Like most everybody else in the middle of the Great Depression, sixteen-year-old Liberty Justice Jones is, well, stuck. But living smack-dab in the Lost Pines of Texas, where anyone can walk into the forest and chop a tree for free, with a debt-burdened mom who’s trying to make a go of a newfangled idea called a Christmas tree farm—that’s stuck bad. Especially if your dream is college.
Liberty’s younger brother, Jefferson, is no help, and neither is their addled grandmother. Liberty’s only hope is her own wits. But if she’s so smart, she wonders, why can’t she figure out a way to help their family and get off this wreck of a farm?
Learning of the five-hundred-dollar prize for the most beautiful Christmas tree delivered to the state capitol, Liberty hatches a plot. With the aid of their aging draft horse, Quiller; their derelict tractor, Stella; and Rudy, a kid pulled between America and Mexico and fresh off the rails, she’s determined to move a twenty-five-foot tree all the way to Austin in the snow and ice—without getting caught.
With the sparkling dialogue and spunky humor that fans have come to love in her heroines, and a perceptive eye and ear for historical detail, award-winning author Randall Platt takes readers young and old on a spirited adventure set in a time when dreams were all many folks had.
Liberty Justice Jones will steal your heart (and maybe a few other things for a worthy cause) no matter where you’re from or when you were born. Grounding Liberty’s story in the social and economic issues of Depression-era Texas, Randall Platt captures the frustration and inventiveness of a smart girl who refuses to give up. Fast-moving action and poignant moments of family bring this Christmas-tree story to life. You’ll root for the delightful Miss Jones just as I did! —Jane Kirkpatrick, New York Times best-selling author of Where Lilacs Still Bloom
Dreams and schemes are traditional among “them Jones wimen,” described around Central Texas as “crazier’n liquored up loons.” This non-depressing Depression story depicts a “creative” family trying to avoid foreclosure on their property that is planted in Christmas trees. (In Texas?!?) The glossary is a great addition for the American 1930s public history lesson. Randall Platt continues her award-winning writing—highly recommended! —Sue Kopp, Library Director, Warner Pacific College, and Willa Award reviewer
Can’t see the trees for the forest? Liberty Justice Jones can, but then she’s brilliant—little good it does her in a small town in the throes of depression that leave a fatherless family without anything, sometimes even food. Without, except for resourcefulness in the worst of times. This is a transcendent story for all the seasons of life, offering a lesson for here and now. —Joyce Gibson Roach, author of The Cowgirls and Horned Toad Canyon