Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself -- because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream: a woman with a future.
Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz relates Joan's journey from the muck of the chicken coop to the comforts of a society household in Baltimore (Electricity! Carpet sweepers! Sending out the laundry!), taking readers on an exploration of feminism and housework; religion and literature; love and loyalty; cats, hats, and bunions.
"[Joan] loves to read and longs for more education, but is trapped by her circumstances. Her boorish father pushes Joan too far the day he burns her best friends — her books. Soon afterward, she escapes and makes her way to Baltimore. She is taken in by a wealthy Jewish family as a hired girl. They are like no family she has ever met; their affection, religion, and education bind them into a warm unit totally foreign to Joan....Joan is a well-defined character who makes impetuous, sometimes humorous, mistakes like any teenager. Her diary is written with the emotions and thoughts of a teen, but with the literary structure of one trying to affect an older and more educated sensibility. Readers are treated to a domestic education as Joan describes the incredible amount of work required to keep house in the early 20th century." — Lisa Crandall, School Library Journal
|12 and up
|Laura Amy Schlitz
|Sep 8, 2015
|Scott O'Dell Award