Hesse, Karen. Out of the Dust. Scholastic Press: New York, 1997. ISBN 0590360809
Out of the Dust is about a fourteen year old girl named Billie Joe Kelby living through the Oklahoma dust bowl.
This was a fantastic book. I remember picking it up several times as a child, but never actually reading it. I wish I would have. I loved reading about what the dust bowl was like. Historical fiction is one of my favorites. Add in poetry, and I’m ecstatic! The story is told in free verse, as most prose poetry is. The imagery is excellent, such as, “Dust piles up like snow across the prairie.” There’s also a lot of good similes and metaphors such as “it whirred like a thousand engines.” Fast pace and engaging, this book is a great one for anyone interested in historical fiction.
I’m awake now,
still shaking from my dream:
I was coming home
through a howling dust storm,
my lowered face was scrubbed raw by dirt and wind.
Grit scratched my eyes,
it crunched between my teeth.
Sand chafed inside my clothes,
against my skin.
Dust crept inside my ears, up my nose,
down my throat.
I shuddered, nasty with dust.”
This excerpt is found on page 63. I like this because it describes so vividly what it was like during the dust bowl.