Across Five Aprils Author:Irene Hunt Grades 4-8--This beautifully written novel offers valuable insights into the difficulties faced by families and communities caught up in the political, economic, and personal upheavals of war. The events of the Civil War unfold Across Five Aprils (Berkley Pub., 1986) in this moving story by Newbery Award winner, Irene Hunt. It is set in southern... more » Illinois where Jethro Creighton, an intelligent, hardworking boy, is growing into manhood as his brothers and a beloved teacher leave to fight in the Union and Confederate armies. Hunt presents a balanced look at both sides of the conflict, and includes interesting information on lesser-known leaders and battles. Of course, Abraham Lincoln is a frequent topic of conversation, and Jethro even receives a letter from his fellow Illinoian. Narrator Tom Stechschulte captures the richness of the regional dialogue and blends it with a careful reading of the story's descriptive passages. Sound reproduction is good, and the hard plastic case can be processed easily for circulation. Across Five Aprils adds a valuable new perspective to audiobook collections that already have works such as Fleischman's Bull Run (HarperCollins, 1993), and Pinkney's Silent Thunder: A Civil War Story (Hyperion, 1999). Students studying the Civil War have much to gain from this recording because it goes beyond historical fiction to show the value of family love and loyalty.« less
This is an excellent book, bringing the Civil War into a sharp focus for mid to late elementary students. Hunt provides ample detail to give the reader a clear picture of the battles/skirmishes, life of the soldier, and life of those left behind as their husbands/brothers/sons went off to fight. However, the detail is provided in a tasteful manner without including the full attrocities of the battles themselves. This book really brought home the lessons that the Civil War had/has to teach us. And the manner in which it was done was engaging and thought-provoking. It is a must read for all kids studying the Civil War as it goes beyond mere dates and names to really bring the reader alongside the characters.