The Children's Blizzard

The Children's Blizzard

by

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The New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife reveals a little-known story of courage on the prairie: the freak blizzard that struck the Great Plains, threatening the lives of hundreds of immigrant homesteaders--especially their children.

The morning of January 12, 1888, was unusually mild, following a long cold spell, warm enough for the homesteaders of the Dakota territory to venture out again, and for their children to return to school without their heavy coats--leaving them unprepared when disaster struck. At just the hour when most prairie schools were letting out for the day, a terrifying, fast-moving blizzard struck without warning. Schoolteachers as young as sixteen were suddenly faced with life and death decisions: keep the children inside, to risk freezing to death when fuel ran out, or send them home, praying they wouldn't get lost in the storm?

Based on actual oral histories of survivors, the novel follows the stories of Raina and Gerda Olsen, two sisters, both schoolteachers--one who becomes a hero of the storm, and one who finds herself ostracized in the aftermath. It's also the story of Anette Pedersen, a servant girl whose miraculous survival serves as a turning point in her life and touches the heart of Gavin Woodson, a newspaperman seeking redemption. It is Woodson and others like him who wrote the embellished news stories that lured immigrants across the sea to settle a pitiless land. Boosters needed immigrants to settle territories into states, and they didn't care what lies they told them to get them there--or whose land it originally was.

At its heart, this is a story of courage, of children forced to grow up too soon, tied to the land because of their parents' choices. It is a story of love taking root in the hard prairie ground, and of families being torn asunder by a ferocious storm that is little remembered today--because so many of its victims were immigrants to this country.

Title:The Children's Blizzard
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780399182280
Format Type:

    The Children's Blizzard Reviews

  • MarilynW

    The Children's Blizzard by Melanie BenjaminThe Children's Blizzard is a historical novel that deals with a real time in history known as the Schoolhouse Blizzard, due to the number of children that pe...

  • Angela M

    A brutal fictional portrayal of the loss of life, of limbs from frostbite on January 12, 1888 when an unexpected blizzard which actually hit the Dakota Territories and upended the already difficult li...

  • Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

    ***NOW AVAILABLE, DON'T MISS THIS ONE***This book reminded me of why I love historical fiction!! Woven into this story are real facts about the prairie. Not just the time of the blizzard but day afte...

  • Fran

    Come to Nebraska...acres for the taking as per the Homestead Act of 1862. "...-one hundred and sixty of these heavenly acres for only a small filing fee. In five years, those acres will be yours...". ...

  • Debra

    ***On January 12, 1888, 235 people were killed by "The Children's Blizzard” that swept across the Northwest Plains. It is estimated that temperatures plunged to 40 degrees below zero in most parts o...

  • Annette

    Based on a little-known blizzard that struck the Great Plains on January 12th, 1888. “The storm hit at precisely the wrong time here in northeastern Nebraska, southeastern Dakota. (…) It hit right...

  • Cheri

    Come to Nebraska, the Garden of Eden! With promises of a better life, people came in waves from across the seas and across the land, toting what meager possessions they could manage, their hearts f...

  • Luvtoread

    This book is a historical work based on real events which covers parts of the the most brutal and devastating blizzard that ever occurred on January 12, 1888 in Nebraska that would become known as "Th...

  • Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)

    I know my opinion of this book is really going to go against the grain of so many readers but the fact is I didn't care for it. I have read other books by Ms Benjamin that I felt were much better in t...

  • Karen

    3.5Jan 12th, 1888 an unexpected blizzard came through the plains, on what started out as a very balmy day. It came at the time of day when children were about to be let out of school for the day, and ...