Vermont Reads 2007

Last Updated 5/17/2011 3:54:53 PM

A Statewide, One-Book Community Reading Program

Vermont Reads 2007

Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop

“Ever since we wrote that letter to the Child Labor place, Arthur is waiting for an inspector to . . . shut down the mill. I told him . . . that nobody cares about a bunch of us kids in a little nowhere Vermont town.”
– Grace from Counting on Grace
















Counting on Grace, the Vermont Reads book for 2007, is a historical, young adult novel with powerful themes and rich writing that appeals to adults and children. The author is Elizabeth Winthrop.

Travel back to 1910 Vermont and the hard life of French Canadian mill workers. Based on a haunting photo taken in North Pownal, Vermont, Counting on Grace tells the story of 12-year-old Grace Forcier and her family and friends who struggle to make ends meet by working long days in the dangerous, air-polluted cotton mill.

Grace and her friend, Arthur, must leave school to work in the mill. Their teacher fights back by helping the children write to the National Child Labor Committee. Real-life photographer Lewis Hine arrives to photograph the children surreptitiously, and sets in motion a chain of unanticipated events. The novel is full of themes and subjects rich for discussion and extension activities. Mill history and child labor, French Canadian culture, family relationships, poverty, and the power of old photographs to tell stories are just some of the subjects communities can explore.

Vermont Reads 2007 drew an outstanding response from 66 communities across the state that read, discussed, and built activities around the book. Communities held hundreds of events across the state, including Vermont Reads days in Bennington and Winooski.

Vermont Public Radio featured a twelve-part serial broadcast of a reading of the book. VHC thanks the organizations and volunteers throughout who made Vermont Reads such a success.

Vermont Reads Counting on Grace Information Packet

Jo Bodeon. A "back-roper" in mule room. Burlington, Vt. Chace Cotton Mill. By Lewis Hine, Library of Congress.

Young boy polishing marble at the Vermont Marble Co., Centre Rutland, Vermont. September 1910 by Lewis Hine, Library of Congress

Cover: “Anaemic little spinner [Addie Card] in North Pownal Cotton Mill,” August 1910. Photo by Lewis Hine.


















Vermont Reads 2007 Sponsors


Media Partner
With support from the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation



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