Little Audrey by Ruth White

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“What else would you wish for?” Daddy says. “If you could have anything in the world, what would you wish for?”
I shrug. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe . . .”
“Maybe what?”
“For us to live better than we do.”
He does not say anything.


In 1948, award-winning author Ruth White lived in Jewell Valley, a coal camp nestled between the hills of southwestern Virginia, with her mother, still mourning for a baby who died four years earlier; her father, who spent the weekends and most of his pay out drinking; and her three older sisters, Audrey, Yvonne, and Eleanor. Told in Audrey’s voice, this is how the author imagines Audrey’s experiences during a time of great trauma for the White family – and what happened before they were able to live a better life.

This snapshot of life in a coal camp, complete with everyday heartaches and joys – as well as stories, songs, and jokes – is Ruth White’s most personal work to date.  Little Audrey is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.


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 September 2, 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 157 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Little Audrey

Kirkus Reviews

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White speaks through her older sister Audrey’s voice in this mostly autographical account of life in a Virginia coal camp in 1948.

Jun 12 2012 | Read Full Review of Little Audrey

Publishers Weekly

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White recrosses autobiographical territory first covered in Sweet Creek Holler , this time through the perspective of her oldest sister, sixth-grade Audrey, who narrates.

Aug 04 2008 | Read Full Review of Little Audrey

Project MUSE

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Youth Services Book Review

At the time this book takes place, Audrey is an awkward 12-year-old, struggling to find her own place while friends drift away and family continues, for better or worse, to be family.

Feb 25 2009 | Read Full Review of Little Audrey

Provo City Library's Children Book Review

Provo Library Children's Book Review: Little Audrey by Ruth White

Dec 26 2008 | Read Full Review of Little Audrey

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