Ages 7 to 10
Peachtree Publishers, 2005, 1-56145-349-8
It was surprisingly warm that day. In fact it almost felt like spring was on its way which was very odd for the prairies of Nebraska in January. Anna was trying to find ways of getting out of having to go to school. She much preferred working on the farm and she was even willing to help her mother pick the lice out of the mattresses rather than having to go to school. Anna's mother stood firm though and Anna reluctantly made her way to the school house.
Anna was not the best of scholars and she felt self conscious about the fact that she could not read well and could not understand math. For her, taking care of sheep was a lot more worthwhile and enjoyable than sitting on a bench being teased by the other children.
Then a ferocious blizzard blew in across the prairie and Anna discovers that though she made be a slow reader, she has other gifts that she can be proud of. As the temperature drops and as the blizzard hammers the little wooden school house, Anna and her school mates have to come up with ways to stay warm and safe until help can arrive.
Anna, the other children, and their clever young teacher all have lessons to learn as they fight to survive one of the worst blizzards ever to hit the United States. They learn about each other, and they also learn how to work together for the good of all. Skillfully the author has given a face to the infamous 1888 "Schoolchildren's blizzard." Through the heart and mind of Anna we discover what it was like to live on the prairies at this time, and how hard life could be. The author has included an interesting section at the back of the book which describes life on the prairie in the late 1800's. Readers will also find out what really happened on that dreadful day in January when schoolchildren all over the Great Plains found themselves trapped in their school houses.
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