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The Barn
Scholastic, 2014
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The Barn

The schoolmaster says nine-year-old Benjamin is the finest student he's ever seen—fit for more than farming; destined for great things someday. But his father's grave illness brings Ben home,from school and compels him to strive for something great right now—to do the one thing that will please Father so much he'll want to live. But first Ben must convince his older sister and brother to work with him. And together, they succeed in ways they never dreamed possible.

Behind the Book

Avi writes: Books come to be for many reasons. One day I was on vacation in Northern California when I spied a very beautiful old barn. I decided to photograph it. As I was doing so, a woman came out from an adjacent house and said, “It’s a pretty barn, isn’t it?” I agreed. She went on: “They say the farmer who started to build it became ill so his kids finished for him.” The moment she said that I knew here was a story to be told. It became The Barn. It’s also based, in part, on memories of my old grandfather who lived with my family before he passed away. Though I was young, I helped care of him. The Barn is short, a novella, one of the most interesting forms of writing. (Like my The Christmas Rat and The Fighting Ground) Lots of people ask me for my favorite book. I don’t really have one. But I will confess to believing The Barn is as good, if not better, than anything I have ever written.

Awards and Honors

ALA Notable, 1995
IRA Teacher's Choice, 1995
Bank Street Children's Books of the year, "outstanding," 1994
Starred, focus Review, Booklist, 1994
American Bookseller, Pick of the Lists, 1994
New York Public Library, Best Books of the Year, 1994
Booklist, Best Books of the year, 1994
Editor's Choice, Booklist, 1994
CCBC Choice, 1994
VOYA, Outstanding Book, 1994
ABC Children's Booksellers' Choice, 1995

Review

“Avi is one of our most versatile and prolific children's writers. He never does the same thing twice, always experimenting with form and theme and setting, from thriller and realistic fiction to radio play and graphic novel. This small, beautiful historical novel has a timeless simplicity. It's the best thing he's done. Like MacLachlan's Sarah, Plain and Tall (1985), the story reaches from home to the universe.” (Booklist)

 
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