Lyddie is a novel written by Chinese-born American Katherine Paterson. Set in the 19th century, this is a story of determination and personal growth. A story of determination and personal growth, “Lyddie,” by Katherine Paterson, has already established itself as a classic. Have you ever had to help your family? In this lesson, you will learn about the book ‘Lyddie’ and how the main character must leave her home and go.

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Readers who know Ms. Lyddis ability to portray a different time and place through believable and likeable characters will not be disappointed in this book for sixth graders and up.

InLyddie Worthen, an impoverished Vermont farm girl, is determined to gain her independence and money to pay off the debts of the farm. Her father left the farm to earn money, but has not been heard from since. Her mother, crazed by her obsession with an End-of-the-World religion, rents the farm and hires out Charlie 10 and Lyddie 13 into a kind of bondage. Charlie, accepted into the family he was hired out to, does well. Lyddie is hired out to a tavern where, after observing the apparently successful life of lyddiw young female textile factory worker, she decides to go to the factories at Lowell, Massachusetts.

The remainder of the book is set in and around the mills with their exploitation and paternal regulation of the workers. The life in the Lowell mills is extremely regulated. The workers are exploited by the owners and bosses and those who agitate are dealt with harshly.

Illness is a major concern. Lyddie becomes friends lyyddie Diana Goss, Betsy and Brigid. When she is dismissed, Lyddie decides to go to Oberlin College Ohio for an education. She says she may return to Luke Stevens a young Quaker to marry when she is “not a slave.

LYDDIE by Katherine Paterson | Kirkus Reviews

Ptaerson we first meet Lyddie she stares down a bear and there are other metaphoric bears for her to kahterine down throughout the book for readers to identify. The equation of exploited workers’ lots with those of slaves’ is worthy of debate and the role that literacy plays in the book, from the misspelled but prophetic, “we can still hop” through her own development of reading skill to teaching the other workers and to her own pursuit of education at Oberlin can patersin traced.


Extensions of this book can result in a research unit on labor, child labor in specific, or on the role of mills in the economy of New England. Don’t leave the book without paying Paterson’s writing ability some attention. How does she make kaherine feel and hear what her characters do? Paterson uses foreshadowing when she says, “It was because of the molded sugar that Lyddie’s dream of taking the calf money home came true, though she couldn’t have known how that dream was going to come out.

What other techniques can you identify? Activities Make copies of Lyddie’s correspondence and watch her spelling, grammar and use of words improve. What’s causing the improvement? Lyddie’s discovery of the runaway slave Ezekial Abernathy, in her abandoned house, is her first contact with a black person. Why did he have to hide even in Massachusetts? What were the slave laws at katherins time? He makes Lyddie paterwon her own position. Is she a slave? Why does she give him the calf money?

Reference is made to the fact that the railroads are bringing cheaper wool to the mills from the West, eliminating most of the sheep-raising in Kayherine England at the time. Other effect of the railroads at the time might be worth exploring for some researchers. Paterson lets us see the details of the company owned boarding house, hear the clatter of the looms and smell the lint-filled air of the mill.

The beginnings of lydeie labor movement are represented in Diana whose radical ideas include petitioning for better working conditions. Lyddie sings some lines from a union song. Can you find and sing others? The employment of children is worth investigating. What are the child labor laws now? And what about the mills of Lowell?

If they are now abandoned, where is wool fabric made now? InNew York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory caught fire and people died, mostly sweatshop seamstresses unable to escape. Had the conditions in the mills changed much in the seventy five years between ppaterson time of Lyddie’s mill and this one?

What did cause the change finally? What are the working conditions in factories now? Interview some factory workers to latherine out. Find out which companies in your area have the best relationship with their laborers.


Are most of the factories unionized? Why or why not? Look at the rest of Paterson’s work.

Her settings vary widely. If you had her abilities where would your next book be set? What setting lyddei you know katherinr about to write a story with that setting?

There are other books about the labor movement, one of the best being a book for younger readers, Trouble at the Mines by Doreen Rappaport Crowell, ISBN oaterson This is the fictionalized account of the coal miners’ strike in Arnot and the part that Mother Jones played in it as seen through the eyes of Rosie Wilson, a young girl whose family suffers greatly because of the strike but comes out with jobs and lives intact.

Readers should have no trouble making analogies between work in the mill and in the mines. Several books are mentioned in Lyddie where reading takes such an important role: Children might like to hear parts of them or look at them or watch the movie Oliver.

Lyddie says she understands Fagin. Katherine Paterson from Newsletter. Rivers Free Teacher’s Guides: A listing of all our teacher’s guides.

Lyddie – Wikipedia

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