May B. by Caroline Starr Rose

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I've known it since last night:
It's been too long to expect them to return.
Something's happened.

"If May is a brave, stubborn fighter, the short, free-verse lines are one-two punches in this Laura Ingalls Wilder-inspired ode to the human spirit," raved Kirkus Reviews in a starred review.

May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it's hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May's memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she's determined to find her way home again. Caroline Starr Rose's fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.

About Caroline Starr Rose

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CAROLINE STARR ROSE spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other. As a girl she danced ballet, raced through books by Laura Ingalls, and put on magic shows in a homemade cape. She graduated from the University of New Mexico and went on to teach both social studies and English in New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana. In her classroom, she worked to instill in her students a passion for books, the freedom to experiment with words, and a curiosity about the past. Visit her at
Published January 10, 2012 by Schwartz & Wade. 242 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for May B.

Kirkus Reviews

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As unforgiving as the western Kansas prairies, this extraordinary verse novel—Rose's debut—paints a gritty picture of late-19th-century frontier life from the perspective of a 12-year-old dyslexic girl named Mavis Elizabeth Betterly… May B. for short.

Dec 27 2011 | Read Full Review of May B.

Publishers Weekly

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Set on the Kansas prairie in the 19th century, this debut novel in verse presents a harrowing portrait of pioneer life through the perspective of 12-year-old Mavis Elizabeth Betterly, called May B.

Dec 05 2011 | Read Full Review of May B.

Common Sense Media

May's perseverance, not just in surviving but also in following her dreams and struggling to accept herself, makes her a character readers will love to root for.

Jan 10 2012 | Read Full Review of May B.

Historical Novel Society

Twelve-year-old Mavis Elizabeth Betterly (May B.) is a Kansas prairie pioneer girl, whose parents send her to a neighboring homestead to help out – “Just until Christmas,” her father promises.

| Read Full Review of May B.

Youth Services Book Review

(Middle schools, high schools, small libraries, all libraries, etc.) Elementary and public libraries.

Feb 15 2012 | Read Full Review of May B.

Teen Writers Blog

We read the words as she reads them, and we can identify how the words are jumping around and she’s not slow or stupid like her mean Teacher had said.

Jan 07 2012 | Read Full Review of May B.

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