Out of the Dust

Out of the Dust

Audio Other(Other - Unabridged, 2 Cassettes)

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Acclaimed author Karen Hesse's Newbery Medal-winning novel-in-verse explores the life of fourteen-year-old Billie Jo growing up in the dust bowls of Oklahoma.

"Dust piles up like snow across the prairie. . . ."

A terrible accident has transformed Billie Jo's life, scarring her inside and out. Her mother is gone. Her father can't talk about it. And the one thing that might make her feel better -- playing the piano -- is impossible with her wounded hands.

To make matters worse, dust storms are devastating the family farm and all the farms nearby. While others flee from the dust bowl, Billie Jo is left to find peace in the bleak landscape of Oklahoma -- and in the surprising landscape of her own heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807280126
Publisher: Listening Library, Inc.
Publication date: 04/28/1998
Edition description: Unabridged, 2 Cassettes
Pages: 9
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 7.43(h) x 1.26(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. 470 reviews.
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
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
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is one of the best. This book is extremely sad but is still a very good book. if theres anyone who hasn't read this book should read it. Billie jo's safe place was the piano. There was a terrible tragedy where she spilled kerosene on her mom and her mom got severly burnt. Her mom bursted into flames so she tried to put it out. she did but, she burnt her hands while doing it.
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.
riofriotex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The audiobook was performed by Marika Mashburn, an Oklahoma native who was then a theater student at SMU in Dallas. She has a convincing accent, and the slight lisp she has/used added the right touch of youth to the performance of Billie Jo. When read aloud, you can¿t really tell the book was written in free verse, it sounds more like journal entries, which is how Hesse framed the narrative poetry.A few other interesting tidbits I uncovered: In her Newbery acceptance speech, Hesse said, ¿I based the accident on a series of articles appearing in the 1934 Boise City News,¿ a daily paper published in the Oklahoma Panhandle during the time that Hesse obtained on microfilm from the Oklahoma Historical Society. That paper provided the view into day-to-day life in the Dust Bowl that Hesse used in her novel.Hesse also said, ¿I began my literary life as a poet.¿ However, she found that raising her children made writing poetry difficult, and it wasn¿t until they were grown that she began Out of the Dust. ¿I never attempted to write this book any other way than in free verse. The frugality of the life, the hypnotically hard work of farming, the grimness of conditions during the dust bowl demanded an economy of words. Daddy and Ma and Billie Jo's rawboned life translated into poetry¿¿This book is more appropriate for an older reader, age 11 /6th grade, and up. The book has a message that is still important today: ¿It was about forgiveness. The whole book. Every relationship. Not only the relationships between people, but the relationship between the people and the land itself.¿
stharp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The empathy provided in this extraordinary example of historical fiction is to be highly acclaimed. This book has some of the most extraordinary writings about the depression from the girls points of view. By writing the book the way the author did, from her diary perspective, it really pulled the reader in and made it a very powerful story.
jlowens4 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book, "Out of the Dust" was a historical fiction book about the dust storms that accured in the 1930's. This book illustrates for the reader the pain and hardship they people used to go through during this time. It also teaches us about loosing a parent. Overall I felt as though this was a good book. I would suggest this to a teacher with an upper elementary grade.
cindyXIII on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book in a bag while I was unpacking my stuff one day and I decided to read it just for the heck of it. Wow, I am so glad I did. It is very touching. I would say it is one of my favorite chidhood books.
adt112 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Out of the Dust" by Karen Hesse is a book about a girl who wants to be a piano player, during the time of the dust bowl and the Great Depression in the 1930's. This book is written in poetry format about Billie Jo, and her farmer family trying to survive after the death of her mother. I would use this book to introduce poetry and for struggling readers and writers. It is a easy read for Young Adolescent.
ryann0423 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a story told by 14 year old Billie Jo during the dust bowl. The book is written in free verse poem and gives it a very personal voice of a sad story. It talks about her mother who died in a fire and her father and how her father cannot accept the idea that he cannot provide for his family. She loves to play the piano but the fire that killed her mother burned her hands so badly she can no longer play the piano. It is about Billie Jo's struggle to get out of the dust bowl even if it means leaving behind everything she loves and heads out west. While the book is very grim it still provides the reader with hope. This book is great for lessons on poetry and history about the dust bowl. It would be great for a read aloud to a allow great discussion on the ideas discussed through out the book.
WhitneeJenkins on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Out of the Dust" is a book written by Karen Hesse. It is a story about a young, inspiring piano player, Billie Jo, and her families' hardships during the dust storms. Life is hard for her and her family, but everything gets worse after the death of her mother. This tale is great for students ages 10 and above. I recommend it to any age group. It is an easy read, as well as a great story.
kloupe1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book and I loved all of the history and emotions behind it. This book sparked a lot of interest from me and had me thinking and researching and putting myself in Billie Jo's position constantly. This book would be great to supplement a textbook in a history class about the dust bowl. The students will really get a sense of the time from reading this book.
Jonathan_Walker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Out of the Dust is a historical fiction novel set during the Dust Bowl. The novel is written in poetry format by Billie Jo, a little girl. Billie Jo faces many hardships throughout her story but perhaps her biggest is the lose of her mother. This novel would be great to use with beginning writers. Also, if a teacher was going to have student's write jounrals. I would recommend this book to beginning readers and struggling writers; however, I, personally, was not a big fan of this book, and I would not make my class have to read this unless it was required.
hmr83 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse is a story of a young girl who comes of age during the dust bowl and Great Depression of the 1930s. Billie Jo, the main character, experiences loss of friends that move out of the dust, her mother and infant brother who die after burn and pregnancy complications, and the love of her father. Out of the Dust is a story of Billie Jo's survival against the odds in her tragically-charged life. I highly recommend this book for any age. The story is written in narrative poetry, telling a story or portraying a feeling or image in every poem. I really like the set of of the story, and Out of the Dust is such an easy read, that students of many reading levels could understand it easily. It might be a good pairing with another perspective of the Depression through a short story. I think this story is written so well that the simplicity is masks the depth of emotion and seriousness that is Billie Jo's story. I think many students can relate to this, in spite of the time lapse. Great book.