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Library Wonk's Book Talk 2: Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt

*Disclamer*

I have been thinking for some time about what I can blog about that would be fairly unique among the many tutors on this site. Seeing that I work at a library and do large amounts of reading, I thought I could put my literary knowledge to good use and post book talks that I have written. My hope is that parents and children who are looking for reading ideas may find this blog entry somewhat useful.

Across Five Aprils
By Irene Hunt
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reading Level: Grades 7-9

“It was the saddest and most cruel April of the five. It had held out an almost unbelievable joy and had then struck out in fury at those whose hands were outstretched. Jethro had learned to accept the whims of fate...One accepted the good or the evil with humility, for life was a mystery, and questions were not for the lowly. But on the last Sunday of that April...rage mingled with grief in his heart.

“Why did it happen? Why-why-did it have to happen?” (Hunt, 204-5)

It was only four years earlier that nine-year-old Jethro Creighton was busy helping his mother plant potatoes on his family’s farm in southern Illinois. The farm and family made up Jethro’s entire world until the spring of 1861, when news of the outbreak of the Civil War reached them. Like the country itself, the Creighton family is torn apart by the unfolding turbulent events. Two brothers and a cousin join the Union army while another brother goes south to join the Confederates. With his father becoming an invalid due to a heart attack, and with most of the men of the family off at war, it is up to young Jethro and his sister to take charge of the farming.

Over the course of the war, Jethro is forced to grow up, not only with his responsibilities on the farm, but by circumstances that teach him a great deal about life, human behavior, sorrow, pain, and the ugliness of war.