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Contributor(s): Paterson, Katherine
ISBN: 0140373896     ISBN-13: 9780140373899
Publisher: Puffin
    OUR PRICE: $6.29  
Product Type: Paperback - Other Formats
Published: December 1994
Annotation: "A remarkable portrait of an untutored but intelligent young woman making her way against fierce odds".--Kirkus Reviews, starred review. "A superb novel".--School Library Journal. American Bookseller Pick of the Lists. Booklist Editor's Choice. ALA Notable Book. ALA Best Book for Young Adults.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Self-reliance; Fiction.
Work; Fiction.
Factories; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: BL 99759280
Lexile Measure: 860
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Series: A Puffin Novel
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.00" H x 5.50" W x 0.50" (0.35 lbs) 182 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 6024
Reading Level: 5.6   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 9.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q07176
Reading Level: 5.0   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 11.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): IV>People are always asking me questions I don't have answers for. One is, "When did you first know that you wanted to become a writer?" The fact is that I never wanted to be a writer, at least not when I was a child, or even a young woman. Today I want very much to be a writer. But when I was ten, I wanted to be either a movie star or a missionary. When I was twenty, I wanted to get married and have lots of children.

Another question I can't answer is, "When did you begin writing?" I can't remember. I know I began reading when I was four or five, because I couldn't stand not being able to. I must have tried writing soon afterward. Fortunately, very few samples of my early writing survived the eighteen moves I made before I was eighteen years old. I say fortunately because the samples that did manage to survive are terrible, with the single exception of a rather nice letter I wrote to my father when I was seven. We were living in Shanghai, and my father was working in our old home territory, which at the time was across various battle lines. I missed him very much, and in telling him so, I managed a piece of writing I am not ashamed of to this day.

A lot has happened to me since I wrote that letter. The following year, we had to refugee a second time because war between Japan and the United States seemed inevitable. During World War II, we lived in Virginia and North Carolina, and when our family's return to China was indefinitely postponed, we moved to various towns in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, before my parents settled in Winchester, Virginia.

By that time, I was ready to begin college. I spent four years at King College in Bristol Tennessee, doing what I loved best -- reading English and American literature -- and avoiding math whenever possible.

My dream of becoming a movie star never came true, but I did a lot of acting all through school, and the first writing for which I got any applause consisted of plays I wrote for my sixth-grade friends to act out.

On the way to becoming a missionary, I spent a year teaching in a rural school in northern Virginia, where almost all my children were like Jesse Aarons. I'll never forget that wonderful class. A teacher I once met at a meeting in Virginia told me that when she read Bridge to Terabithia to her class, one of the girls told her that her mother had been in that Lovettsville sixth grade. I am very happy that those children, now grown up with children of their own, know about the book. I hope they can tell by reading it how much they meant to me.

After Lovettsville, I spent two years in graduate school in Richmond, Virginia, studying Bible and Christian education; then I went to Japan. My childhood dream was, of course, to be a missionary to China and eat Chinese food three times a day. But China was closed to Americans in 1957, and a Japanese friend urged me to go to Japan instead. I remembered the Japanese as the enemy. They were the ones who dropped the bombs and then occupied the towns where I had lived as a child. I was afraid of the Japanese, and so I hated them. But my friend persuaded me to put aside those childish feelings and give myself a chance to view the Japanese in a new way.

If you've read my early books, you must know that I came to love Japan and feel very much at home there. I went to language school, and lived and worked in that country for four years. I had every intention of spending the rest of my life among the Japanese. But when I returned to the States for a year of study in New York, I met a young Presbyterian pastor who changed the direction of my life once again. We were married in 1962.

I suppose my life as a writer really began in 1964. The Presbyterian church asked me to write some curriculum materials for fifth- and sixth-graders. Since the church had given me a scholarship to study and I had married instead of going back to work in Japan, I felt I owed them so

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 1994 December #2)
Fourteen-year-old Lyddie sets out on her own when her family is split apart by debt. PW found this story, set in 1844, ``impeccably researched and expertly crafted.'' Ages 10-14. (Jan.) Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 1991 January #1)
In 1843, three years after her father abandons his failing Vermont farm, 10-year-old Lyddie and her younger brother Charles are hired out as servants, while Mama and the two youngest children go off to live with relatives. After spending a grueling year working in a tavern, Lyddie flees to Lowell, Mass., in hopes of finding a better job that will provide enough income to pay off farm debts and allow the family to be reunited. Life continues to be a struggle after she is employed in a cloth factory, but Lyddie finds refuge from wretched working conditions by burying herself in books. Learning that she cannot return home--the family farm has been sold to Quaker neighbors--the girl is seized by a burning desire to gain independence by attending college. Readers will sympathize with Lyddie's hardships and admire her determination to create a better life for herself. Paterson ( The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks ) clearly depicts the effects of poverty during the 19th century, focusing on the plight of factory workers enslaved by their dismal jobs. Impeccably researched and expertly crafted, this book is sure to satisfy those interested in America's industrialization period. Ages 10-14. (Mar.) Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 1997 September)
Laboring in an 1840s Massachusetts mill, young Lyddie endures vile working conditions, loneliness, illness, and inequality, yet experiences an intellectual and spiritual awakening that allows her to confront her own potential. Strong characterization and a solid sense of time and place. (Feb. 1991) Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 1991 February)
s superb novel, Paterson deftly depicts a Lowell, Massachusetts fabric mill in the 1840s and a factory girl whose life is changed by her experiences there. Readers first meet 13-year-old Lyddie Worthen staring down a bear on her family' debt-ridden farm in the Vermont mountains. With her fierce spirit, she stares down a series of metaphorical bears in her year as a servant girl at an inn and then in her months under grueling conditions as a factory worker. Lyddie is far from perfect, ``close with her money and her friendships,'' but she is always trying. She suffers from loneliness, illness, and loss at too early an age, but she survives and grows. An encounter with a runaway slave brings out her generosity and starts her wondering about slavery and inequality. Try as she might to focus on making money to save the farm, Lyddie cannot ignore the issues around her, including the inequality of women. One of her roommates in the company boarding house awakens Lyddie to the wonder of books. This dignity brought by literacy is movingly conveyed as she improves her reading and then helps an Irish fellow worker learn to read. The importance of reading is just one of the threads in this tightly woven story in which each word serves a purpose and each figure of speech, drawn from the farm or the factory, adds to the picture. Paterson has brought a troubling time and place vividly to life, but she has also given readers great hope in the spirited person of Lyddie Worthen. --Kathleen Odean, Moses Brown School, Providence, RI Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information.