The Braid by Helen Frost

   

Genre:  Poetry and Historical Fiction

Age Level:  Age 14 and up

# of pages: 88

RAC Book: No

The Braid is set in Scotland during the 1850s.  During this time, landowners in Scotland found out they could make more money by using their land for grazing than for renting it out.  Many families were told to evacuate overnight.  In this story, Sarah and Jeannie are the oldest two children in a family told to evacuate.  On their last night together, Sarah braided some of their hair together so that they will each have a piece when they start their separate journeys.  Jeannie evacuates with the family and Sarah stays with her grandmother.  The braid they each carry binds them through their difficult times ahead.  The story alternates between sisters and integrates the use of poetry.  Even though they are separated they will still influence each other’s lives over the years due to their connection with the braid of hair.

This story accurately portrayed the hardships of the times through its depiction of evacuation, sea travel, sickness, unwed mothers, and homeless families.  Through it all there is always a ray of hope as the two girls remain optimistic and strive to reach outside their comfort zones in order to stand up for what they feel is right.  Despite the hardships both girls endure, they never stop hoping that things will work out for themselves and their sister.

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