Miracles on Maple Hill

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Miracles on Maple Hill
Miracles on Maple Hill 1956 cover.jpg
Original 1956 cover
Author Virginia Sorensen
Illustrator Beth and Joe Krush
Cover artist Beth and Joe Krush
Country United States
Language English
Genre Children's literature, Historical fiction
Publisher Harcourt Children's Books
Publication date
Pages 180
ISBN 0-152-54558-1
OCLC 220653
Popular 2004 cover by Kevin Hawkes

Miracles on Maple Hill is a 1956 novel by Virginia Sorensen that won the 1957 Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature.

The settings and characters for the book were inspired by real people and locations the author encountered during her stay in Edinboro, Pennsylvania between 1952-1958.[1]


Marly's family moves to the country so that her father, a prisoner of war suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, can learn to function once more. They are supported by a neighbor couple, Mr and Mrs. Chris, who make their living with maple syrup. Marly and her brother adapt to living in the country, and eventually become happier there. Their father's condition also improves dramatically.

When Mr. Chris has a heart attack during sugaring time, Marly's family steps forward to return the kindness that the Chrises have shown them. They collect the entire crop of sap and boil it down, but they are certain that they lack Mr. Chris's deft touch with making syrup. When Mr. Chris is allowed to return home, it is the moment of truth; was their syrup as good as Mr. Chris? Mr. Chris himself is unable to detect any difference. Marly reflects that the recovery of her father and Mr. Chris, the growing strength of bonds within her family, and the second chances for life and love are the true miracles of Maple Hill.


Main characters[edit]

  • Marly, a young girl, the main character, who discovers the miracles of nature at her grandmother's cabin.
  • Joe, Marly's older brother who wants to return to the city until he makes his own discoveries.

Minor characters[edit]

  • Marly's mom, decides that the family needs an extended stay away from the city at Grandmother's house.
  • Marly's dad, a World War II veteran who is physically and spiritually damaged finds healing in the countryside.
  • Mr. Chris, the friendly older neighbor and maple farmer who shares the joys of country life with Marly's family.
  • Mrs. Chris, takes care of the two families and all the remaining farm work.
  • Harry, a mysterious hermit eventually befriended by Joe.


A full cast audio adaptation narrated by Cynthia Bishop was released in 2005 with each character brought to life by a unique personality and voice.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The Hurry Hill Maple Farm Museum located in Edinboro, Pennsylvania has an exhibit dedicated to the book and its author, titled "Miracles on Maple Hill: Where the seasons take on new meaning."[3]


  1. ^ Erie Hall of Fame. "Nominee: Virginia Sorensen". Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Woodfill, Wendy (September 2005). "Miracles on Maple Hill". School Library Journal 51 (9): 79. 
  3. ^ Hurry Hill Maple Farm Museum Association. "Miracles on Maple Hill -- The Book and Exhibit". Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
Preceded by
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
Newbery Medal recipient
Succeeded by
Rifles for Watie