Blue Willow

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Blue Willow

👉 Be sure to check out our accompanying guide: Blue Willow Book Guide!

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About the Book

To Janey Larkin, the blue willow plate was the most beautiful thing in her life, a symbol of the home she could only dimly remember.

Now that her father was an itinerant worker, Janey didn’t have a home she could call her own or any real friends, as her family had to keep moving, following the crops from farm to farm.

Someday, Janey promised the willow plate, with its picture of a real house, her family would once again be able to set down roots in a community.

Blue Willow is an important fictional account of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, and has been called The Grapes of Wrath for children.

It won a Newbery Honor and many other awards.

About the Author:

Doris Gates was a librarian and writer of children’s fiction. Blue Willow was groundbreaking in its use of realistic storytelling for children. Doris Gates is also known for her collections of Greek mythology, including A Fair Wind for Troy. Read more about her here.

A Few Reviews:

“This story, told with sensitive beauty, should widen the horizons of those who read it.”–The Horn Book

“In the 1940s I was a third grader in the Seattle area. I discovered the book Blue Willow. My father had wanderlust and I had lived in many places and slept in many different types of bed. I felt a connection with Janey and Blue Willow became one of my favorite books for life. Well, life has strange quirks and I ended up in the 60’s moving to the area where Janey lived. I have been able to explore the Fresno area and have found many of the places mentioned in the book. The children section of the main Fresno Library is named for the author Doris Gates.” —Amazon Reviewer Nancylee Ahumada

Book Pairings for Blue Willow

Ruby’s Hope by Monica Kulling

Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler

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