Buttermilk Hill by Ruth White

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Finding a way to cope through poetry

The days seem carefree for Piper Berry in her hometown of Buttermilk Hill, North Carolina -- days filled with fishing with her daddy and ten-year-old aunt/best friend Lindy and listening to her grandmother's stories. But then Mama, Tiny Lambert (whom readers may remember from Weeping Willow), announces she wants more out of life than being a housewife, and Daddy thinks this is unreasonable. He moves out and that ugly word d-i-v-o-r-c-e becomes a reality. Soon Mama's time becomes consumed with waiting tables and taking college classes. Daddy remarries, adopts two sons, and has a new baby daughter. Piper can't help but feel as if she doesn't belong anywhere anymore, and her only comfort is found in spending time with Lindy and their friend Bucky, whose life is full of his own share of family trouble. Piper's growing interest in and talent for poetry help her find a voice to say the things that are hardest and make an important decision about following her own dreams.


About Ruth White

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Ruth C. White, PhD, is assistant professor of social work at Seattle University in Seattle, WA. She received her doctorate in social welfare from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked in mental health for many years, and for the last seven years has taught and trained social workers as a member of the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences of Seattle University. She is a member of the National Speakers Bureau of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.The guiding principles of Dr. White's scholarship are that it is to be rigorous, relevant, useful, and integrated into the other aspects of Dr. White's career. During Dr. White's almost 20-year career as a scholar and practitioner, her research has focused on social determinants of health and well-being, HIV/AIDS, community development, international social work and maternal and child health. Dr. White's research is community-driven with the community as equal partners throughout the research process. Dr. White has also begun to create a body of work that expands her study of stigma into the mental health arena which grew out of her own experience with mental illness. The goal of this aspect of her work is to use her multiple positions as social work educator, researcher, author and person with mental illness to reduce the stigma of mental illness, empower those with mental illnesses to strive for mental well-being and advocate on their own behalf, and, to improve the quality and accessibility of services to the mentally ill.Dr. White's expertise has been called upon by her colleagues to review work in the area of HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health for organizations such as the American Public Health Association, the American Journal of Health Behavior, AIDS Care, and the National Science Foundation
Published March 21, 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 177 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Ten-year-old Piper Berry of Buttermilk Hill, North Carolina, knows better than anyone how important it is to follow one’s dreams.

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Publishers Weekly

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Still, the author authentically conveys Piper's feelings of confusion and ambivalence ("I had known for a long while that our family had a crack in it, but now I knew in my heart it was all-the-way broke") and, for kids buffeted by divorce, the book may be a salve.

Nov 08 2004 | Read Full Review of Buttermilk Hill

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