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Out of the Dust Literature Unit

 

This literature unit includes vocabulary words, definitions and activities, an anticipation guide, a literary element study, journal and discussion topics, a writing activity for each domain, comprehension activities, a research project, answer key, and MUCH MORE!

 

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Out of the Dust Literature Unit

By Karen Hesse

Billie Jo lives in Oklahoma with her parents. The story chronicles her life from the winter of 1934 to the autumn of 1935 living in the dust bowl. Her father is a farmer during the depression. The family struggles to raise crops and survive the terribly destructive dust storms. The depressed area often makes the people feel as if they have absolutely no future, particularly the kids. And yet, things manage to become worse for Billie Jo.

Billie Jo’s mom is pregnant and due to deliver any day. A freak accident causes a fire in the house. Billie Joe tries to remove a burning pot to save the house, not knowing her mother is standing just outside the kitchen door. Billie Jo does what she can to put out the flames that have now engulfed her mother, causing her own hands to become burned very badly. Tragically, the severe burns cause both her mother and the baby to die. Billie Jo and her father are incapable of dealing with their sorrow and each other. They grow farther and farther apart making Billie Jo feel completely alone in the world. The situation finally gets better after Billie Jo runs away and learns that there is nothing more important than family. This revelation allows her to return home and finally make amends with her father.

 

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