Helen Frost Crossing Stones

ISBN 13: 9780374316532

Crossing Stones

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9780374316532: Crossing Stones
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Maybe you won't rock a cradle, Muriel.
Some women seem to prefer to rock the boat.

Eighteen-year-old Muriel Jorgensen lives on one side of Crabapple Creek. Her family's closest friends, the Normans, live on the other. For as long as Muriel can remember, the families' lives have been intertwined, connected by the crossing stones that span the water. But now that Frank Norman―who Muriel is just beginning to think might be more than a friend―has enlisted to fight in World War I and her brother, Ollie, has lied about his age to join him, the future is uncertain. As Muriel tends to things at home with the help of Frank's sister, Emma, she becomes more and more fascinated by the women's suffrage movement, but she is surrounded by people who advise her to keep her opinions to herself. How can she find a way to care for those she loves while still remaining true to who she is?

Written in beautifully structured verse, Crossing Stones captures nine months in the lives of two resilient families struggling to stay together and cross carefully, stone by stone, into a changing world.

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About the Author:

Helen Frost is the author of several books for young people, including Hidden, Diamond Willow, Salt, Crossing Stones, Room 214: A Year in Poems, and Keesha’s House, which was a Michael L. Printz Honor Book.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 6–10—The children of the Norman and Jorgensen families have grown up together, with their family farms located on either side of Crabapple Creek. In 1917, the outbreak of World War I shatters their idyllic lives: strong-willed Muriel opposes it, but the two young men, Frank and her brother, Ollie, enlist and are soon sent overseas. Muriel's lively personality comes alive in free-verse poems that roam across the page like the free-flowing waters of the creek. "My mind sets off at a gallop/down that twisty road, flashes by 'Young Lady,'/hears the accusation in it—as if it's/a crime just being young, and 'lady'/is what anyone can see I'll never be/...." The poems of Ollie and friend Emma are written in "cupped-hand" sonnets; their rounded shapes resemble the crossing stones of the creek and record their growing love. While the young men find themselves amidst the horrors of trench warfare, their families attempt to cope with their absence. Muriel travels to Washington, DC, to be with her aunt Vera, a suffragist who is recovering from a hunger strike; joins picketers at the White House; and helps out in a settlement house. Back home, youngest sister Grace comes down with influenza. Frost's warmly sentimental novel covers a lot of political, social, and geographical ground, and some of the supporting characters are not fully fleshed out. But this is Muriel's story, and her determined personality and independence will resonate with readers, especially those who've enjoyed the works of Karen Hesse.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA END

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