Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 5 - 8Grades 5 - 8X5.319756
This gripping story, written in sparse first-person, free-verse poems, is the compelling tale of Billie Jo's struggle to survive during the dust bowl years of the Depression. With stoic courage, she learns to cope with the loss of her mother and her grieving father's slow deterioration. There is hope at the end when Billie Jo's badly burned hands are healed, and she is able to play her beloved piano again. The 1998 Newbery Medal winner.
Hardcover
Published on January 1, 2006 by Listening Library
ISBN-10: 0307259668
ISBN-13: 9780307259660
122 Book Reviews
  • goodbookgirl
    goodbookgirl6 months55 stars
    In this book, Karen Hesse rolls perfect poetry and a young girl's determination to survive into one spectacular story. Billie Jo and her family live on a farm in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl (if you don't know what that is, it was a series of dust storms and a drought that struck in, I think it was the Southwest, between 1930-1936). Things are already tough for them, but they only get harder with Ma's baby coming and an accidental house fire. Can Billie Jo and Daddy survive, when they have already lost so much? I hardly knew about the Dust Bowl before I read this book. I learned so much! Please read it.
    • emoji_man
      emoji_man7 months55 stars
      This is a book I had to read for school. It is about a girl named Billy Jo who is living in a dust storm in the Great Depression.
      • raindrop07
        raindrop07about 2 years55 stars
        Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse is a gripping, tragic story of Billy Joe and her struggles to survive the Dust Bowl in the Great Depression while also trying to find her place in a constantly changing world. After losing her mother and baby brother to a devastating accident, Billie Joe must learn to cope, while grappling with her relationship with her grieving father. She tries to balance her pain with the joy of playing piano and even when her life seems to be falling down around her, Billie Joe relies on her firey strength and determination to carry on. Written in free-verse, Billie Joe's story is told in little words full of powerful meaning. "Life is Hard" gets redefined when you read Out of the Dust.
        • Unicorn loveover 2 years
          I love this book it is soooooooo good my class in 5th grade we were reading it and it is good but now in 6th grade we are reading touching spirit bear and so far it is really good
          • raindrop07
            raindrop07over 2 years55 stars
            Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse is a gripping, tragic story of Billy Joe and her struggles to survive the Dust Bowl in the Great Depression while also trying to find her place in a constantly changing world. After losing her mother and baby brother to a devastating accident, Billie Joe must learn to cope, while grappling with her relationship with her grieving father. She tries to balance her pain with the joy of playing piano and even when her life seems to be falling down around her, Billie Joe relies on her firey strength and determination to carry on. Written in free-verse, Billie Joe's story is told in little words full of powerful meaning. "Life is Hard" gets redefined when you read Out of the Dust.
            • super10
              super10about 3 years55 starsFeatured
              This book was one of the best, as it narrates the struggles of the Dust Bowl perfectly, while creating great characters that the reader can relate to. This book changed my perspective of the Dust Bowl completely, and Karen Hesse truly delivers a gem, for anybody wanting to know more about the Dust Bowl. This story starts in the 1930's, and takes place in The Great Plains. Billie Jo, an average girl at the time, knows life as normal, and the way it should be. Inspired by her mother, she is passionate to play the piano, and becomes good at it. But, The Dust Bowl comes into town, and changes everything that counts as normal. To find out how, you have to read the free-verse book itself, Out of The Dust! The story teaches an important lesson to the people that read it, which is that it's never to late to change. Billie Jo constantly changes for the better, which happens a lot in this book. This book was truly a masterclass, and I rate it five stars because of its perfect description of history. I recommend this book to anybody that wants to learn about the Dust Bowl, as this book describes it nearly perfectly!
              • damnijemimah
                damnijemimahabout 3 years55 stars
                The book uses facts from the actual dust bowl and combines them into the book about a family who goes through some hardships. Out of the Dust is made up of poems some long some short but they still combine facts with things that never happened. The main character plays piano 🎹.
                • dtgdjxygdtf
                  dtgdjxygdtfover 3 years44 stars
                  I really love Out of the dust. Star: I really love the way the text is based. It is written in poetry. Star: I really like how it is based around the dust bowl and the great depression. The main character Billie Jo and her family are very poor. Her father works while she plays the piano for a little money. Her mother does not work. At the beginning of the book her mother died giving birth to her son. This made Billie Jo and her father very sad. Her father had a hard time talking to Billie Jo about this but he finally overcomes this. Wish:I really hope there is a sequel because I really want to know if she will continue to play the piano for “Arly’s band”
                  • MeghanSover 5 years
                    The book was interesting, I never really knew how bad the storms actually were until I heard about the living conditions Billie Jo and her family were facing topped off with all the drama in their family.
                    • caitlynp
                      caitlynpover 5 years
                      The book the Out of the Dust, was a fun, sad, and interesting. The book got boring sometimes but got more exciting as major events came.