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Out Of The Dust by Karen Hesse

Updated on January 16, 2015

Karen Hesse's Amazing Free Verse Novel - Out of the Dust

This amazing book, by Karen Hesse, is the story of how a girl overcame extremely difficult adversities during the dust bowl. Written in free verse poetry, it is quick read, but for so few words, it can truly paint a mental picture. Out of The Dust was the Newbery Medal winner in 1998.

The story is set in Oklahoma during the Great Depression. The rains have stopped and dust bowl set in, and a little girl struggles to survive and thrive while being presented with obstacle after obstacle.

Out Of The Dust - Purchase Your Copy of Out Of The Dust

Out Of The Dust
Out Of The Dust

When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring.

Written in free verse, this award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma's staggering dust storms, and the environmental--and emotional--turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength.


Your Opinions of Out of the Dust - Write a review, add a comment, or debate someone who disagrees with you.

What did you think?

Love it! Great read.

Love it! Great read.

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    • anonymous 3 years ago

      this book is wonderful even though I didn't read it all, but the parts that I read were well spoken. The words were so well written that I could image every thing that happened in the story. So I hope that the rest of the is as good a the first half.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      This book is well written and love the words and meanings of it all.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      awesome book!!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Sad, but love the book

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Love it, but it is sad

    Sorry, not my cup of tea.

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      • anonymous 4 years ago

        y... y would any one read this god auful book.there is no point and spoiler alert the mom dies i mean wut kind of book does that it was almost the worst book i hav ever read

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        there is a reason that it has no likes on facebook...

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        i just needed this for homework

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        Ugh, the story's ok but why did they put it as a poem.... it dosnt sound like a poem, i just went on this website looking to find and online verion of the the book for homework......... the bok is B-A-D

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        it is good if you like boring books :P

      "Now Livie's gone west,

      out of the dust,

      on her way to California,

      where the wind takes a rest sometimes.

      And I'm wondering what kind of friend I am,

      wanting my feet on that road to another place,

      instead of Livie's."

      --Winter 1934

      Out of the Dust Won the Following Awards

      This is a great book, and as such has won several distinguished awards:

      • Newbery Medal in 1998
      • Scott O'Dell Award
      • ALA Notable Children's Book
      • ALA "Best book" a School Library Journal "best book of the year"
      • Booklist "Editors' Choice" award
      • IBBY Honor List
      • Book Links "Lasting Connection"
      • Publishers Weekly "Best Book of the Year"
      • New York Public Library "100 Titles for Reading and Sharing" Selection

      Out of the Dust - Audio Book

      Teaching Guides

      Out of the Dust is a great book for class use. It lends itself well to discussion, and gives ample opportunity to include some learning of history. It is a great English/Social Studies crossover lesson.

      Books on the Dust Bowl - Discover what drought can do to a community.


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          lilyofthevalley1 6 years ago

          Wow, there is a lot of info on here! You could almost expand this into multiple lenses. But with your popularity, why would you? ;)

          If anyone wants other fabulous young adult book recs, come check out my lens!

        • DelightfulDanie profile image

          DelightfulDanie 6 years ago

          Nice lens! Well done.

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          WorldVisionary 6 years ago

          Your lens is chockfull of resources, and it looks great! Blessed by a Squid Angel

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          Very good design i should admit. keep up with good work

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          anonymous 7 years ago

          An excellent book page.

          Readers of this book might also enjoy my mother's book called My Flint Hills Childhood: Growing Up in 1930s Kansas. You can preview part of the book at

        • kerbev profile image

          kab 8 years ago from Upstate, NY

          [in reply to MarinaKuperman] This is the squidlit template:

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          MarinaKuperman 8 years ago

          i love your lense, how did you customize it so well? gave you a 5 star for the content and design!

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          Linda Jo Martin 8 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

          Hi Kab . . . I have a series of lenses about Newbery Medal winning books. I plan to make this lens the featured book there for September. As for Out Of The Dust - I listened to this one as an audiobook and enjoyed it very much, though it had its sad parts.

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