Our Only May Amelia Book Poster Image

Our Only May Amelia



A historical novel set in the Pacific Northwest.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know


May Amelia is blamed by her grandmother for the death of her baby sister.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that though May Amelia is a girl, this book has boy appeal too; six brothers and a male cousin share in her adventures. The drawings add to the book's appeal.

Parents say

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What's the story?

May Amelia hates to be told, "Behave like a proper young lady." She works on the farm as hard as any boy. Her birthday wish is for a little sister, but when baby Amy dies, she goes "grief mad" and runs away. Based on tales from her own family, author Jennifer L. Holm creates a believable heroine in a realistic historical setting.


Is it any good?


This historical novel vividly captures the harsh and lonely life of a girl living in the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the 20th century. The author builds excitement and suspense into each chapter: Chased by an angry mother bear and a cougar and nearly swept away by logs sent downriver from a logging camp, May Amelia seems to remain alive only by virtue of a string of luck. And readers learn that some things don't change in a hundred years: Brothers and sisters argue, parents set rules, and children run away.

To write this story, Holm delved into her family history: Her great-grandfather was one of the first Finnish-American settlers in the Nasel River Valley, but it was her grand-aunt's diary that inspired the title character.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the differences -- and similarities -- between daily life 100 years ago and today. What do you imagine life would be like without modern inventions like television, computers, and telephones?

Book details

Author:Jennifer L. Holm
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:January 1, 1999
Number of pages:251
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Award:Newbery Medal and Honors

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old December 7, 2008
Kid, 11 years old November 8, 2011

hi my name is destinee ariel roberts

this book is amazing you should read it awesome
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old September 28, 2014

Great Book!

It was a great book, and educational, but the mother does end up giving birth to a baby almost in a boat, with May Amelia around, but never for the real pregnancy. Also, there is a mean grandmother, and the baby ends up dying. May Amelia was very close to her and looks after her when her mother is ill after giving birth. May does end up running away, but comes back after prompting because she loves her family. Lovely Story.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex


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