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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Pownal Literary Event

12:00AM / Monday, April 24, 2006

Pownal, Vt.- The public is invited to celebrate Addie Card and her fictional counterpart, Grace Forcier, at a May 6 "Counting On Grace" launch party.

The event is scheduled for at 2:00 PM, at the Solomon Wright Library in Pownal, Vt.

Addie Card was an icon of the child labor movement.

Photographed at a North Pownal cotton mill by the famous activist-reformer Lewis Hine in 1910, the image of the 12-year old girl became a symbol of everything that was wrong with industrial-era child labor.

In recent years, Addie's photograph has appeared in a Reebok ad and a 1998 U.S. postage stamp.

Most recently, the image inspired the fictional "Counting On Grace" by author Elizabeth Winthrop, which was published by Random House in March of this year.

At the upcoming event, Winthrop will describe how she recovered Addie's life story beyond the mill – a tale that other experts, including the Department of Labor, had been unable to recover.

Addie's story, and Winthrop's tireless search for the girl behind the photograph, is a story as compelling as the fictional work itself. Addie herself lived for almost a century, experiencing in her lifetime both the dark side of the American dream, and tremendous love of family.

Through the last century, however, the girl behind the photograph
remained an enigma; literally nothing was known about Addie herself.

That is, until now.

Winthrop, who wrote the book after seeing Addie's image at
the Bennington Museum a few years ago, was determined to find out
more. And – after months of sleuthing – she did.

Addie's descendants and well-wishers, as well as community members and other individuals who have been touched by the book, will be
on hand for the celebration.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information,
contact the Solomon Wright Library in Pownal, at 802-823-5400.

About "Counting On Grace"

Set against the backdrop of rural New England in the early 1900s,
Elizabeth Winthrop's "Counting On Grace" (Random House/ $16.95) follows the life of young Grace Forcier, a twelve-year-old girl who leaves school to work in the town mill with her mother and sister.

Despite the laws that prevent children from working in the mills until the age of fourteen, Grace's mother is able to produce papers that offer Grace entrance into this seemingly enticing world. It is notuntil her full inception into the exploitive culture of the mill, thatGrace begins to miss her former life. With her family in dire need of the extra money, she sees no escape from her fate.

Grace, like all others in her town, seems destined to follow this path of least resistance.

It is only through the vision of the town's school teacher, Miss
Lesley, that Grace and her friend Arthur are able to imagine an
alternative to the dangerous existence in the mill that has now become their everyday reality. She encourages them to continue their school lessons after church on Sundays and facilitates the arrival of the famous reformer, Lewis Hine. It is Lewis Hine and his incredibly affecting photographs that serve as the catalyst for Grace's shift in perspective and her movement toward something more.

Narrated from the captivating and brutally realistic perspective of
Grace, Elizabeth Winthrop creates a vivid and emotional portrait of
life in a mill town during the early 1900s.

For more information on Winthrop's search for Addie, please
visit www.elizabethwinthrop.com.

About Elizabeth Winthrop

Elizabeth Winthrop is the bestselling author of more than fifty books
for readers of all ages, including the award-winning classic "The
Castle in the Attic" and its sequel, "The Battle for the Castle."

Her popular picture books include "Dumpy LaRue," "Dog Show,"
and "Shoes." Her most recent novel for middle-grade readers,
"The Red-Hot Rattoons," is a comic fantasy set in New York City,
where the author makes her home for half the year.
For the remaining months, she lives in northwestern Massachusetts,
two miles from the small Vermont mill town where "Counting on Grace"
is set.

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