From School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Lydia Amelia Pierce, 11, and her older brother, Daniel, are sent to live in the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake, ME, after her parents die in the 1918 influenza epidemic. Lydia must become accustomed to living, working, and learning with the Shakers and the other orphaned or abandoned children cared for at the settlement. However, Daniel toys with the idea of running away, and does indeed leave for a time. Although Lydia worries about him, her time with the Shakers is marked by a sense of acceptance and appreciation for what she has. Effective use of detail and language immerses readers in Lydia's world, especially her life with the Shakers, making for a standout historical fiction read. The book covers just six months of the children's lives. Lydia grows and changes, but her development is slow and subtle as she learns to let go of her sorrow and appreciate the simple joys in life. Pages of historical notes and photographs at the end of the book provide thorough coverage of the epidemic as well as the Shakers and Sabbathday Lake. These notes are especially helpful in clarifying which parts of the story are real and which are fiction. Readers with a high interest in historical fiction or classes studying early 20th century America, and, of course, "Dear America" fans will appreciate this novel.-Heather Talty, Lower School Library, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the renewed Dear America series of historical-fiction diaries, this one belongs to 11-year-old Lydia Pierce. Lydia’s world turns upside down in 1918, when influenza kills her parents and baby sister. With no one left to care for her and her brother, they are taken to live with the Shakers in Maines Sabbathday Lake community. Since she has already lost so much, Lydia finds it hard to give up her favorite book and her grandmother’s ring as communal property, but little by little, she adapts to her new home. Lowry writes with simplicity and sensitivity, bringing Lydia’s world to life through concrete details and making the child’s resilience entirely believable. Unlike books in the original series, this one has the author’s name on the cover, though like the earlier ones, it extends the fiction in an epilogue summarizing Lydia’s later life. The back matter also includes historical notes on the influenza of 1918 and the Shakers, a section of related photos, and a note on the author, including comments on her research. A fine addition. Grades 4-7. --Carolyn Phelan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.