Across Five Aprils
|Across Five Aprils|
|Cover artist||Lisa Falkenstein|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
Across Five Aprils is a novel by Irene Hunt, published in 1964 and winner of the 1965 Newbery Honor, set in the Civil War era. Irene was close to her grandfather who told her stories from his youth. Irene incorporated them into Across Five Aprils.
Jethro has three brothers, Bill , John and Tom, and his cousin Eb, most of them eager to join the fight. Jethro must struggle with the split between them, as three join the Union Army but Bill joins the Confederacy. Later on, Jethro's good friend and sister Jenny's boyfriend, Shad also joins the Union Army. John's wife Nancy and their two young sons live with the Creighton's during the war. Jenny is in love with Shad, but her father will not approve of the marriage because he thinks she is too young.
As the war heats up, so do the tensions among the townspeople around Jethro. A gang of men led by Guy Wortman are angered by the fact that one of Jethro’s brothers, Bill, joined the Confederate cause. Eventually, Jethro's father suffers from a heart attack, leaving Jethro with the task of becoming the head of the house. The spotlight is set on the hardships of war on a family.
One day Jethro travels to Newton, and, while shopping, overhears the men talking about how evil his brother is. While Jethro is riding back; however, he is warned that the men are up to no good. Dave Burdow, father of the young man responsible for Jethro's sister Mary's death prior to the events of the story, ends up saving Jethro's life and driving the troublemakers off. However, the trouble is far from over.
After a few months, the men are at it again. They sabotage the family’s property by burning down the family's barn and contaminating the water in the well. Jethro is given little time to concentrate on this when he finds out that his brother Tom was killed and that cousin Eb left the Union Army. He now must face the hard decision of whether or not he should help his deserter cousin. He writes a letter to President Lincoln for help and begins to look up to him as a father during the crisis. President Lincoln replies, telling him that he is already working on a program to accept all willing deserters back into the Union with little punishment.
Soon after, the family learns that Shad has been wounded and is staying in a hospital, being taken care of by his aunt. Jenny goes to take care of him, and after finally receiving her father's blessing, she and Shad get married. Shad gets better, the war ends, and he, Jenny, John, and Eb return to the Mossing farm. However, at the end of the war, just when the family is reunited safely, Jethro learns that the president has been shot. He runs off but is found by Shad who tells him that he and Jenny are going to college, and that they will take Jethro with them. Jethro is filled with joy.
Awards and nominations
- 1997- Charles W. D. W. Award
- 1964- Charles W. Follett Award
- 1965- Newbery Honor
- 1965- Lewis Carroll Shelf Award
- 1965- Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award