100 pages 3 hours read

Karen Hesse

Out of the Dust

Fiction | Novel/Book in Verse | Middle Grade | Published in 1997

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Out of the Dust

  • Genre: Fiction; middle-grade historical
  • Originally Published: 1997
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile NP; grades 4-7
  • Structure/Length: 8 parts; approx. 227 pages; approx. 2 hours, 9 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: Billie Jo’s life turns upside down after a terrible accident kills her mother and disfigures her own hands. As her father becomes distant, she runs away from home, where she learns lessons that lead her back to where she belongs.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Death of a parent and sibling; explicit descriptions of burns; disfigurement; use of the term “crippled” to describe an injured person

Karen Hesse, Author

  • Bio: Born in 1952 in Baltimore, Maryland; American author of books for children and young adults; studied math at Towson State College; attended University of Maryland, earning a degree in English and a double minor in psychology and anthropology; lives with her husband in Brattleboro, Vermont
  • Other Works: Letters from Rifka (1992); Phoenix Rising (1994); The Music of Dolphins (1996); Witness (2001); My Thumb (2016)
  • Awards: Newbery Medal (1998); Scott O’Dell Award (1998); ALA Best Books for Young Adults (1998); Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award nominee (1999)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • Finding Hope Amidst Tragedy
  • Resilience of the Human Spirit
  • The Impact of Ignorance on Environment and Society