Across Five Aprils

By: Irene Hunt

About Irene Hunt and her book "Across Five Aprils"

Hunt was close to her grandfather who told her stories from his youth, which she incorporated into Across Five Aprils. Irene Hunt was an American children's writer known best for historical novels. She was a runner-up for the Newbery Medal for her first book, Across Five Aprils, Across Five Aprils is during the Civil War era. Jethro Creighton is young and clueless when the Civil War begins. At first he thinks the war will be neat and full of marching soldiers and demonstrative patriotism. He learns the actual meaning of war as his three brothers, cousin, and his teacher go off to fight in the war. One of his brothers, Bill, chooses to fight for the South in a decision that changes him for the longest. Jethro and his family follow the progress of the war through the newspapers, but it is hard to tell exactly what is happening.

Important quotes and explanantions

"I don't know if anybody ever "wins" a war, Jeth. I think that the beginnin's of this war has been fanned by hate till it's a blaze now; and a blaze kin destroy him that makes it and him that the fire was set to hurt."

In Chapter 3, Bill and Jethro talk about the war. Bill knows how high the stakes are in the war, and he also knows that no matter who wins and who loses, everyone will, in some way lose. Bill is right about the war but goes and fights anyway, defying not only his fears and his feelings, but also the North

"May God bless you for the earnestness with which you have tried to seek out what is right; may He guide both of us in that search during the days ahead of us."

At the end of Chapter 9 Jethro receives a letter back from President Lincoln. These are the closing words. Regardless of Jethro's actions, Lincoln recognizes in them an honest attempt to do the right thing, and he does upon that and rewards Jethro for it. The president may make decisions that some disagree with, but this letter represents his humanity, which is something that there is precious little of throughout the war.

"It was the saddest and most cruel April of the five. It had held out an almost unbelievable joy and had then struck out in fury at those whose hands were outstretched."

At the end of Chapter 12, Jethro is in disbelief over the death of the president. The end of the war was supposed to bring relief and happiness, but instead it brought only deeper grief. The book ends on a darker, sadder note than one might have expected, with the death of Lincoln overshadowing what life was spared during the war.

Main Conflict

A protagonist is Jethro Creighton, a boy struggling with the responsibilities of manhood and the uncertainties of war. He is forced to try to understand loss on many levels. He loses a sister in a tragic wagon accident, loses his teacher and friend, Shadrach, to the Union war effort, loses his brother, Bill, to the Southern war effort and estrangement from family and friends, another brother, Tom, to a Confederate bullet, and his favored President Lincoln to an assassin’s bullet.

Most important Point

As the war escalates, battles are won and lost, the perception of who is the victor constantly wavering. The story climaxes as the war climaxes. The battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg begin the trend toward Union triumph. Then with Sherman’s success in Georgia and South Carolina the momentum carries the Union to victory.


The book ends on a note that one might have expected, with the death of Lincoln overshadowing what life was spared during the war. Jethro is out to find the assassin of Lincoln.

Details That Make The Boook Interesting

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln made the book interesting. Also, just the book being during the war times and his family choosing to go off for their country, America, in war.

Historical References

The first historical reference is the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and this is important due to him being one of our presidents and he was a great one.

The next historical reference is just the two sides fighting in the Civil War. This was a very important role and war for men and women.

The last historical reference is the Mexican war and this is important because it is another war that America had a good outcome from.

Review and Convincing

I would recommend this book to anyone, because it talks about the Civil War and Mexican War and brings in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Overall it is just a great historical book to me.

You should read this book, because it will teach you a lot of historical information like the two wars previously motioned and it talks about the life of a family that was split due to the wars.