COUNTING ON GRACE

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Inspired by a famous Lewis Hine photograph, Elizabeth Winthrop’s latest book is set in a Vermont mill town in 1910, when child labor was common, and a bright, eager girl had to struggle to receive an education. Against a backdrop of callous mill owners, national calls for labor reform, and a family that can barely make ends meet, Winthrops protagonist, the courageous 12 year old Grace Forcier, strives to balance the needs of her family, the call of her true self, and her profound sense of right and wrong.

Listen to an interview of Elizabeth Winthrop on WUNC with Dick Gordon by clicking here.

Read an article about Addie Card written for Smithsonian Magazine by Elizabeth Winthrop here.

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“Winthrop’s compelling story vividly captures the mill experience. Much information on early photography and the workings of the textile mills is conveyed, and history and fiction are woven seamlessly together in this beautifully written novel. Readers won’t soon forget Grace.”
–Starred Review, School Library Journal 

1910. Pownal, Vermont. At 12, Grace and her best friend Arthur must leave school and go to work as a “doffers” on their mothers’ looms in the mill. Grace’s mother is the best worker, fast and powerful, and Grace desperately wants to help her. But she’s left handed and doffing is a right-handed job. Grace’s every mistake costs her mother, and the family. She only feels capable on Sundays, when she and Arthur receive special lessons from their teacher. Together they write a secret letter to the Child Labor Board about underage children working in Pownal. A few weeks later a man with a camera shows up. It is the famous reformer Lewis Hine, undercover, collecting evidence for the Child Labor Board. Grace’s brief acquaintance with Hine and the photos he takes of her are a gift that changes her sense of herself, her future, and her family’s future.

“Winthrop vividly portrays mill life and four characters who resist its deadening effects. Solid research and lively writing make this a fine historical novel.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Elizabeth Winthrop weaves this story of life in a 1910 textile mill with exquisite authority. Grace leaps off the page, grabbing us, completely engaging us…”
-Karen Hesse, OUT OF THE DUST, Newbery Medal Winner

“…a powerful novel that recreates the hopeless lives of young mill workers in an abusive company town. Winthrop’s remarkable writing talents bring Grace-and the past-alive.
-David Gill, “Bill’s Best Books” ALAN

“Winthrop’s compelling story vividly captures the mill experience. Much information on early photography and the workings of the textile mills is conveyed, and history and fiction are woven seamlessly together in this beautifully written novel. Readers won’t soon forget Grace.”
-Starred Review, School Library Journal

“The most compelling thread of the novel chronicles the mounting tension between Grace and her demanding mother who dominates the other workers. This enlightening novel explores the perils of mill work for children and adults alike. Readers will cheer the feisty heroine when Grace uses her smarts to triumph…..”
-Publishers Weekly

“The strength of this book lies with its endearing portrait of Grace. Readers will appreciate the fine attention to historical detail and Winthrop’s first-rate prose.”
-VOYA, Voice of Youth Advocates

Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, ISBN # 0-385-74644-X

Paperback Yearling, ISBN # 0-553-48783-3

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