Avi author writer
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Prairie School
illus. by Bill Farnsworth
HarperCollins, 2001
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Prairie School

It's the 1880s. Noah works hard on the family farm and roams free on the Colorado prairie. One day his Aunt Dora arrives to give him some schooling. Noah doesn't think he needs it. What use is reading on the prairie? But what Noah discovers will change his life forever.

Story Behind the Story

Other than my research there is no plan, no logic to my reading pleasure. I read what grabs my attention. So it was that I came upon a collection of reminiscences by folks from Nineteenth Century pioneer days, or at least homesteaders. I don’t know how the stories were gathered, but they were published, randomly, I believe, in newspapers. One of these tales concerned a young boy who lived on a prairie. He did not go to school and subsequently did not know how to read. But as he recalled he was taught to read by his visiting aunt, who was in a wheelchair. read more

Awards and Honors

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, 2004


“This I Can Read Chapter Book is a good introduction to historical fiction.  … Avi’s clear, simple language never sounds condescending, and the pictures show the tough kid's bond with those who love him. The adults are a bit too nice and understanding, but new readers will enjoy both Noah's rebellion and his awakening to the astonishing facts, stories, and poetry he can find in books.” (Booklist)

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