55 pages 1 hour read

Irene Hunt

Across Five Aprils

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1964

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Authorial Context: Irene Hunt

Irene Hunt was born on May 18, 1907, in Southern Illinois, the same region where Across Five Aprils takes place. When Hunt was very young, her parents moved to the town of Newton, a setting that plays an important role in the novel’s plot, serving as a bustling urban location to contrast with the rural isolation of the Creightons’ farm. Hunt’s father died when she was only seven years old, and her family moved again to live on her grandparents’ farm in Southern Illinois. Hunt was very close to her grandfather, who, like Jethro Creighton, was only nine years old at the outbreak of the American Civil War and loved to tell his family stories about his childhood.

The events of Across Five Aprils draw heavily from Hunt’s grandfather’s experiences as a young man. As Hunt says in her Author’s Note:

[T]here is hardly a page in this book on which a situation has not been suggested by family letters and records and by the stories told by my grandfather […] He was a good storyteller, and he gave his listeners a wealth of detail that enabled us to share with him the anxiety and sorrow of the times as well as the moments of happiness in a closely knit family (189).