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Texas Reader: Searching for Liberty in the Depression

'Liberty’s Christmas’ provides a holiday lesson set in Texas for teens.

By Stephanie Salinas

Stuck under the heavy hammer of Depression-era debt, Liberty Justice Jones, a teenager in 1930s Central Texas, takes it upon herself to save her family’s Christmas tree farm.

Liberty’s Christmas, by Randall Platt, is a story that is overgrown with Texas pride and family love. After the death of Liberty’s father, her family is trapped under the hardships of debt during the Great Depression and is at risk of losing their livelihood. After coming up with several ideas about how to raise enough money to keep her family’s tree farm, Tree Acres, Liberty takes action and decides to enter a Christmas tree contest in Austin with the hope of winning and using the prize money to pay off debt.

Texas Parks & Wildlife readers of all ages will enjoy this book’s descriptions of the beauty of Texas scenery and references to areas that can still be visited today, such as Bastrop’s loblolly pines, Houston and Austin. This perfect Christmas stocking stuffer will send readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride through the Texas Hill Country, guided along the way by family love, determination and an old horse named Quiller.

Liberty’s adventure, and her refusal to accept the foreclosure of her family farm, takes a page from history and delivers a personal and relatable experience that accurately maps the social and economic problems of Depression-era Texas. Randall Platt will have you rooting for Liberty to succeed from the very first page.

Because this story is told from a teen perspective, this book will give younger readers a taste of the lifestyle during those days. The future of children, especially girls, is a lot brighter now than it was in the early 20th century.

“There’s only so much a person can do when she’s watching her whole future, which happens to be wrapped around a two-bit spark plug, go pling-plop-plummeting down into oblivion,” Liberty says.

 


Related stories

Texas Reader: Who is Mother Neff?

Texas Reader: Crawfish Chronicles


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