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Friday, March 9, 2012

Like the Willow Tree - A Dear America Novel

I just finished reading a Dear America: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce novel called Like the Willow Tree by Lois Lowry. The story takes place in Portland, Maine in 1918, during the time of the Great War. Lydia is turning eleven-years-old and to celebrate her family wants to take her to town to see a show. Unfortunately, the Spanish influenza has struck the region and all activities in town including church services have been cancelled. Lydia's father, a clerk in a store, doesn't heed the warnings. He, her mother, and baby sister die from this deadly epidemic and Lydia and her older, quiet brother, Daniel, are sent to their uncle's house. Their aunt insists that they will be unable to handle to more mouths to feed. Their uncle soon brings the two to the Shaker community. The Shakers are a religious community with certain rules and expectations of their members. How will Daniel and Lydia cope with their losses and conforming to a new environment? Like the Willow Tree transported me to another place when life was harder and young people had little means to voice their dreams for the future. Excellent story telling from one of my favorite authors. Other great books by Lois Lowry include The Giver, Gathering Blue, The Messenger, Gossamer, Number the Stars, The Anastasia series, and The Sam Krupnik series.

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