Across Five Aprils

Common Sense Media says

This historical tale is captivating and memorable.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

This book shows how war affects ordinary people and changes their lives
forever. Effectively exploring the complex issues behind the war, Irene
Hunt's well-researched historical tale is captivating and memorable.

Positive role models

One character defends the necessity of slavery. A brother opposes the
wishes of his family and leaves to fight for the South. Some young men
clamor for war; townspeople express hatred for Southerners and call for
them to be lynched.


Graphic reports of battles. Jethro is attacked, and his family is threatened by mob violence. The family's barn is attacked by an angry band of men. The death of a brother and near death of a friend of the family.

Not applicable
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this beautifully written and heart-rending story effectively depicts the suffering caused by war.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Shots fired far away spark a civil war that will have painful repercussions for an Illinois family. This book shows how war affects ordinary people and changes their lives forever. Effectively exploring the complex issues behind the war, Irene Hunt's well-researched historical tale is captivating and memorable.

Is it any good?


Irene Hunt has drawn from stories told by her grandfather, family letters, and historical research to create a novel that vividly depicts the grand scope of the Civil War, while also showing its intimate impact on the lives of ordinary families. In an eloquent but often folksy style, Hunt draws the reader into the farming life of southern Illinois, where young men see a chance to prove their manhood and speak of the war as being fun. Through the four long years of war, Jethro discovers the truth, with the death of one brother and the virtual loss of another when he chooses to fight for the Confederacy.

This is also a novel of a mother sending her children off to war, of a wife raising two children on her own, of a young woman facing the prospect of losing the man she loves. Brilliantly representing the passionate feelings of both sides in the Civil War, Hunt brings the reader to a fuller understanding of this conflict, showing both the futility of war and the breadth of its human consequences.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about living in a time of war. How is public opinion a factor in the war?

  • What about in the Creightons' community?

  • Has your life been affected by war?

Book details

Author:Irene Hunt
Genre:Historical Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1964
Number of pages:190
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

This review of Across Five Aprils was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byElbee1996 April 26, 2011


THIS IS THE WORST BOOK EVER WRITTEN IN HISTORY!! I had to read it for a history class and i hate it! It is the most BORING book ever published! It is so STUPID! It goes on and on and on about every little detail! For example, "Jethro went into town, he got to eat at a RESTAURANT and he got APPLE PIE! He walked with his right foot, then his left, right, left, right, left, and on and on and on. Then! He sat down then he carefully lifted his pie to his mouth and chewed slowly, savoring every piece...... and on and ON and ON!" Except in the book, it would have gone 20 pages about HOW he chewed and so on and so fourth.... AGAIN THIS IS EXTREMELY BORING. this book should really be revised to this: "Jethro is a very boring 10 year old boy who lives in a very boring town with his very boring family. Anyone who reads this book is promised to die of boredom. THE END." ;) I would NNNNNOOOOOTTTTT recomend this book to ANYONE!!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

it was ok

ok so i just got to say when i read this book i was bored at the beginning then it was getting a liltle interesting but then it just got just as boring as it was in the beginning. maybe i would of liked it a liltle more if i didnt have to read it for school. i would say over all...i wouldnt pick this book to read if i didnt have to.
Teen, 14 years old Written by-insert usernam... October 29, 2010
The book is quite violent in some parts, but more than that, it's just BORING. I had to read it for school, and I have to admit, though it's NOT a good idea, I did skip some pages. At the climax it got better, but by the climax there were only about 30 or 40 pages left in the book. I don't really suggest reading it to anybody, because I don't want to waste their time.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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