Ever since leaving Oklahoma, 12-year-old Hallie Turner longs for a place to call home. But it’s 1933, and the Great Depression and drought-induced dust storms have converged to create a crisis for many Americans. Now that Hallie’s mother has died and her father has abandoned the family, there’s no reason for Hallie and her brothers—16-year-old Tom and 6-year-old Benny—to remain in their childhood home.
As the threesome travel from town to town in a dilapidated car, they confront hostility from people who consider them trash and squatters, a threat to local jobs and community resources. Still, the children encounter kindness. In Kansas, when their car breaks down by the Carlson farm, the children receive help and discover a welcome surprise. The Carlsons have a child with special needs like Benny has, forging an instant bond between the families.
But when a local teen causes havoc in the children’s lives, Hallie wonders if they will always be considered squatters, or if one day, “they’d ever have a home like the one in Oklahoma again, a home where women sat and sewed, where neighbors dropped in and helped each other out.” Surprisingly, a potential tragedy leads to the fulfillment of Hallie’s wish.
In this novel for juvenile readers, author Sandra Dallas paints a detailed, touching portrait of life in a challenging era where many children faced harsh economic and social realities, yet overcame obstacles by banding together and experiencing the generosity and hospitality of strangers. (Sleeping Bear Press)
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