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list price: $12.95
edition:Paperback
published: Oct 2008
ISBN:9780889954021
publisher: Red Deer Press

Greener Grass

by Caroline Pignat

reviews: 2
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europe
5 of 5
1 rating
rated!
rated!
list price: $12.95
edition:Paperback
published: Oct 2008
ISBN:9780889954021
publisher: Red Deer Press
Description

Kit Byrne's family is a strong one, but their strength and unity are being severely tested, as life becomes more and more desperate in 19th century rural Ireland. Lord Fraser is the wealthy landowner, from which the Byrne's and many other families rent their lands. When the potato blight hits, the farmers can no longer make their payments much less produce food for themselves, and the cruel system has no mercy as Lord Fraser wields an iron fist, driving families from their homes and burning their cottages.

Kit's dreams are now dashed as her family experiences a series of tragedies, and as she undergoes a daunting event that tears her away from her family. With her father dead, she must fight for survival and help her ailing mother and siblings escape Ireland for good.

This story is a glimpse into the tragic events of the Great Hunger, the famine that devastated Ireland, forcing thousands of impoverished families to seek better livelihoods outside of their homeland.

Contributor Notes

Caroline Pignat
graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Religious Studies. She is a teacher, a mentor and coach for children and youth, and an accomplished writer. Her articles and poetry have appeared in numerous magazines and publications including, Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr., and Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
Age:
12 to 100
Grade:
6 to 10
Editorial Review

"Pignat's writing is strong and detailed, bringing to life historical events in a personal and tangible way. . . For its good writing, its keen perception of human emotions and its incredibly accurate portrayal of An Gorta Mor (the Great Hunger), this is definitely an addition to any 'must read' list of young adult novels.
Highly Recommended."
CM Magazine

"A remarkable work of historical fiction."
Canadian Children's Book News

"The tension in the story and in the well-developed characters is always rooted in daily detail, and it builds to the final question."
Booklist starred review

"Caroline Pignat is a talented storyteller and her writing here creates a memorable story?Quick-paced and compelling, this is a book that will grab your interest, pull at your heartstrings and lead you to look for other books by this fine author."
The Brandon Sun

"This well-researched book brings to life the Irish famine of mid-nineteenth century. . . Historical fiction fans will enjoy this book, and teachers and librarians may find its ethical dilemmas highly teachable literature."
VOYA

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Reader Reviews

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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Greener Grass: The Famine Years

“’Twas as though the hills themselves were crying that day, that morning when all of Ireland awoke to the smell of hope rotting in their fields.” So says Kathleen Mary Margaret Byrne who tells her sorrowful tale of Ireland’s Great Hunger. But tragic though it may be, Kit’s story is also a proud reminder of the hardiness, the courage and the unbreakable spirit of her people.

As this story begins, Kit and her family see her father off on his annual pilgrimage to seek work in England. But this year they wait in vain for him to send home his wages. Work has grown harder to find this year, but soon that worry pales in comparison to the trials to come. First the potato blight destroys their crops and with them, the hopes and dreams of the villagers who depended upon them. On the verge of starvation and with no money to pay the rent, the luckless farmers and their families find themselves cruelly evicted from their homes by heartless landlords who burn their meager homes to the ground.

Conditions only worsen as they all fight hunger, cold, sickness and despair. For Kit, it takes the harsh words of Old Lizzie Plunkett to remind her of who she is and who she needs to be in these dark times to hold her fragile family together, and to find a way to “sow hope in a barren field and share the fruit of it with everyone.”

This is a deeply moving and vividly rendered tale that is beautifully told in language that all but lifts modern day readers into the heart of old Ireland itself. Caroline Pignat has done a magnificent job of recreating this deplorable time, of making the plight of Kit and the people of Ireland tangible and real to young readers from another time and place. Although it is a woeful tale, it ably depicts the generosity of spirit, the tenacity and will to survive, and the hope that Kit and her countrymen clung to with fierce determination –making it as much an ode to these people and all that they endured as it is a remarkable work of historical fiction.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2008. Vol.31 No.4.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Greener Grass: The Famine Years

Kit’s family struggles as the Great Famine enters its second year. Landlords raise rents and tumble cottages, leaving thousands homeless and overcome with hunger and disease. When her family is slated for eviction, Kit will do anything she can to help them.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2009.

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