Yvonne Beverly Blake
(Going Home With Phoebe
Follow Phoebe home to her farm in Snyders Corner. Along with a having trouble growing into a young lady, Phoebe also has a talent for bringing home all kinds of strays - kittens, caterpillars, baby birds, and even a runaway slave.
A study guide for A Home for Phoebe contains vocabulary, writing, and research exercises, plus hand-on activities which correspond to the book. (gr.4-6)
A Home for Phoebe is an historical novel, of an Indian woman and an orphan girl wandering the hills of the Hudson Valley during the mid 1800's. One flees prejudice, while the other yearns for a home. Through the friendship of a peddler, a blind granny, and a blacksmith family, they find faith and forgiveness.
As research for A Home for Phoebe, I only had to dig into my memories of my childhood, when my family lived in that area of New York, east of Albany. I learned of the Algonquins in school and visited Old Sturbridge Village often. Our house was built during the 1800's, complete with a working fireplace.
The 1800's was a time of industry and inventions. It was a time of change for our country. This story is filled with tidbits of history and culture of that time. There is even some woodlore and arm life, but also a glimpse of fashion and city-life.
A Home for Phoebe is not set during the time of war, but that region had its own battle over the land. The Anti-Rent Wars was a rebellion of the farmers against the landowner Stephen Van Rensselaer. I even wrote a hand-clapping rhyme that portrays the feelings of the people.