Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Judy's Journey, Lois Lenski, J B Lippincott Company, 1947, 212 pp

 I missed this one back when I was reading the list for 1947. It is the fourth volume in Lois Lenski's American Regional Series and I read it many times as a child. Being published in the year of my birth and having my name in the title made it special to me.

  But this book also had a large effect on my life. Judy is the oldest child of a migrant worker family. They follow the crops, live in a tent and are often hungry. Judy longs to go to school and live in a real house. Near the end of the book, the family picks crops in New Jersey, the state where I grew up.

 During high school, I had a summer job two years in a row as a teacher's assistant at a facility for migrant worker's children. Our goal was to help them catch up on missed schooling. It was a defining experience for me in terms of life choices and beliefs, but I hadn't realized until I re-read the book this time how it had steered me to take that job. Reading is so amazing!

 I learned at the job how things really were for these kids. Of course, it was 15 years later and most of the children were Black, while Judy's family was white; sharecroppers trying to better themselves. In Judy's Journey, her wishes come true but I am quite certain the kids I met were not so lucky.

(Judy's Journey is out of print, as are all of Lenski's American Regional Series books. Your local library children's section or used bookseller are your options.)

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