Treasures in the Dust

Tracey Porter, Author HarperCollins $15.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-06-027563-1
This memorable first novel alternates between the narratives of Annie May Weightman and Violet Cobble as each relates the struggle of her own Oklahoma family during the Depression. The Weightmans fare better than the Cobbles, whose disasters come as frequently as the dust storms stripping their land, and who, eventually, are forced off their land in order to survive. Although different (""She's airy, always looking to fly away. I'm happiest sitting on the ground, digging for the past,"" says Annie), the girls' friendship endures through poetic letters like Violet's, ""Folks say it can't grow nothing, but it grew us spirited and mindfull. We know beneath the broken land there's treasures in the dust."" The narrators' undaunted spirits are as deeply alive as the landscape is barren. Well-timed strokes of good fortune (i.e., the Cobbles are able to return home just as the drought ends) temper tragedies (including the death of Violet's beloved Aunt Miracle). Fans of Sarah, Plain and Tall will feel at home with Porter's lyrical language, setting and characters. And those not quite ready for Steinbeck's bleaker classics will find this a stirring depiction of survivors beating the odds. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Hardcover - 128 pages - 978-0-06-027564-8
Prebound-Other - 148 pages - 978-0-613-18284-3
Hardcover - 135 pages - 978-0-7862-2751-8
Prebound-Sewn - 148 pages - 978-0-606-16702-4
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