Gray, Dianne E. Holding Up the Earth. Houghton Mifflin, 2000. ISBN 0-618-00703-2. $15.00. 210 pp. A 4-8 FI Reviewed by Donna J. Jorgensen Fourteen-year-old Hope has been in foster care most of her life. She carries her few valuable possessions in a worn-out backpack. Hope had grown close to some families in Nebraska who wanted to adopt her but decide not to when they find they are going to have a baby of their own. Not wanting to go through this ordeal again, Hope refuses to get close to anyone. When Hope’s new foster mother, Sarah, takes her to the once working Minnesota farm she grew up on, Hope is determined to not let Sarah or Sara’s mother, Anna, touch her emotionally. Through the letters and diaries of four girls who lived there in 1869, 1900, 1936 and 1960, Hope gains a sense of family without the need of blood ties. Each girl, in her own way, has saved and recorded something important about the life of the farm and its beautiful meadow. When a tornado hits their small town, Hope is left alone at the farm to watch over it. She reads Susan’s teenage diary and determines to go to the meadow, even if it is dark. While there, Hope breaks her arm, loses her mother’s ashes in the grass, and finally makes a connection with Sarah and Anna who come looking for her. This story is skillfully told, the outcome believable, and the reading thoroughly enjoyable.
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