Avi author writer
Poppy's Return Nothing But the Truth Crispin Cross of Lead True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Catch You Later, Traitor Avi author writer
Prairie School
illus. by Bill Farnsworth
HarperCollins, 2001
more early readers
Prairie School

It's the 1880s. Noah works hard on the family farm and roams free on the Colorado prairie. One day his Aunt Dora arrives to give him some schooling. Noah doesn't think he needs it. What use is reading on the prairie? But what Noah discovers will change his life forever.

Behind the Book

Avi writes: This is a small book—an early reader—about learning to read on the Colorado prairie back in the Nineteenth Century. It’s based on a true account I had read—in a memoir—about how a boy was taught to read by his aunt, who was confined to a wheelchair. We don’t, I think, usually associate wheelchairs and pioneers, but of course that too was part of life. What I think is unusual about this story is that, while it is very short, and very easy to read, it has an emotional punch that can, and does, touch young and old readers alike.

Awards and Honors

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, 2004


“This I Can Read Chapter Book is a good introduction to historical fiction.  … Avi’s clear, simple language never sounds condescending, and the pictures show the tough kid's bond with those who love him. The adults are a bit too nice and understanding, but new readers will enjoy both Noah's rebellion and his awakening to the astonishing facts, stories, and poetry he can find in books.” (Booklist)

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