl. Then tell you how her life was when her mother got pregnant. I am also going to tell you the theme of this book.

In the story Billie Jo is a hard working girl like her mother. They work all day to keep the dust out of their home. Her mother is pregnant so that makes her work harder to do the stuff she can¿t. When her father finds out he prays for a boy to help him with the wheat. Billie is excited to get a new brother or sister. She covered the house with plastic to keep the dust off the beds and the living room furniture. During the night and covered the beds during the day. While her mom was pregnant Billie¿s father brought gas into the house for the stove while he was eating breakfast the gas spilled and burned Billie¿s hands bad and burned her mother too. The next week her mom went into the labor then the doctor sent Billie out of the room to get some water, then when she returned her mother and her brother where dead. Later that day her father buried her mom and her brother. They named him Franklin like her mom wanted. After that day her mom passed away Billie and her father barely made eye contact. He was busy with the wheat and she was busy with the house, and Billie Made breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was miserable with the dust Billie had to do cover the house to protect it from the dust.

The theme of this book is ¿always expect the unexpected.¿ I chose this as the theme because Billie and her father thought they were going to be a happy family of a new baby but they weren¿t. Then the wheat started to grow when everyone thought it would stay dead and not grow anymore. When Billie thought her mother was haunted her when it was all in her head. Then Billie thought that maddog didn¿t like her and that he hated her.
My conclusion is that I loved the book because it was heartwarming, sad, and so cool. I loved it because it talks about the past and I love reading books about the past. I loved the way Billie played the piano she was really good; I liked her better than her mama. I thought it was sad when her mother and her brother died. This book gets two thumbs up.
Paul Cantu More than 1 year ago
I gave Out of the Dust a 0/16 because it was BORING! It ran on too long. There was to many details to keep up with. For example the middle was had so many details and no action. The ending was horrible! It was long and boring. In my opinion The book was terrible. DONT READ THIS BOOK!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gave this book a 3/5 because the plot is sometimes slow. However, I really liked the characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Out of the dust is a book about a young child in Oklahoma during the dust bowl. The child is not happy with her life and she just wants to get out of the dust (hints the name). I would give this book a 4/5 rating of family freindlyness because some smaller children may not exactly understand the plot... I would personaly recomend this to 5th-10th grades. Thank you for your time!;) (See my post on 'the boy in the striped pajamas)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recommended reading the book Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse because how Hesse portrays the life story of Billy Joe, the main character, is very intriguing and always keeps your attention. It¿s a good story of a family and their struggles during the dust bowl and also during the great depression. Karen explains very clearly the emotions of Billy; and the strength, love, and bravery this girl has as she is going through this life changing experience. I love how Hesse always is writing/ talking about in the book of how much hope Billy has for her family and her piano playing, even with her wounded hands. This book really touched me when, her mother died and everyone in town blamed Billy for it, even her father. Though she had to deal not only with the pain of losing her mother but also guilt, that shouldn¿t of been put on her, Billy continued longing for peace until she got it; not only with the town, but also the relationship with her father. I recommend this book for anyone that likes to read historical fiction. Other good books I suggest by Hesse are Witness also a historical fiction. Another that I suggest that has the same theme and is also historical fiction is Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry, and also A Death in the Family, by James Agee. I could read every one of these books over and over again, no bad commentary. By far this book touched me more than any other book has. You should definitely check this book out! I hope it will touch you as much as it did me.
ashley49 More than 1 year ago
This book is one of my all time favorite books. I had to read this book for a project in my childrens literature class and I am so glad that I did. Billie Jo goes through some really hard times for someone at such a young age. After tragedy sticks Billie Jo,s house, she is vulnerable and her fther is not there for her to fall back on. After Billie Jo comes back home, her father and her start to regain that appreciation for each other again. This book shows the love that 2 people can regain for each other after a hardship. This book would be great in a middle school. It shows students what its like to live in the 1930s during the depression and the dust bowl. I think it would make students travel back into a life they have never had. Also, for students that live in proverty, they can sympathize with Billie Jo and travel through her story and relate it to their own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a great book for my Middle schooler. He enjoyed it and got a lot out of it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
"Out of the Dust" by Karen Hesse is about a 14 year old girl named Billie Jo living in the dust bowl with her father and mother. She loves music and dreams of being a professional piano player. Her mother dies from a fire which also burns Billie Jo's hands. Billie Jo has to carry on with her life in spite of her mother's death and her burnt hands. Billie Joe eventually decides to stay with her family instead of escaping the dust because even though her life was hard, she loved her home. Parts of the book were sad, but they made a good story. Anyone who doesn't mind some sadness should definitely read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a beautifully written prose poem about life in the Oklahoma Dustbowl. It's geared towards older readers (4th grade and up) and is a very compelling read. My 5th grade son was very intrigued and as a parent, I read it with awe. It really moved me.
diana45 More than 1 year ago
This book was so original and so touching. It really makes you think about your life and how there are others who are going through so much more than you are. It makes you appreciate what you have and be grateful for your life. I will pass this book along to my family so they can read it too. Amazing book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about a 14 year old girl named Billy Jo who lives in Oklahoma where dust has no end. When she loses her mother and her unborn baby brother, she has to get through her life with just her father and her mothers piano.Billy Jo and her family live in Oklahoma where dust is a word that has no end. A tragic thing happens when her mother and her unborn baby brother get burned to death. Billy Jo tries to put out the fire but she ends up losing her hands and the one thing that she loves dearest, playing the piano. She struggles through life with nothing but her father, who doesn't have much to say since the death of his wife, and the fact that nothing is going right because nothing will grow in their farm, the animals are dying, and they have no money. Then her father falls in live with a young lady, named Louise, who is a very intelligent person. She changes the life of Billy Jo and her father by helping them find their true place in this world, Billy Jo at the piano and her father in Louise's heart.Billy Jo finds that she can still play the piano as long as she practices a lot and makes sure she works her hands. Her father falls in love with Louise and they end up living together.I thought that this book was one of the best and most heart felt stories I have ever read. It contained a lot of detail and it made you feel like you were in the story. I advise anyone who has the chance to read this book. You will never be able to put it down.
MerryMary on LibraryThing 29 days ago
A spare and searing account of Billie Jo's life in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl of the 30's. Told in a series of short poems. A horrible accident has cost her the life of her mother and the music from her hands. She must find a way to live again, and find her joy.
cmckee on LibraryThing 29 days ago
A powerful story of a rural family struggling financially and then personally, Out of the Dust vividly depicts the extreme, unrelenting conditions of the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma and residents' efforts to survive or escape it. Billie Jo Kelby's family must also deal with a gruesome tragedy in the midst of their agricultural struggles. Billie Jo feels lost and isolated with her own scarred hands and an uncommunicative father, with whom she cannot share her feelings. Billie Jo's joy of playing the piano seems also forever lost to her, and her mind turns to running away to California to escape all of her troubles. "Dust piles up like snow across the prairie" as Billie Jo's difficulties also pile up and threaten to drag her family under. The strength of the story is its poetic blank verse and believeable, personal struggle as well as the horrific descriptions of the Dust Bowl. The Newberry Medal winner evidences no weaknesses and could be used in both middle school and high school to teach about the Dust Bowl, the depression, and ways to overcome personal tragedy.
RR16 on LibraryThing 29 days ago
this book is about a girl who lives in the middle of no where and the dust storms are very bad she trys and trys to help her faimly on top of her blisterd hands but she loves playing piano and to get out of the dust
bibliophile26 on LibraryThing 29 days ago
I adored this book. The only poetry I have ever been able to tolerate is the type that told a story. The figurative language was beautiful and the story was captivating. I found myself rereading certain poems several times.
LAteacher on LibraryThing 29 days ago
A terrible accdient has transformed Billie Jo's life forever, scaring her inside and out. Her mother is gone. her father can't talk about it. The one thing that might make her feel better, playing the piano is impossible, not with her wounded hands. And to make matters worse, dust storms re devastating the family farm and all the fams nearby. While others flee from the storm, Billie Jo is left to find peace in the landscape of Oklahoma and in the landscape of her own heart.
LibrarysCat on LibraryThing 29 days ago
Hesse leads the reader through multiple challenges faced by Oklahoma farmers during the Depression. Her descriptive verse is excellent and the reader can almost feel the dust choking out life and dreams. Excellent book complemented by the cover picture by Walker Evans.
Omrythea on LibraryThing 29 days ago
Fourteen year old Billie Jo writes in verse to tell the tale of her farming family¿s experiences during the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma in the 1930s. She chronicles events as things become more and more desperate for her family and hopes blow away with each dust storm. Billie Jo must have faith and persevere as she searches for a way out of the dust. This book leaves a dry taste in your mouth... It is okay, but I don't think it is amazing...
avcr on LibraryThing 29 days ago
Poems beginning in 1920 recount the painful journey Billie Jo must make in learning to recognize who and what she loves. She must confront her anger against the injustice of a rotten childhood and learn (force) herself, for her own peace of mind, to forgive. This cathartic collection of poetry is a great start.If You Liked This, Try: The Giver by Lois Lowry, A Guide for Using Out of the Dust in the Classroom by Sarah Clark, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis, A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park.Awards: Newbery Medal, 1998.
julieh8 on LibraryThing 29 days ago
This is a heart breaking, and heart puonding book to read. It is about a girl who accidently kills her mother by pour hot keroscene on her. It broke my heart. If you are having a bad day, I would reccomend not reading this.
relientkatie on LibraryThing 29 days ago
Fourteen-year-old Billie Jo Kelby lives with her parents on a farm ravaged by the Dust Bowl. When her mother dies in an accident caused in part by Billie and her father, she struggles to live a normal life and, more importantly, to forgive. This story is set against a bleak backdrop and focuses on the aftermath of a horrific accident, but Hesse manages to keep it from getting bogged down in hopelessness and arrives at an ending that is satisfying without being unrealistically happy. It is written as a series of short poems; I know that not everyone likes that format, but I thought it worked very well in this book. It was beautifully written without being flowery. I'd recommend this book to kids ages 11-14. Kids who like it should check out "Witness" by Karen Hesse, which is also written in free verse.
michcall on LibraryThing 29 days ago
This is one of the most powerful and emotional books I have ever read. I felt her pain while she tried to play the piano. I empathized with her guilt at the death of her mother. I almost tasted the dust that she was eating.