A Dear America: The Light in the Storm
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Newbery Medal winner Karen Hesse's Civil War diary, A LIGHT IN THE STORM, is now back in print with a beautiful new cover!
In 1861, Amelia Martin's father is stripped of his post as a ship's captain when he is caught harboring the leader of a slave rebellion. Now he is an assistant lighthouse keeper on Fenwick Island, off the coast of Delaware -- a state wedged between the North and the South, just as Amelia is wedged between her warring parents. Amelia's mother blames her abolitionist husband for their living conditions, which she claims are taking a toll on her health. Amelia observes her mother's hate and her father's admiration for Abraham Lincoln.
But slavery is the deeper issue separating the two sides. As the Civil War rages on, Amelia slowly learns that she cannot stop the fighting, but by keeping watch in the lighthouse each day, lighting the lamps, cleaning the glass, and rescuing victims of Atlantic storms, she can still make a difference.
that Mother, in our absence, had prepared food and warm drinks. My own body was so tired and so cold from the relief effort, I don’t know how I could have done by myself all Mother did for us. I can’t remember when I’ve seen her so active, nor so beautiful. Do we need a wreck to make Mother happy? Saturday, April 27, 1861 Clear. Wind S. Moderate. I persuaded Mother and Father to attend Van Amburgh’s Menagerie and Fair with me today. We stopped to inquire if 62 8662_01_001-150_r5ay.qxd 5/6/99
fancy. They make up games all day to keep the three smallest ones, Mary, James, and William, entertained. They cheer me. They are so full of laughter and life. Even their rooms, so dark when Keeper Dunne occupied them, are dappled now with sea light. Mrs. Hale asked if there were not any berries on this whole island, and Keeper Hale came along as we went on a hunt for them. Keeper Hale acted like a great bear as we marched through the woods, and the children ran screaming back to me every time he
supporting the Union, Wickie. If the rebels despise the Union at a distance, how much more they must despise their Union neighbors.” He asked if Keeper Hale’s sister and her family were safe in South Carolina. Keeper Hale opened his huge arms and said jovially that she could come here and stay with him if she wanted. I do not 97 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23S 24R 8662_01_001-150_r5ay.qxd 5/6/99 12:22 AM Page 98 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
the mistake of discussing politics within Mother’s earshot. She colored and grew angry. “I will not listen to this talk,” she snapped. Without looking back at us, she retreated to her room. I heard her weeping. Father heard her, too. A little later, when she grew quiet, I went in to her. She was sitting at her dressing table, gazing at the charcoal drawing of the cottage, which Father has not yet framed for her. I promised I’d row her to the mainland to visit Grandmother this weekend. “Thank you,
father have, a marriage between South and North; she from Sussex, the southernmost county in Delaware, and Father from up north in New Castle. 35 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23S 24R 8662_01_001-150_r5ay.qxd 5/6/99 12:22 AM Page 36 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 They might as well be from Charleston and Boston, as different as they stand on the issues of slavery and secession. All I can think is the Government had better have