Title: Harvest Boy of White Hill
Author: Judy Yoder
Series: Little Eli series, book 3
Major Themes: Farm Life, Amish, Virginia, Family Life
Synopsis: Now that Eli and his family have moved to Virginia, he wants to work harder than ever to help out so that they will be able to keep the farm they are buying.
When we got Harvest Boy of White Hill, the third book in the Little Eli series, we were amused to compare the three books. Each one is twice the thickness of the one before it! This one is over 500 pages long, with 58 chapters. It took us about five months to read it aloud, at one chapter a day. Everyone enjoyed the book, though, and it was well worth reading.
This story begins as 11-year-old Eli makes the move from Kansas to Virginia with his Amish family in 1946. We got to follow his adventures, both enjoyable and not-so-enjoyable, through the next four years as he worked to help his family keep the farm they were buying. They built a chicken house to raise thousands of broilers, built a barn to house a herd of milking cows, built a silo, planted crops, bought a bull, debated back and forth about whether or not to buy automatic milking machines, and harvested crops. They were always busy working!
Eli had time for fun, too, though. He loved sneaking out in the evenings to go skunk hunting with his favorite cousin, and climbed the hill behind their farm. He spent time reading good books and enjoying his family. Meanwhile, romance was in the air as his sisters had young men interested in them, and Sanford, Eli’s older brother, struggled to find peace inside himself.
Harvest Boy of White Hill is a great book. It is a wonderful picture of family life, and of farm life. Each chapter tells an interesting story, and put all together, the stories relate the saga of a boy growing up on a farm in the years just after World War II. This is an Amish story that I really like! Most books about Amish make them out to be cute and quaint; because this book is told by a daughter about her father, it is matter-of-fact about the way they live. There are a number of German sayings sprinkled through the book, but they are always interpreted, so there is no confusion. Children who enjoy stories about farm life will like this series!
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15