Title: Ruby Holler
Author: Sharon Creech
Publication Date: 2003
Why I Read It
A student read it during independent reading and even though it is a book for lower grades, it was one she remembered loving as a kid and wanted to re-read it. She had asked if I had read it and when I said I hadn’t she offered to let me borrow it.
Short Synopsis (no spoilers)
“Trouble twins” Dallas and Florida are orphans. They have spent their whole lives in an orphanage being passed from family to family and ending up right back at the orphanage. Horrible stories haunt their imaginations. And, they fear, just like the other homes, Tiller and Sairy’s home in Ruby Holler will be an awful experience. Tiller and Sairy are looking for two children to help them on their separate journeys to discover new territory.
What I Liked
I have loved Sharon Creech since I first read Walk Two Moons as an undergrad in my Children’s Lit class and was excited by my student’s excitement for this book. In Creech’s voice, at once filled with the awe and wonder of her young protagonists and the wisdom of those who are far older than their years signal, the story of Dallas and Florida unfolds at a brisk pace. The short, succinct, yet moving chapters allows a reader to clip through this book quickly. This also allows for much of it to be read in short pieces in classrooms at any grade level.
The journey Dallas and Florida go through, one undoubtedly taken by many of the kids who surround us today, is one to be learned from. Teachers, counselors, and others who work closely with children can see, from Creech’s novel, the world some children fall into after dealing with hurt and disappointment. It can give insight to a world unknown, or unfelt, by most adults. As I was reading it, I felt drawn to Dallas and Florida. I cheered for them the whole way and rooted for Sairy and Tiller to keep treating the twins as more than just human labor, as so many other “foster parents” had.
Ruby Holler is a book for the young at heart. It is a tale of how expectations can become positive again. The last lines of the book hold that expectation and make you feel a final hurrah for the twins and their new lives.
Although this is a book for much younger students, I could see reading bits of it to my high schoolers. Creech’s writing style is easily accessible and students can use her writing to help understand voice and dialogue. Also, the different points of view-between Dallas/Florida, Sairy/Tiller, and the Trepids, give students a model to follow when they begin to branch out in their writing.
- Teachers of younger children-it would be a great read aloud, even if you just read parts of it.
- Anyone who works with young children. It is a sweet reminder of how we need to approach children. Their experiences from before they encounter us is varied and could very well inform how we need to respond to them.