Saturday, April 28, 2012

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lensky

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lensky. HarperCollins Publishers, 1995 (first published 1945) (9780064405850)

I went strawberry picking this morning and this afternoon am making strawberry jam. It reminded me of a favorite childhood book.

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lensky was also my introduction to Florida. Most kids probably think of Disneyland when they hear Florida. Not me, when I was little all I knew about Florida were the backwoods that Birdie and her family moved to in the early 1900s.

Strawberries I picked!
The Boyers are planning to grow strawberries and ship them off to the big city via refrigerated railway cars. Ten year old Birdie is excited that their strawberries will be enjoyed by people far away. But the neighbors cause trouble and the Boyers have some difficulty adjusting to life in Florida. Mr. Boyer is "a Caroliny feller."

Strawberry Girl is a really fun kids book and is a great way to learn about an era and area of America that isn't usually studied. In the foreword of the copy I'm skimming Ms. Lensky wrote she was "trying to present vivid, sympathetic pictures of the real life of different kinds of Americans, against authentic backgrounds of diverse localities." In that spirit Ms. Lensky had her characters speak in the dialect:
"Yes, soon we'll be pickin' oranges to sell," added her mother.
"To sell?" asked Mrs. Slater in surprise.
"Yes, ma'am. We're studyin' to sell oranges and strawberries and sweet 'taters and sich and make us a good livn'."
"Sell things? Messin' with things to sell?" said Mrs. Slater. "then you'll purely starve to death. Why, nothin' won't grow here in Floridy. The only way we-uns can git us a livin' is messin' with cows and sellin' 'em for beef."
Strawberry Girl won the Newbery Medal in 1946. You can probably find it in most libraries. If not, Barnes & Noble has it.


  1. I loved Strawberry Girl when I was younger. After reading your post I want to go back and read it again! I may have to steal your idea and go strawberry picking first.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. It's a great time for picking strawberries! The place I went to had a lot of beautiful ripe ones. (Course it depends on where in the country you are.) Enjoy the reread and the strawberries, Jess!


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