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Historical Fiction -- Life in New York During the 1900s


New York City has to be one of the greatest places in America, if not the world. Luckily for us, many authors have chronicled The Big Apple's antics in a way just right for kids.

Here are some of the books available. This is not yet a complete list, but I'm adding books to the list daily. If you wish to purchase any of these books, click on either the title or the book cover to be directed to Amazon.com. As a warning, I have put up pictures of the book covers to give you somewhat an idea of the style of each book (I know, I know. "Don't judge a book by its cover") so the pages may load slowly, depending on the speed of your internet connection.

The categories below are sorted by approximate age group and topical categories. Feel free to browse around. The same links are located on the left side of your screen. To return back to this page, simply click on the "Welcome" link on the left.

If this website came up without frames, click here to see the complete "New York City Books for Kids" website with frames.

Other Pages of Interest:
Fiction & Historical Fiction: General Books About New York City (Nonfiction) | Fiction NYC Picture Books and "Easy Reader" Stories (Ages 4-8) | Fiction NYC Books (Ages 9-12) | New York Fiction for Young Adults | New York Historical Fiction (Colonial Period and Revolutionary War) | New York Historical Fiction (Ellis Island & Immigration) | New York Historical Fiction (Life in the 1800s) | New York Historical Fiction (Life in the 1900s)

NYC History: New York Biographies | Native Americans from New York (History and Historical Fiction) | New York History (Colonial Period and Revolutionary War) | New York History (Immigration and Ellis Island) | New York History (The 1800s) | New York History (The 1900s) | The World Trade Center and September 11, 2001 |

NYC Locations: The Statue of Liberty | The Empire State Building | Central Park | NYC Art Museums (Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, etc.) | NYC's American Museum of Natural History | Harlem Books (Including books about the Harlem Renaissance) | Chinatown Books | Little Italy Books | The New York City Subway System | Brooklyn Books | The Bronx Books | Queens Books | Staten Island Books | Long Island Books | Upstate New York Books | New York State Books

Life and Travel in NYC: Thanksgiving in New York City | Christmas in New York City | New York Sports Teams and Players The NYC Fire Department (FDNY) and NY Police Department (NYPD) | General Books About Cities | New York City and New York State Test Preparation and Study Guides | New York Regents Review Books | Parenting in New York City | New York Travel Guides for Families with Children

NYC Toys, Puzzles, and Games (For Kids & Adults) | Amazon.com Coupon Codes



Books for Beginning Readers



Mimmy & Sophie

By Miriam Cohen
Mimmy and Sophie live in Brooklyn, New York, during the Great Depression. Like most sisters, they have a lot in common, but they're also different: Mimmy dreams of owning an Oldsmobile that she can fix with her own tools, and of growing up to be a trolley driver, while Sophie prefers to talk to her dolls. Sometimes Mimmy and Sophie are best friends, sometimes they aren't. But no matter what, they are always sisters. And although their family may not have enough money for a vacation, they can make a ride down Pitkin Avenue or a picnic on the Brooklyn Bridge seem just as much fun. These four irresistible stories unfold in fifty-eight picture frames, capturing the essence of time and place and sisterhood.

Description from Publisher

This is a lovely, old-fashioned picture book in four chapters that grandmothers especially will find hard to resist for reading aloud to their grand offspring. Set in Brooklyn during the Great Depression, the mini-stories are about two sisters, four and six or seven, and their prickly but loving relationship. It was a time when ice creams cost a nickel, automobiles were beyond the means of most families, and entertainment meant Sunday dinner with grandparents or an impromptu picnic on the Brooklyn Bridge. The author evokes the period without sentimentality, and the artist recreates a Brooklyn neighborhood as it must have looked in the days of trolley cars, safe neighborhood streets to play on, and autos with rumble seats. Children like realistic stories of "long ago", even more so when the grown-up reader can embellish the author's words with family stories from the past. A 1999 Parents' Choice® Recommendation.

Description from Parents' Choice

The place is Brooklyn, the time is the Depression, and Mimmy and Sophie share the push and pull that sisterhood brings. The action is divided into four vignettes, each sweeter than the next. In the first, Mimmy and Sophie are hopeful that one of them will have the lucky Popsicle stick worth a dream prize. Little Sophie's dream is to visit the imaginary Babyland. When her stick isn't lucky, she starts crying, and Mimmy comforts her--while both their treats melt. But they're lucky after all, because the ice-cream man gives them two free ice creams. In the second story, the girls try to make happy memories for their grandparents, who carry with them bad remembrances of czarist Russia. By the third vignette, Mimmy is tired of being Sophie's older sister, but when ostracized by a friend, Mimmy turns to Sophie. And last of all is the family "vacation" on the Brooklyn Bridge, where lack of money for a real trip doesn't preclude family fun. Yeszerski's blocks of pictures have an almost comic-strip look, but the watercolor-and-ink art is not cartoony: it has an old-fashioned feel, and its details re-create a special time and place. The story's familial elements, on the other hand, are timeless, and it is these constants that will attract today's kids.

Description from Booklist

Rivka's First Thanksgiving

By Elsa Okon Rael
More than anything, Rivka wants to celebrate Thanksgiving. She has learned all about the holiday in school and knows her family has a lot to be thankful for in America. But Rivka's parents are Jewish immigrants from Poland, and they wonder what Pilgrims and Indians have to do with them. Is Thanksgiving really a holiday for Jews?

Rivka's grandmother, Bubbeh, decides to take over: She will bring Rivka to see the Rabbi Yoshe Preminger -- and whatever the Rabbi concludes, Rivka will have to live with. Rivka knows that Thanksgiving is a holiday for all Americans, from all backgrounds and religions. But how can she convince the esteemed Rabbi Preminger?

Elsa Okon Rael and Maryann Kovalski bring the bustling Lower East Side to life in this heartwarming story. Set in the 1910s, Rivka's First Thanksgiving is about respecting old traditions while embracing new ones, about giving thanks and celebrating freedom in America. Perhaps most important, Rivka's story teaches us that even the wisest adults have something to learn from children.

Description from Publisher

This paean to the wisdom of children is based on Rael's ( When Zaydeh Danced on Eldridge Street, etc.) own memories as a child of Jewish immigrants growing up on Manhattan's Lower East Side and will remind many readers of Barbara Cohen's Molly's Pilgrim. Like Cohen's tale, Rivka Rubin's story is set in early 20th-century New York City. In Rael's treatment, however, it is the child who understands intuitively that Thanksgiving is indeed a holiday for all Americans and thus may rightfully be embraced by recently arrived Jews, for they have much to be grateful for in having arrived in the US. It's not so easy to convince the adults around her, though, unfamiliar as they are with this American tradition. The neighborhood's revered rabbi initially decides that Thanksgiving is not a celebration for Jews, and that's enough to settle the matter for Rivka's family. Determinedly and with a show of the special brand of chutzpah given only to children, Rivka writes the rabbi a letter that begins: "My Bubbeh believes you are the wisest man in the whole world, but I cannot agree with her." The rabbi ultimately gives his blessing to Rivka's argument and is invited to sit at the head of the table at the Rubin family's first Thanksgiving celebration in America. Kovalski's ( Jingle Bells, etc.) charming drawings, rendered in colored pencils and acrylics, burst with good cheer and beautifully depict the bustling streets of the Lower East Side and its close-knit families.

Description from Kirkus Reviews


Peppe the Lamplighter

By Elisa Bartone

Awards:
  • 1994 Caldecott Honor Book

Peppe, a young immigrant, lives in a tenement in Little Italy in the early 1900s. His mother is dead, his father is ill, and the boy must help support his eight sisters. The street lamplighter offers him a temporary job, and Peppe accepts with pride and excitement. His father disapproves, but the girls encourage him. Peppe imagines each light to be ``a small flame of promise for the future'' and makes a wish for those he loves at each lamp. His father's continued disapproval discourages him and makes him so ashamed that one night he gives up. This night, his youngest sister does not come home because she is afraid of the dark. Peppe's father then pleads with him to light the lamps, admitting it is an important job. This is a pleasant story about a boy's aspirations and the values that shape character. The brilliant color illustrations are perfect in capturing the flavor of the neighborhood. They give a strong sense of time and place. The play of light from the streetlamps and kerosene lamps is especially striking, and the composition of each page is so embracing that readers will feel taken in, whether it is an interior scene or a sweeping streetscape. A solid, refreshing selection that can stand on its own, but would be great to use with immigrant studies.

Description from School Library Journal

The story avoids sentimentality in favor of simplicity and a touch of lyricism (when Peppe lights the lamps he imagines each one to be a 'small flame of promise for the future'); Peppe's quiet quest for familial respect and pleasure in his work is touching and rhythmically written. The early-American city scenes are dark but have a nice period luminescence in the myriad street and table lamps, and the earth-toned watercolors lend the bustling streets and interiors of Little Italy an air both somber and lively. This is a pleasing kid-centered slice of history that possesses a warmth and dignity to which contemporary youngsters will relate.

Description from Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

What Zeesie Saw on Delancey Street

By Elsa Okon Rael
Many picture books about early immigrant communities don't get beyond ethnic celebration, but here there's a real story, and it grows right out of the culture. The setting is a Jewish American community on Manhattan's Lower East Side in the early 1900s. On her seventh birthday, Zeesie is excited to attend her first "package party" with her parents; it's a fund-raising party where families and friends who emigrated from the same village abroad get together and organize to bring new immigrants to America. Priceman's gouache illustrations in folk art-style are packed with movement, character, and color, expressing Zeesie's delight in the foods and people and exuberant partying. But then there's a quiet moment, a secret. There's a room at the party where the adults go in, always one at a time. Zeesie's not supposed to enter the room, but when she does, she discovers sorrow and also community. It's the combination of the exuberant fellowship with the secret of individual need that makes a great story. Yiddish words, explained in the glossary, add warmth and joyful detail, and the endpapers include two delicious recipes.

Description from Booklist

On her seventh birthday, Zeesie attends her first "package party," a community celebration to raise money to support new immigrants. As the auction proceeds with great merriment, her father leaves the table to go to a "money room" where each man privately gives or takes money according to his need. Zeesie enters it when no one is looking, and is horrified when there is a tapping at the door. Hiding behind a stack of boxes, she watches as her father's friend counts out eight dollars from the box and whispers a prayer in Hebrew. She is ashamed for having violated the privacy that surrounds the room and leaves her birthday dollar in the box. She returns nervously to the party but feels the quiet satisfaction of giving. Priceman's lively paintings add an air of festivity to the activities and provide a rich visual setting for the 1930's Lower East Side of New York City. There is a rosy, golden tone to most of the pages that speaks of the warmth of childhood memories, but the page composition and point of view keep the story moving with the rhythm of a folk dance. The book is nicely designed and includes two recipes on the endpapers. Rael also provides an author's note about the background of the story and lantsleit, or the community groups, that existed at the time, a model for community service and giving that is still appropriate today

Description from School Library Journal


Hannah and the Whistling Teakettle

By Mindy Warshaw Skolsky
Nostalgia and humor are savory ingredients in Skolsky's picture-book tale (adapted from a story in The Whistling Teakettle: And Other Stories About Hannah) starring the heroine of Love from Your Friend, Hannah. Here Hannah visits her grandparents, who own a candy store in the Bronx. Rendered in oil pastels, Palmisciano's (Last Licks: A Spaldeen Story) animated, brightly colored pictures credibly convey the 1930s setting and capture the affectionate bond between two generations. Before boarding the bus, Hannah deliberates over what gift to buy for her practical grandma, who routinely returns presents with the explanation, "Thank you very much, but it's not a necessity." The girl decides on a silver teakettle with a little red bird whistle on the end of its spout. While the woman initially reacts to the gift in her customary fashion, an unusual turn of events makes her change her mind. Skolsky conveys all the warmth between family members that permeate her other Hannah books, and the artwork only underscores their bond. Period details hark back to the days of leisurely afternoons at the soda fountain, while the characters' universal emotions make the illustrations accessible and familiar.

Description from Publishers Weekly

Hannah decides to travel all the way from the country to the Bronx to see her grandparents. It's her first time traveling alone. Even though her grandmother is notorious for refusing presents that are "not a necessity," Hannah brings her a special whistling teakettle. At first, Hannah's grandmother refuses the gift, insisting her old nonwhistling one works fine. However, after the whistling kettle saves Grandma, Hannah, and Grandma's candy store from robbers, Grandma decides to keep it because "Life is a necessity." This sweet, warm-hearted story of family life in 1930s New York is charmingly illustrated by Palmisciano in bright colors, with characters and settings having a fun, comic strip feel to them. Except for details such as hairstyles, clothing, and five-cent phone booths, the story is timeless.

Description from Booklist

It was almost impossible to buy a present for Hannah's grandmother. Whether the gift was a waffle iron or bedroom slippers, Grandma would always say the same thing: "Thank you very much, but it's not a necessity." What could Hannah bring her Bronx-dwelling, soda-fountain-owning grandmother that she wouldn't be forced to return? When she finds a bright silver whistling teakettle with a little red bird at the top, she thinks she's struck gold. After all, her Grandma and Grandpa's kettle is "so old it has bumps."

Hannah can't believe her ears when her grandmother deems the kettle a luxury item. But in an astonishing turn of events in which the piercing "E-e-e-e!" of the teakettle scares off some robbers, Hannah's gift turns out to be very necessary indeed. "'That little bird on the kettle maybe saved our life!' Hannah's grandmother had said. And life she said, was a necessity!" Young readers will love this story of the spirited young Hannah whose thoughtful gift ultimately saves the day. Diane Palmisciano's warm, winning, cartoonish illustrations are the perfect match for this charming, old-fashioned yet timeless story about a close-knit, loving family and what is really important.

Description from Amazon.com

Hannah's grandmother, a loving granny, but a hard case when it comes to accepting gifts, learns the pleasures and benefits of receiving in this story of expectations. Hannah is on a visit to her grandfolks and their soda fountain in the Bronx. She has brought along a whistling teapot as a present for her grandmother, who routinely returns most gifts as frivolous. That appears to be the fate of this one as well when grandma gives it the curse: "It's not a necessity." When Grandma's attention is distracted by a customer out front, Hannah takes the opportunity to put the kettle on the old stove and demonstrate that her grandma no longer need let her tea water boil silently away. Two strange men enter the shop and while one tries to distract Grandma, the other jimmies the pay phone. Next thing you know all chaos breaks loose as a high-pitched whistle cuts the air. Thinking its a police whistle, the robbers skedaddle. Grandma figures she'll keep the kettle after all: " `That little bird on the kettle maybe saved our life!' Hannah's grandmother had said. And life, she said, was a necessity." Palmisciano's (A Spaldeen Story) artwork is filled with little details that fix the time period as a gentler one: Grandmas sagging socks, Grandpas two-toned shoes, and the old-fashioned shop with its 20 cent sundaes. A charming story from a more innocent time.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

The Saturday Kid

By Edward Sorel

Awards:
  • A 2000 Parents' Choice® Gold Award.
Saturday is Leo's favorite day of the week. It's the day he goes to the movies. The only problem is Morty, the neighborhood bully and troublemaker, who gets Leo thrown out of the movie one afternoon -- for something Morty has done! Leo dreams of getting even with Morty, but how?

Soon Leo is chosen to play his violin in a concert at City Hall -- an event covered by a newsreel cameraman -- and he actually shakes hands with the Mayor! But when Leo tells his friends about the concert, Morty just jeers at him and tries to pick a fight. The way in which Morty finally gets his comeuppance makes a totally satisfying ending for Leo and for readers.

In a lively text with glorious, masterfully conceived and painted pictures, Edward Sorel, a distinguished artist, gives a splendid sense of New York in the 1930s and a boy's dreams of glory come true.

Description from Publisher

Children are always interested in what the world was like before their arrival into it, and Edward Sorel's evocative line drawings with watercolor overlay recreate a New York City of the 1930s. The Third Avenue El was alive and well; a Saturday afternoon at the movies was the highpoint of the week; and the newsreel was part and parcel of every film program. Sorel magically recreates the rococo movie palaces of a past era and brings back the stars of yesteryear: James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Errol Flynn, etc. Grandparents will enjoy this as well as young readers and listeners as they follow the hero Morty and share his triumph when he unexpectedly witnesses himself on the Big Screen shaking hands with New York's Mayor - Fiorello La Guardia, of course. This is a graphic tour de force.

Description from Parents' Choice

Robust, larger-than-life scenes awash in nostalgia portray the New York of another era, when Saturdays were for going to the movies, and all the stories had happy endings. Leo is a nice kid bothered by a bully named Morty, who manages to get the usher to boot Leo out of the theater. Later, Morty disparages Leo's account of playing violin and shaking hands with the mayor. Leo comes out on top, however, when Morty and his parents turn up at the same theater where Leo has gone with his mom. There, everyone gets to see the newsreel footage of a floor-to-ceiling Leo playing violin and being congratulated by the mayor. "Keep up the good work," says Morty's dad afterward, and Leo knows he's safe from Morty's mouth. The dynamic pen-and-wash drawings are never static; their rush of detail captures the city with fond affection. Whether the scenes are pulsing cityscapes or a cozy apartment, the mood is energetic and upbeat, and Leo is a winner.

Description from Booklist


Snow White in New York

By Fiona French
Pulsating with the rhythm and vibrancy of the Jazz Age, this dazzling picture book is set in New York City in the 1920s. The story may be familiar, but the cast of characters will surprise you. Snow White is a beautiful jazz baby, protected by seven hot jazzmen. Instead of a wicked stepmother, her arch-enemy is the Queen of the Underworld. And her Prince Charming is a crack reporter from the New York Mirror. The breezy and clever text complements the style and color of the art deco illustrations, making this a picture book of astonishing originality.

Description from Publisher

Astonishing pictures highlight this sophisticated book about a classy New York dame named Snow White. Her troubles come when her father marries the Queen of the Underworld, who resents Snow White's popularity. Snow White is left by one of the Queen's henchmen to die on the streets of New York, but she stumbles into a club where seven jazzmen make her their singer. She's a hit again, so the Queen throws a party for her, doctoring Snow White's drink with a poison cherry. All of New York turns out for the funeral, but when her coffin is jolted, Snow White wakes up; the cherry was merely lodged in her throat. Suave and witty, this story is elevated by its pictures to dizzying, art deco heights. This might be readers' first look at a unique style of art, but they may wish for a change in the ending -- Snow White's stepmom should have been given a pair of cement shoes!

Description from Publishers Weekly

Flying over Brooklyn

By Myron Uhlberg
A young boy trudges through deep snow in a neighborhood park. Suddenly a strong wind grabs his coat and lifts the child up into the air. Soon the boy is soaring high above his strangely silent, snow-covered neighborhood. As he flies over familiar sites-a bridge over a frozen river, a baseball field, and an amusement park-he gains a new perspective on the world around him. The boy's airborne adventure provides a magical-if temporary-escape from the routine of everyday life. In the end the boy returns to the safety of his home and family, but is left wondering: Was it all just a marvelous dream or did it really happen?

Author Myron Uhlberg's story is based in part on his own childhood memories of the Great Blizzard of 1947 which blanketed Brooklyn and the surrounding area under several feet of snow. An author's note at the back of the book provides details about the snowstorm and places this fantasy in its historical context. Illustrator Gerald Fitzgerald two-page, gently softened illustrations beautifully evoke the story's nostalgia and dreamlike quality.

Description from Publisher

Everyone plays a role in bringing this story alive for any child who has ever dreamed of flying--and who hasn't? Before the story even begins, Gerald Fitzgerald has painted two pages of bootprints-in-the-snow, heading right up and off the page. Even the typesetter has let the words roll up and down the page as "I flapped my arms...I jumped from chairs..."--all in the effort to fly. Then suddenly it happens--"...as a fresh gust of wind billowed my coat, I sailed up through the snowflakes into the great gray sky." In warm billowy pastels, we see the Brooklyn Bridge, Ebbets Field, and Coney Island. There are touches of an earlier generation, when the author was actually a boy growing up in Brooklyn--old fashioned toys, ear flaps whipping in the wind. Flying Over Brooklyn offers a bit of history (there really was a blizzard of historic proportions in Brooklyn in 1947 with 25.8 inches of snow with 8 foot drifts), and a big burst of imagination.

Description from Children's Literature

Irene and the Big, Fine Nickel

By Irene Smalls
"Harlem [in the 50's] was a place where nobody locked the door, and you never questioned being black because there were a million people who looked just like you." Smalls-Hector's story, presumably based on reminiscence, follows Irene through one happy, event-filled Saturday: washing her face in the kitchen bathtub; going past the "toilet room" to a neighbor's apartment, where her twin best friends are among the 13 children and there's always delicious food to share; squabbling and then making up with another girl--"Charlene's people came from...down south, and they were church people"--(the traded insults are wonderfully mild); fearlessly playing in the park; finding a nickel and spending it on a bun big enough to share four ways. Like Howard's Chita's Christmas Tree, this book lovingly recreates the secure childhood of an African-American child in the not-too-distant past. New illustrator Geter makes an outstanding debut, combining a warm palette, impressionistic use of light, a pleasing sense of design, and an affectionately realistic portrayal of the girls. The lengthy text is appropriate as a readaloud or for young readers.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

An idyllic reminiscence of Harlem in the '50s, showing the human spirit that made this place welcoming and warm. Seven-year-old Irene is an independent youngster. Readers follow her through a summer Saturday as she visits neighbors, plays in the park and on city sidewalks, fights and makes up with friends, listens to the music drifting through open doors, and plants a fire-escape garden. The day's high point comes with the discovery of a nickel in the clean and normally empty gutter. Irene and her friends buy a raisin bun and, with the sharing of the food, cement their relationship. This is a quiet picture book with wide appeal; each spread includes a full-page oil painting illustrating the action and a page of fairly dense text. Geter's broad brush strokes are without outlines, letting the colors do all the work. Beautiful brown children are captured in rich tones and in natural poses, perfectly complementing the happiness described in the text. Irene's godmother sums up the story's sentiments best when she says, "God don't love ugly, bein' mean and fightin' is not the best thing to do." Amen to that.

Description from School Library Journal

The Babe Ruth Ballet School

By Tim Shortt
Perhaps you don't remember Issy Archer, the last nine-year-old girl to play big-league baseball. Issy pitches for the 1923 Yankees, and her "soaking, sopping wet" spitball is unhittable. Issy's best buddy is Babe Ruth; they hang together after games, downing Fizzy Pink Soda and wolfing chili dogs. Despite her pitching talent, Issy dreams of being a ballet dancer, and eventually she retires from the game to dance ("When a girl turns 10, she needs to consider her future" ). Babe goes along with Issy's dancing, even joining her ballet class, but her retirement gives him a major-league bellyache. With the same sort of silly irreverence that drives fractured fairy tales, Shortt upends baseball history in uproarious fashion, slaying a few gender stereotypes along the way. His rambunctious illustrations are as delightful as his text: chunky, oversize figures dominate the colorful two-page spreads, cavorting about the ball field and the ballet studio with equal abandon. Even the youngest children will catch Shortt's contagious silliness: you don't need to know who Babe Ruth was to get a chortle out of the burly Bambino displaying his ballet technique before some befuddled sportswriters. Great fun for the picture-book crowd, young and old.

Description from Booklist

Edna

By Robert Burleigh
Edna is a poet. Like most of her friends in Greenwich Village, she doesn't have much money. But then again she doesn't need much to enjoy the many pleasures of living in New York City. Not when she can hop aboard a ferry and ride back and forth, all night long, from the giant skyscrapers in Manhattan to the grassy hills of Staten Island. Imaginatively re-creating the inspiration for one of Edna St. Vincent Millay's best-known poems, "Recuerdo," this is a vibrant celebration of both the creative process and the long-ago pleasures of big-city life.

Description from Publisher

Have you ever wondered where and how a poet gets his/her inspiration? This is the lovely story of Edna St. Vincent Millay and her experiences and those of her struggling community of fellow artists and poets in New York. One special adventure, with a friend from Latin America, inspired her poem "Recuerdo," which means "remembrance" in Spanish. The illustrations and text easily transport you to those days in the early 1900s and you can imagine how Edna came to write some of America's best poetry. Included are a copy of her poem and a brief profile of Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950).

Description from Children's Literature

Beauty and the Beast

By Nancy Willard
Dramatic black-and-white wood engravings set off by scarlet initial chapter letters illustrate this version of the classic tale, set in nineteenth-century New York City and outlying areas. Willard's whimsical prose style is at its most controlled, and she has created an industrious, inquisitive heroine. The lavishly produced volume has sure-fire appeal for middle-grade lovers of fairy tales.

Description from Horn Book

Set at the turn of the century, this American version of a universal fairy tale expresses the sense of ambiguity and mysterious connection that is at the heart of the story. Everything is both itself and its opposite. Willard describes a world in which the Beast is both terrifying and enchanting: he's part of the beauty of the garden and the constellations of the sky and the commerce of the city. Beauty's father is a wealthy merchant in New York City; then he loses everything, and he and his three daughters move to a rough place in the woods. At the center of the world is the Beast's tall, dark house that draws Beauty in and transforms her. The oversize book is handsomely designed, with beautiful type and thick paper. Moser's wood engravings are as understated as those he did for "Frankenstein". There's no monstrous Beast illustrated here; the half-grotesque creature could almost be her father. Besides the shadowy house with secrets, the most memorable engraving is that of Beauty's hand on the Beast's paw, helping him; she remembers that paw later, "clumsy as a bandaged hand," and cries for the Beast. The final picture shows the Beast's transformation through an image of his hand, human now, thumbs and fingers holding hers. Teenagers will enjoy it as a haunting variation on a childhood favorite.

Description from Booklist

Beauty takes her father's place in the Beast's mansion. Through her great capacity to love, this kind and beautiful young woman releases a handsome young man from the spell which has made him into an ugly beast. Moser has created black-and-white wood engravings and bright red initial letters for each chapter will grab kids attention. The more contemporary setting of New York City and a hardworking and curious heroine bring a fresh interpretation to this timeless tale.

Description from Children's Literature

Mim's Christmas Jam

By Andrea Davis Pinkney
The best part of Christmas is the whole family savoring Mim's belly-hum jam together. But this Christmas, Pap is far away in New York City, digging a hole for something called the subway, and his family is missing him something awful. Pap aches to be home, but the heartless foremen of his dig site have decided there will be no break, not even for Christmas. It looks like it's going to be one lonely holiday for everyone.until young Saraleen and Royce send their pap a gift that may just inspire a Christmas miracle.

The recipient of a Coretta Scott King Author Honor and a two-time Caldecott Honor illustrator have created a warm and magical holiday classic about the power of love, complete with the recipe for Mim's Christmas jam. Full-color illustrations

Description from Publisher

In the Pinkneys' (Duke Ellington) hands, a tasty family tradition and New York City history make a flavorsome pairing. It's 1915, and Christmas just isn't the same when Pap must be away from Mim and their children while he works to build the New York City subway system. But a jar of Mim's "belly-hum jam" unexpectedly works its own small miracles. Vibrant scratchboard compositions skillfully contrast the dank underground construction site with the warmth of home.

Description from Publishers Weekly

Dear Old Donegal

By Steve Graham
Although it will probably be new to children, adults might remember this song popular during the 1940s. The bouncy tune (music and lyrics appear on both the first and last two-page spreads) tells the story of a poor Irish boy who sails out of Cork and lands in New York, where he makes a success. Then it's a triumphant return to Ireland, where the young man will "shake hands with all of the neighbors / And kiss the colleens all--/ You're as welcome as the flow'rs in May / To dear old Donegal." The rollicking lyric works just fine as a rhyming text and is jauntily illustrated with crosshatch-and-watercolor paintings that feature an Ireland of a different era, where all the citizens wear a touch o' the green. An afterword describes Irish immigration and tells reader that Dear Old Donegal is an example of the sentimentalized notion of the old country that is still popular. A good choice for Saint Patrick's Day story hours.

Description from Booklist

A picture-book version of a song written in the 1940s. O'Brien has taken Graham's original lyrics and fleshed out this charming account of a successful immigrant's return to his homeland. The lyrics tell of young Patrick McGuigan, who sails to New York in search of wealth and actually does strike it rich. In his prosperity, he returns home to visit. But the years have clouded his memory and he must rely upon his mother to reintroduce many family members and old friends. Children will love listening to and memorizing the litany of rhyming Irish names as well as singing along with the narrator. Piano notation and guitar chords (not on the endpapers, thank goodness!) are included, as well as notes about the song's origin and history. Through his distinctive illustrations, O'Brien adds personality to the narrator, especially when his young hero sails off alone to an unknown country and during those early lean years. The illustrator's smiling but hollow-eyed characters look like cheerful cousins to characters created by Edward Gorey and Victoria Chess. His pen-and-ink curlicues and pointillistic watercolors go on to reveal almost the whole of Ireland out to welcome their successful compatriot and celebrate his return. Great crowds of these green-clad folks play, sing, and dance their ways back into Patrick's heart and into the hearts of readers, too. Stock up for Saint Patrick's Day!

Description from School Library Journal

Ike and Mama and the Once-A-Year Suit

By Carol Snyder
It's the early 1900s, that time of the year again, time for the boys to get new suits, some for Passover, some for Easter. Ike's mother is the expert on how to get the most for their once-a-year suit. Mama, the acknowledged "best bargainer" in the Bronx, takes her ecumenical group of fourteen neighborhood boys on a shopping adventure.

Description from Publisher

Bebop-A-Do-Walk!

By Sheila Hamanaka
Emi and her best friend, Martha, take a long, joyful walk with Emi's father from their Lower East Side neighborhood in New York City. Emi is Japanese American, Martha is African American, and Hamanaka is remembering her own 1950s childhood. The friends ride the carousel in Central Park; they almost see King Kong on the top of the Empire State Building; they gape at the Museum of Modern Art; they imagine the clubs where the great jazz heroes made music. When a rich kid won't let them near his toy sailboat, Emi's father folds origami paper boats for all the kids to sail on the pond, and he also makes paper hats and paper cranes for everyone. There's not much story, just the idyllic memory; but Hamanaka's exuberant acrylic paintings capture the city close-up from many perspectives as Emi has fun with her friends and neighbors from everywhere.

Description from Booklist

Bebop-a-Do-Walk! delivers the freshness and energy that its title implies. Hamanaka sets the scene with a description of the New York of her childhood-the Lower East Side in the 1950s. On the day on which this story takes place, Emi and her best friend accompany Emi's father on a long walk. As they begin the trek that will take them to Central Park, it seems that the whole neighborhood turns out to give them a proper send off. Emi's father has people to see all along the way, and the trip takes them to landmarks such as Washington Square Park, the Empire State Building, the Museum of Modern Art, and, at last, Central Park. Hamanaka captures the girls' childlike wonder by involving all of the senses, and her description of Central Park is well worth the walk. The outing concludes with a bus trip home. Hamanaka's art is as full as the wonderful day she describes, leaving no room for white space. The text is backed by pastels and black, both of which highlight the interesting typeface and frame the energetic art. The friendship between Emi (Asian) and Martha (Black), along with their ethnically rich yet close-knit neighborhood, provides an affirming look at city life.

Description from School Library Journal

My Dad's Baseball

By Ron Cohen
The appeal of both '50s nostalgia and baseball will make Cohen's first children's book a hit with Little Leaguers as well as their parents. After a yellowed baseball rolls out of a box in his mother's attic, a man tells his seven-year-old son exactly where it came from. "Some days stay in your mind forever, Max. June 4, 1955, is one of them," he explains. On that day, it develops, the boy's father went with his father and brother to Yankee Stadium to see his very first baseball game. An extended flashback presents the father as a youngster (a diehard Milwaukee Braves fan nonetheless thrilled to watch the likes of Mickey Mantle) attending a game between the Yanks and the Detroit Tigers. The big moment arrives when the boy grabs a ball that Yogi Berra has hit into the stands; when he has it autographed the next day, his Braves cap falls out of his pocket, but Berra lets him know that his allegiance to that team is okay ("You should always be who you are"). When the story returns to the present, the father gives the ball to his delighted son. There are no surprises or unexpected twists, just a thoroughly warm tale, simply told. Effectively grainy pastels ably depict the period and convey the timeless allure of baseball.

Description from Publishers Weekly

Stumbling upon an old, autographed baseball in a box in his mother's attic, a father relates to his seven-year-old son the story of how he got it. The man's first-person account describes his thoughts and feelings when, as a seven-year-old, he went to Yankee Stadium to see his first professional game. He is thrilled with the whole experience, but his day is made when he retrieves a ball hit by Yogi Berra. Arrangements are made to have it signed by Berra the following day, and the great catcher is amused to find out that the boy is really a Braves fan. Cohen's dark, grainy paintings adequately capture the surroundings of the story, but depict the subjects with rather surreal-looking facial expressions. The baseball players mentioned are legends, such as Mays, Mantle, and Mathews, and their names might not be familiar to the intended audience. Adults, on the other hand, might have their own memories sparked by the book's setting and style.

Description from School library Journal

It's become a kind of subgenre--baby boomers writing or illustrating picture books about being young baseball fans in the fifties, usually in New York. The audience is ostensibly the young fans of today, but, in fact, it's other boomers for whom names like Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Willie Mays will never lose their romance. You can almost hear the boomers' kids saying, "Oh, Dad, do we have to read that book about old-time baseball "again"? Every now and then, though, one of these nostalgic trips to Yankee Stadium or Ebbets Field turns out to be something more than boomer self-indulgence. First-time children's book author Cohen, a successful artist, avoids the pitfalls of the subgenre by remembering the importance of a story--unadulterated nostalgia isn't enough for an audience that missed the fifties by four decades. It's a simple story, to be sure: rummaging in the attic, Dad finds his old baseball autographed by Yogi Berra and tells his son the story of how he got it--the trip to Yankee Stadium for his first game, the home run that landed in his frightened hands, the meeting with Yogi, the irony of being a Milwaukee Braves fan living in enemy territory. Fortunately, the message, about sticking up for what you believe, is treated gently, the way a fleet outfielder sneaks up on a fly ball and then gathers it in with the softest of hands. Cohen's art is subtle, too, soft-focus paintings dominated by greens and browns (against which Dad's red-and-blue Braves hat stands out all the more), evoking both the hazy romance of memory and the homey comfort of a ballpark. This one's a keeper, for both boomers and their kids.

Description from Booklist

All Aboard!

By James Stevenson
On their way to the 1939 World's Fair, Hubie's family boards a sleeping car on the Broadway Blazer, and the train departs for New York. Before long, though, Hubie gets off at a station, climbs onto another train by mistake, and finds himself on the westbound California Comet. After several adventures and reversals of fortune, the intrepid young mouse hitches a cross-country flight with a famous aviatrix and parachutes down to the World's Fair, into the arms of his parents. To capture the romance and adventure that train travel holds for children, this entertaining picture book follows the cartoon format of the earlier volumes about Hubie and his brother, The Sea View Hotel and The Stowaway. The line-and-watercolor artwork has an informal look, yet Stevenson can express emotion with the angle of a mouse's foot. Highly recommended, especially considering how many young children ask for stories about trains and how few good picture books libraries have to offer them.

Description from Booklist

A whole history, travelogue, and adventure are told by Stevenson using cartoon dialogue bubbles. Hubie Mouse, who readers previously met at the Sea View Hotel and in The Stowaway, is on a train trip with his family. Their destination-the 1939 World's Fair in New York. Hubie's adventures and misadventures make for a frolicsome read. They can also serve as an engaging introduction to historical fiction, a realistic look at American times gone by, or an exposition on steam trains. Whatever the reader's interest-Stevenson's words and pictures will not disappoint!

Description from Children's Literature

Readers will happily climb aboard for this rousing adventure story. It's 1939, and Hubie is on his way to the New York World's Fair with his parents and bossy older brother when he accidentally gets on the wrong train and finds himself on the California Comet headed for Los Angeles. Unperturbed, the young mouse befriends the conductor and enjoys the dining and sleeping cars until a false step on the observation deck lands him on a railroad trestle overlooking a deep river, with the train receding in the distance. Unfazed, Hubie hitches rides on a railroad handcar, a freight train, and finally the airplane piloted by Miss Betty Beagle, ``the famous aviatrix,'' who lands him spectacularly back with his parents at the fair. Stevenson uses pen and wash so economically that, with a few strokes, readers see the glorious architecture of the train station, the heat of the desert, and the bustle of the fair. His strip-cartoon style is perfectly suited to this riotous tall tale, which will be welcomed by fans of Mark Taylor's Henry the Explorer, Edward Ardizzone's Tim All Alone, and Stevenson's Grandpa tales.

Description from School Library Journal




Books for Older Readers



Happy Birthday, Samantha: A Springtime Story
(American Girls Collection)

By Valerie Tripp
The American Girls Collection. Samantha, a bright Victoria beauty, an orphan raised by her wealthy grandmother. You'll see that some things about growing up have changed, while others--like families, friendships, and feelings--haven't changed at all.

When Samantha's tenth birthday party is spoiled by the boy next door, Aunt Cornelia and her young twin sisters try to ease Samantha's disappointment by inviting her and Grandmary to visit them in New York City.

Description from Publisher

Changes for Samantha: A Winter Story
(American Girls Collection)

By Valerie Tripp
Times change for Samantha when she moves to New York City to live with Uncle Gard and Aunt Cornelia. They change for Nellie, Samantha's servant friend in Mount Bedford, too. But Nellie's changes aren't as happy as Samantha's and Nellie has to find work again. When her friend disappears, Samantha thinks Nellie has been lost forever, But after a long and scary search, Samantha finds Nellie in a New York orphanage. The orphanage is not a good place for Nellie, so the girls plan a daring escape.

Description from Publisher

Changes for Samantha is about a 10-year-old girl who lives in New York. The year is 1904 and she lives with her aunt and uncle. Her best friend's parents just died, so her best friend, Nellie, is going to stay with her uncle in New York. Samantha gets a letter from Nellie, who promises to come and visit her. The only problem is that Nellie's uncle mistreats her and puts her and her two sisters in a room with no food, water or blankets. A woman who lives below comes and finds them all cold and hungry. Since she has 7 children, she puts Nellie and her sisters in an orphanage.

Samantha gets really worried and she tries to figure out where her best friend is. The lady tells Samantha where the orphanage is and Samantha tells her aunt.

I think this book is really interesting and is the best one in the Samantha series because Samantha goes through a lot of adventures to find her best friend, Nellie. It's the only one that got my heart really pumping as I read to figure out what happens next.

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

Samantha's Surprise: A Christmas Story

By Maxine Rose Schur
Samantha's Surprise is the third book in a series of books about Samantha. Samantha is invited to A Christmas party put on by her good friend Ida Dean. At the same time she plans to make a large gingerbread house with Mrs. Hawkins, and decorate the house herself. But Samantha's Christmas plans start to fall when her Uncle Gard announces that he plans on bringing his friend Cornelia along for this Christmas. Now, it seems that all of Samantha's plans are destroyed--and Samantha blames Cornelia for ruining everthing. But there's more than one surprise in store for Samantha on Christmas day!

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

The American Girls Collection:
Samantha's Story Collection
Introducing an American Girls keepsake story collection to treasure. For the first time, girls can enjoy all six classic tales of their favorite historical heroine in one beautiful volume. With exquisite covers, vellum dust jackets, gorgeous full-color illustrations, gilded-edged pages, and a gold ribbon bookmark, these richly designed hardbound books will delight American girls everywhere. It's the gift book she'll cherish for years.

Boxed in an attractive slipcase, this set features all six Samantha Parkington stories. Readers love these stories of this privileged Victorian girl who befriends a servant girl.

Description from Publisher

Lily's Crossing

By Patricia Reilly Giff

Awards:
  • Newbery Honor Book

Elizabeth Mollahan--the Lily of Lily's Crossing--lost her mom when she was little. Her father and a grandmother are her only family. Every summer the three of them flee sweaty New York City for a beach house in New York's Rockaways.

This year though, Lily's father announces that he's enlisted in the Army; days later, he is gone. Alone with her grandmother, Lily sees a long lonely summer ahead. And then, Albert appears. A refugee from the Nazis, his family thrown to the winds, young Albert bears a grief and sadness of his own.

It's a pleasure to read along as Lily and Albert negotiate the pain they feel and the secrets and adventures they share. With subtlety and compassion, this gift of a book reminds us that wars happen to children, too.

[10 and up. Adults should sneak a peek too.]

Description from Amazon.com

Exceptional characterizations and a robust story line turn this WWII homefront novel into far more than a period piece. Spending the summer of '44 at her family's vacation home on the Atlantic, Lily feels angry and deserted when her widower father joins the Army and is sent to Europe just after the Allied invasion. Her ever-critical Gram seems to be breathing down her neck at every turn, and Lily has gotten off on the wrong foot with Albert, the Hungarian refugee boy staying with neighbors. She just can't seem to break out of her self-described role as "a last-row, last-seat kid in school with terrible marks... [who] told lies every other minute." Giff keeps the spotlight off Lily's flaws, refraining as well from overtly linking them to her self-consciousness at being motherless. Rather, she uses them to generate the plot: as Lily and Albert work their way into friendship, Lily tells a lie with unexpected and potentially dangerous consequences. Lily learns her lesson in a resolution that feels psychologically true. In the background, characters cope with wartime shortages, stumble into tragedy as sons and brothers fall in battle-in short, lead complicated lives with the hope of redemption. Closely observed, quickly paced and warmly told, this has all the ingredients that best reward readers.

Description from Publishers Weekly

Set during World War II, this tenderly written story tells of the war's impact on two children, one an American and one a Hungarian refugee. Lily Mollahan, a spirited, sensitive youngster being raised by her grandmother and Poppy, her widower father, has a comfortable routine that includes the family's annual summer migration to Gram's beach house in Rockaway, NY. Lily looks forward to summer's freedom and fishing outings with Poppy. She meets Albert, a Hungarian boy who is staying at a neighbor's house. At first, her fertile imagination convinces her that perhaps Albert is a Nazi spy, but eventually the two become good friends. The war interferes directly with Lily's life when Poppy, an engineer, is sent to Europe to help with clean-up operations. History is brought to life through Giff's well chosen details and descriptions. Both children suffer from the separation from loved ones, and both live with guilt for not having said proper good-byes. Albert even feels that he in some ways betrayed his sister Ruth, who was too ill to make the transatlantic journey. The developing friendship between Lily and Albert, and Albert's plan to swim to Europe to find Ruth, will grab readers' attention and sustain it to book's end. Despite convenient plot twists to reach a happy ending, Giff's well-drawn, believable characters and vivid prose style make this an excellent choice. A fine addition to collections that include Sonia Levitin's Silver Days.

Description from School Library Journal

All the Way Home

By Patricia Reilly Giff
Though worlds apart, city girl Mariel and Brick, a farmer's son from upstate New York, have a lot in common. They're both strong-willed, fiercely independent, and fervent Brooklyn Dodgers fans. Their divergent paths merge when Brick's family's orchard is destroyed by fire, and his parents send him to stay with Mariel and her adoptive mother in 1941 Brooklyn. Though excited by the chance to see his beloved baseball team play in person, Brick can think of little else but getting back to Windy Hill and saving what's left of the apple trees. Unexpected help comes in the form of Mariel, whose big heart cannot always overcome the weakness of her polio-stricken legs. Determined to help Brick and discover the identity of her birth mother, Mariel finds a way to get them both to Windy Hill--where Brick's trees and the hospital where Mariel was born await--one shaky step at a time. Author of the much lauded Lily's Crossing, Patricia Reilly Giff has written another lovely work of historical fiction that perfectly evokes a long-past time and place. Here, we can't help but smell Brick's apples and hear the cheers of hopeful Dodgers fans in Ebbets Field. A wonderful story of friendship and personal triumph for the preteen set.

Description from Amazon.com

The year is 1941; the Dodgers are vying for the pennant, and Mariel lives just blocks from Ebbets Field. Though she is happy with her "almost mother" Loretta, she is preoccupied with who her birth mother was. Hospitalized in Windy Hill with polio at age four, she was lovingly nursed back to health by Loretta, a nurse who subsequently adopted her. Now Brick, Loretta's friend's son, is coming to stay with them because a fire has destroyed his father's apple orchard, forcing his parents to find work elsewhere. Unhappy as the boy is to be sent away, he is further tortured because he helped Claude, a grandfatherly neighbor, save his orchard while his own family's trees burned. Though Brick is determined to get back to his town 200 miles away to help Claude harvest the apples before winter, he and Mariel become fast friends, and he is not bothered by her legs that curve "like the pretzels." The children run off to save Claude's apples and solve the mystery of Mariel's past. Claude invites Brick to stay on and gives him a sizable orchard of his own. Mariel, finally at peace with herself, returns to Brooklyn. Children will understand the protagonist's self-consciousness about her misshapen legs and her wish to be like the other kids. They will applaud her spunk and admire Brick's loyalty and determination. Giff's writing is filled with wonderful details that appeal to all of the senses. Readers experience the treacherous fire just as realistically as they cheer when Mariel catches a fly ball. A compelling story of two unforgettable youngsters, their strength, and their friendship.

Description from School Library Journal

Newbery Honor novelist Giff (Lily's Crossing) brings together two appealing young characters in this story of friendship, family and finding where one belongs. When fire destroys the apple crop on his family's upstate New York farm in 1941, Brick's parents must find work elsewhere and send their son to live temporarily in Brooklyn with Loretta, an old friend. Loretta, a nurse, years before adopted a young polio victim, Mariel, whom she had cared for in a hospital located near Brick's family's farm. Though she loves Loretta, the girl is determined to find her birth mother, of whom she has faint memories. Mariel is drawn to the likable Brick, yet initially her embarrassment at her polio-scarred legs (which, in her mind, "curved like the pretzels in Jordan's candy store") prevents her from talking to him. But when he shares his resolve to return home to help a beloved elderly neighbor harvest his apple crop, Mariel encourages him to make the journey. Impulsively, she decides to accompany him and to visit the hospital where she was taken when stricken with polio, hoping to find clues to her mother's identity. The pieces of the plot snap together a bit too easily and snugly as Giff solves each youngster's dilemma. More credible is the emotion that runs high and affectingly throughout the narrative, as well as the many period details.

Description from Publishers Weekly

All-Of-A-Kind Family

By Sydney Taylor
Meet the All-of-a-Kind Family -- Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie -- who live with their parents in New York City at the turn of the century.

Together they share adventures that find them searching for hidden buttons while dusting Mama's front parlor and visiting with the peddlers in Papa's shop on rainy days. The girls enjoy doing everything together, especially when it involves holidays and surprises.

But no one could have prepared them for the biggest surprise of all!

Description from Publisher

There's something to be said for a book that makes you wish you'd been part of a poor immigrant family living in New York's upper east side on the eve of World War I. Sydney Taylor's time-honored classic does just that. Life is rich for the five mischievous girls in the family. They find adventure in visiting the library, going to market with Mama, even dusting the front room. Young readers who have never shared a bedroom with four siblings, with no television in sight, will vicariously experience the simple, old-fashioned pleasures of talk, make-believe, and pilfered penny candy. The family's Jewish faith strengthens their ties to each other, while providing still more excitement and opportunity for mischief. Readers unfamiliar with Judaism will learn with the girls during each beautifully depicted holiday. This lively family, subject of four more "all-of-a- kind" books, is full of unique characters, all deftly illustrated by Helen John. Taylor based the stories on her own childhood family, and the true-life quality of her writing gives this classic its page-turning appeal.

Description from Amazon.com

Five young sisters experience life in New York's Lower East Side at the beginning of the 20th century in this reading of Sydney Taylor's story (Follett, 1951). The close-knit group encounters everyday realities such as boring chores, missing library books, and trips to the Rivington Street market, as well as those details which bring the early 1900's to life--scarlet fever, peddlers, and bathing at Coney Island. Woven into the story are the traditions and holidays of the Jewish religion. The girls celebrate the Sabbath with Hebrew prayers, and dress up for Purim so they can deliver baskets to friends and relatives. Suzanne Toren delivers flawless narration, using different accents to distinguish between characters of various cultures and backgrounds. Her intonations and pacing ably reflect the actions and emotions of the characters and fully convey the warmth and humor of the story. This excellent book will find an eager audience in schools and public libraries which need materials reflecting the Jewish culture or serve children who enjoy family stories such as Little Women and Little House on the Prairie.

Description from School Library Journal

All-Of-A-Kind Family Downtown

By Sydney Taylor
Although this is the 4th book of the series, it actually takes place between All-of-a-Kind Family and More All-of-a-Kind Family. This story is part of the continuing tale of a Jewish family living in New York's lower East Side in the early 1900's. Although they are poor, they are rich in their love of each other and their friends. Now there is a new baby in the house and talented Ella, mischevious Henny, studious Sarah, dreamy Charlotte, and little Gertie help Mama with the baby and find friends along the way. In this book, we meet Guido, a poor Italian boy who is trying to care for his sick mother and Miss Carey, a nurse who works at the Settlement House. Through the eyes of these characters, we understand what it must have been like growing up in the lower East Side before World War I. We learn about their sorrows and their joy over the little things in life. A highly recommended book.

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

Audio Cassette Edition Also Available

More All-Of-A-Kind Family

By Sydney Taylor
In the third book of Sydney Taylor's classic children's series, Ella finds a boyfriend and Henny disagrees with Papa over her curfew. Thus continues the tale of a Jewish family of five sisters-Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie-and little brother, Charlie, living at the turn of the century in New York's Lower East Side. Entertaining and educational, this book brings to life the joys and fears of that time and place.

Description from Publisher

In this sequel, Ella finds a boyfriend and Henny disagrees with Papa over her curfew. This story continues the tale of a Jewish family who lived in the Lower East Side of New York in the early 1900's. Entertaining as well as educational, this book describes the joys and fears in that place and time. I also enjoyed learning about some of the Jewish traditions. A delightful classic that every little girl will enjoy.

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

All-Of-A-Kind Family Uptown

By Sydney Taylor
Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, Gertie, and baby Charlie move with their parents from New York's lower East Side to the Bronx in this wonderful sequel. In this story, Ella's beau joins the army to fight for the cause in WWI. You briefly learn about how the city was coping with the war over seas and about more Jewish traditions. This story is an educational delight for all ages and should be reprinted for the next generation of readers.

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

Ella of All-Of-A-Kind Family

By Sydney Taylor
World War I has ended, and Ella, the oldest of the five sisters, who dreams of singing and dancing in the theater, is discovered by a Broadway talent scout. It seems that she will have her chance at a theatrical career after all, starting in vaudeville. But her thoughts are also on Jules, just returned from the War, and marriage. Once again a loving family provides the support needed to make the right decision.

Description from Publisher

This is the fifth book in the series and focuses mostly on Ella. We still get to hear about Gertie and Charlotte's misadventures in babysitting and about Henny's hijinks in school, but the book does focus primarily on Ella. The year in 1919. The first World War is over. Women have had to step into men's roles during the war and now want something more. The Suffrage Movement has begun. Meanwhile, talented Ella is continuing her voice lessons and is soon discovered. Now Ella has a choice to make: Fame or family? Will she become a star or marry Jules? Older girls will probably appreciate this book more than younger girls. The previous books focused on all the girls which gives the reader several characters to relate to. Ella is a young woman now and is facing serious decisions which may bore younger readers. Overall it is a wonderful book and makes you wish all the girls and Charley had a book focusing just on them.

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

By Bette Bao Lord

Awards:
  • Notable Children's Books of 1984 (ALA)
  • Best Books of 1984 (SLJ)
  • Notable 1984 Childrens' Trade Books in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)
  • Children's Books of 1984 (Library of Congress)
  • 1984 Children's Books (NY Public Library)
  • 1985 Jefferson Cup Award (Virginia Library Association)

Shirley Temple Wong sails from China to America with a heart full of dreams. Her new home is Brooklyn, New York. America is indeed a land full of wonders, but Shirley doesn't know any English, so it's hard to make friends. Then a miracle - baseball - happens. It is 1947, and Jackie Robinson, star of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is everyone's hero. Jackie Robinson is proving that a black man, the grandson of a slave, can make a difference in America. And for Shirley as well, on the ball field and off, America becomes the land of opportunity.

Description from Publisher

In a story based in part on the author's experience as an immigrant, Shirley Temple Wong (a name she chose as her American name) arrives in Brooklyn and spends her first year in public school. Feeling an outsider at first; coping with a new language and new mores, and becoming a baseball fan; making new friends and earning money as a babysitter for obstreperous boy triplets, Shirley becomes integrated into her new life without ever forgetting her love of home and her pride in being Chinese.

Description from Bull CentChild Books

Dreams in the Golden Country :
The Diary of Zipporah Feldman, a Jewish Immigrant Girl

By Kathryn Lasky
Zipporah Feldman, a 12-year-old Jewish immigrant from Russia, uses diary entries to chronicle her family's activities as they acclimate to life on New York City's Lower East Side. The hopes and dreams of a young girl are beautifully portrayed through Lasky's eloquent and engaging narrative. Readers are quickly drawn into Zipporah's world of traditional Jewish ritual and celebrations and will identify with the girl's desires to aspire to greatness in her new home. She absorbs the freedom of America, wanting to share her enthusiasm with her parents, encouraging her father to pursue his love of music and trying to persuade her mother to shed some of her strict religious ways. The story's historical significance is evident in the Feldman's arrival at Ellis Island and the subsequent procedures immigrants had to endure, and in the description of the factory fire in which Zipporah's friend dies, which is based on the famous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory of 1911. Characters are portrayed as strong individuals, and their motives are believable. Readers learn in an epilogue that Zipporah pursued her love for the theater and eventually rose to stardom. Archival photos, accompanied by a recipe for hamantaschen and the traditional Jewish song to welcome the Sabbath, bring the reality of the novel to light. A story of hope and of love for one's country.

Description from School Library Journal

My Secret War: The World War II Diary of Madeline Beck

By Mary Pope Osborne
Set in 1941, this title in the Dear America series features Madeline Beck, an eighth-grader adjusting to a new life in Long Island, New York. She longs for acceptance among her schoolmates and misses her father, a soldier stationed on the West Coast. Starting a club to aid the war effort helps, bringing personal pride, friendships, even romance into her life. Things become complicated, however, when she accidentally witnesses a suspicious beach rendezvous. As with many others in this series, the diary format mixes fact and fiction in a way that may confuse some readers, and the historical note at the back of the book skims the complex issues of the war. But the period details are fascinating--from references to songs and fashions to newspaper headlines and quotes from Roosevelt--and lively, complex Madeline deals with timeless teen dilemmas as she learns the importance of appreciating differences. A fast, engaging read that offers a glimpse into wartime America, especially the war's impact on teens.

Description from Booklist

In September 1941, the war rages in Europe as thirteen-year-old Madeline Beck and her mother move into a boardinghouse in Long Island, New York, while Madeline's father, a Navy fighter pilot, is on duty in the Pacific. Madeline's diary records her attempts to fit in at her new school and incidents in her daily life, offering fascinating glimpses into those turbulent days when the United States was suddenly plunged into war. Madeline and a handsome classmate, Johnny Vecchio, become good friends and get involved in patriotic war efforts. They patrol beaches watching for enemy submarines when German U-boats are spotted close to the shores, and a life-threatening situation develops when the spunky young girl discovers explosives smuggled ashore by German saboteurs. When the telegram arrives with the dreaded news that her beloved dad has been critically wounded, Madeline's world is shattered. Fortunately her father survives, but now Madeline and her mom must move to the West Coast to be near him as he recuperates in a hospital there. This prospect is bittersweet, as Madeline has become deeply fond of her best friend, Johnny. In this entry in the Dear America series, Osborne has concocted a page-turner that skillfully captures the spirit of the day with authentic details of wartime events, intriguing situations, likeable characters, and an easy narrative. Historical facts and dramatic photographs at the end of the book are informative and add special interest. This absorbing novel should have wide appeal among young adults, particularly history buffs. It might even hook reluctant readers.

Description from VOYA

In September 1941, Maddie Beck and her mother move to a rundown boardinghouse on Long Island. Maddie's dad is somewhere in the Pacific on an aircraft carrier, and Maddie takes hope in the fact that the United States is not yet at war. But a pair of German-Jewish refugees who also live in the boardinghouse hint at horrors yet to come. By the time of Pearl Harbor in December, Maddie is trying to transcend her desire to be accepted, her longing for penny loafers, and her dislike of the gap between her front teeth into what young people can actually do for the war effort. She takes Eleanor Roosevelt's words to heart, and soon she's organizing ways of collecting scrap, bacon fat, and other items to be recycled. She's working alongside Johnny Vecchio of the sparkling brown eyes, and wonders if they could be more than pals. Osborne (Adaline Falling Star) has captured perfectly the cadences of 1940s speech and music in Johnny and Maddie's conversations. The historical discovery of Nazi explosives on the shores of Long Island in June 1942 is used in this fictional diary as a catalyst to their story, and is made both plausible and engaging. Maddie is as self-dramatizing as any young teen, but her circumstances are dramatic, especially after her father is wounded. Historical notes and photographs close the text. Young readers with grandparents and great-grandparents who lived through these times will be especially intrigued.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

When Christmas Comes Again: The World War I Diary of Simone Spencer (Dear America: New York City, 1917)

By Beth Seidel Levine
In April of 1917, Simone Spencer's world changes. Her beloved brother Will goes off to war, and Simone seeks a way to help. The passionate daughter of a feisty French mother and a rebellious upper-class father, Simone is not cut out for the society life she is meant to lead. So, when General Pershing calls for French-speaking American girls to operate the switchboards on the Western Front, Simone becomes one of the first brave "Hello Girls" whose courage helps lead the Allies to victory. In the end, Christmas brings the Spencers back together again.

Description from Publisher

Ashes of Roses

By Mary Jane Auch
Auch (Journey to Nowhere) combines a classic immigration tale with the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in this spirited novel. The narrator, 16-year-old Rose Nolan, arrives at Ellis Island with her family, but right away they are beset by obstacles. Her baby brother is diagnosed with trachoma, and her father must take him back to Ireland; her uncle's family, while taking them in, makes it clear they are unwelcome. Rose finds work in a sweatshop and, after her mother, too, gives up on America, Rose rents a tiny room with her 12-year-old sister from the father of a union organizer, a girl named Gussie. High-minded Gussie helps Rose deal with her dishonest boss and finagle a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. There, Rose makes friends and begins to enjoy New York, but when the infamous fire breaks out, she finds herself trapped, along with all of her fellow employees (management locked the girls in each day); Rose's friends, including Gussie, are among the 146 fatalities. Fast pacing sweeps readers from the initial confusion of Ellis Island to the horrific fire, while Auch supplies vivid period detail and strong female characters to build toward a hopeful conclusion ("I was goin' to reach out and grab this new life in America with all my strength, because I was brought here for a purpose," says Rose). Dear America graduates will be hooked.

Description from Publishers Weekly

The harsh side of the Irish American immigration story is dramatized in this first-person narrative of Rose Nolan, 16, who is filled with hope when she comes with her family to New York City in 1911, but faces so much hardship and disappointment that she almost returns to the misery she left back in Limerick. Her parents do go back, and Auch shows clearly why, even as Rose and her younger sister, Maureen, insist on staying, despite the wrenching family parting and the girls' daily struggle for survival. This is, unfortunately, very much a step-by-step docunovel, and the research sometimes shows. But the facts are riveting, whether it's the inspection on Ellis Island (Rose's baby brother has trachoma so the officials won't let him in); the prejudice as well as the support the sisters get from other immigrants; or the unspeakable working conditions in the sweatshops. Rose finally gets a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, and the unforgettable climax of the story is her account of the tragic fire: her friends are among the 146 people who perish in the flames. They leave her with the drive to work for fair, safe working conditions, and she finds her courage and her place. Excellent supplementary reading for social studies classes and a good addition to women's history titles.

Description from Booklist

The Nolan family's dreams of prosperity in a new country are shattered when baby Joseph fails the medical exam at Ellis Island and must be taken back to Cork by his father. Though Da promises a quick return, Ma is miserable. Frustrated by her dependence on the unwilling hospitality of prosperous relatives, she gladly accepts money from her brother-in-law for herself and her three daughters to return home. Having few opportunities in Ireland, 16-year-old Rose rebels and she and 12-year-old Maureen are allowed to remain in New York to seek work and schooling. Rose finds them a room with a kindly Jewish family, and the landlord's labor unionist daughter, Gussie, gets her a position at the Triangle Waist Company. The teen feels especially happy one morning, wearing a dress in a new color called "ashes of roses" in anticipation of a nickelodeon outing with friends after work. Within hours, her clothing choice takes on a macabre appropriateness as she, Gussie, and Maureen, who also works there, fight for their lives in a fire still recalled as one of the worst industrial disasters in U.S. history. Fast-paced, populated by distinctive characters, and anchored in Auch's convincing sense of time and place, this title is a good choice for readers who like historical fiction.

Description from School Library Journal

Silver Days

By Sonia Levitin
This sequel to Levitin's Journey to America, takes up exactly where the earlier book ended--in 1940, with the family reunited in New York City. In a first-person narration, Lisa, the middle daughter, tells the story of their "silver days'' from 1940 to 1943, conveying the strength and spirit that enabled the family to not only survive being uprooted from their comfortable home in Germany, but also to make a new life for themselves. Much of the humor in the book comes from Lisa's father, a hard-working, energetic, and optimistic man. The girls' mother is a strong-willed woman who is almost undone by the death of her mother, who chose to stay in Germany. Lisa is also strongly influenced by her beautiful and intelligent older sister and a lively, sensitive younger sister. A move to California leads to more disruption but ultimately results in more economic security and a chance for Lisa to study dance seriously again. Because of the episodic nature of the story, readers get to know these people well, experiencing their highs and lows, and in the end can only wish them well. Although this book is a sequel, it can be read independently without any difficulty.

Description from School Library Journal

Empire Dreams

By Wendy Wax
Like many New Yorkers in 1930, Julie Singer, 11, is fascinated by the construction of the Empire State Building. Her interest grows from keeping a scrapbook of newspaper articles to secret trips to watch the Mohawk "Skywalkers." Julie also has another secret-she has discovered that her father is unemployed. With this troubling knowledge, she secretly convinces her uncle to hire her in his dress-collar factory. Julie's secrets lead her to a new friend, the son of a Mohawk construction worker. As the story progresses, the girl comes to realize that strength and courage take different forms, and often develop through the support of family and friends. In the end, the family looks forward to a leaner but happy lifestyle. While the conclusion is pat and a bit unrealistic, the plot does flow smoothly and quickly. The author has used newspaper clippings and Julie's scrapbook to weave factual information into the story. Appropriately placed, gray-toned illustrations reflect the time period.

Description from School Library Journal

Don't You Know There's a War On?

By Avi
Brooklyn, New York, 1943: a time and place so remarkable that a mere five years later, Howie Crispers, wise at sixteen, can look back to record its fleeting intensity, already long behind him in memory. In 1943, Howie's pop is in the merchant marine, dodging Nazi U-boat wolf packs an the brutal North Atlantic sea. Denny, Howie's best friend, has a father in the Eighth Army, battling Nazi general Rommel in North Africa. Every day the boys face reminders of war -- scary headlines, blackouts, scrap collections, warstamp drives.

Saturday mornings, Denny and Howie both leave their worries and responsibilities behind at the 25-cent kid movies. During the week, they depend on Miss Rolanda Gossim, their teacher. She may be strict, but she's kind and a lot prettier than any movie pinup. She occupies the boys' fantasies and makes the war bearable for Class Five-B at Brooklyn's P.S. 8. When Howie discovers she's about to be fired, he needs to find out why, and -- with the help of Denny and the rest of their class -- he makes plans to keep her on the job.

By turns hilarious, sad, and surprising, Avi's latest tale is a touching story of innocent love and yearning that's rich with authentic Brooklyn voices and poignant memories of the early 1940s -- days when unexpected, even shocking events took place without warning, days when, no matter what happened, you could explain it all with a simple phrase: "Don't you know there's a war on?"

Description from Publisher

Sixteen-year-old Howie Crispers narrates Avi's (The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle) poignant, funny coming-of-age tale set in Brooklyn during WWII. For the facts, readers can consult Stephen E. Ambrose's excellent volume, but for a flavor of everyday life on the homefront, they will appreciate Howie's recollections of his experiences as a fifth grader during one pivotal week in March 1943. The hero juggles everything from failing math grades and air raid blackouts to a crush on his teacher and worries about his merchant marine father, criss-crossing the North Atlantic. Howie also suspects his principal of being a Nazi spy, and follows him into a brownstone one morning where he overhears plans to fire his beloved teacher, Miss Rolanda Gossim (he thinks of her at night when fear overtakes him: "She was my emergency brake, my life raft, my parachute, my own private rescue squad"). How he "saves" Miss Gossim makes for a smashing story enlivened by the added emotional texture of a boy dealing with wartime realities (particularly the death of his "bestest" friend Denny's father) and romance (Miss Gossim is actually married to a missing airman and pregnant). Howie's voice, firmly rooted in Brooklyn ("You'd feel worse than a Giants fan in Ebbets Field," he says of disappointing Miss Gossim), takes on the inflections and slang of the era. The novel ends on an upbeat note, with 16-year-old Howie celebrating the end of the war and still carrying a torch for Miss Gossim.

Description from Publishers Weekly

The war at home is both setting and story in this affectionate comedy told in the immediate voice of Howie Crispers, who looks back a few years to 1943 when he was 11 and living in Brooklyn, New York. Howie has a crush on his wonderful teacher, Miss Gossim, and he's horrified to discover, while spying on the hateful school principal, that Miss Gossim is to be fired. Howie and his best friend have always imagined that the principal was a Nazi spy, but they don't know why Miss Gossim has to go. The spying and the secrets add to the fun, but this is mostly a story about the daily life of kids on the home front. Every chapter begins with a page of dramatic newspaper headlines about the war, which provide context for Howie's worries about his dad fighting in Europe; Howie knows families who have lost loved ones. The times described are hard, but Avi keeps the storytelling light, with fast dialogue and lots of lively detail about a time when grown-ups went away and "it was kids who had the job of trying to keep things normal. Know what I'm saying?" Like Avi's Who Was That Masked Man, Anyway?, this is not so much about war as about ordinary life.

Description from Booklist

Who Was That Masked Man, Anyway?

By Avi
World War II is just background noise for Frankie Wattleson. His life revolves around action-packed radio dramas like "Buck Rodgers" and "The Lone Ranger." Suspense, heroism, thrills -- what more could an American boy want?

Frankie's mom can't stand her son's hobby, though, and neither can his teacher, MissGomez. It all spells doomsday for Frankie -- unless he, disguised as radio detective Chet Barker, can cook up a plan to save the day.

Tune in tomorrow to find out how this hilarious drama unfolds!

Description from Publisher

Sixth-grader Frankie Wattleson of Brooklyn, New York, tries to be a Master Spy, 'ruthless, clear-eyed, brave, and smartly dressed.' In the last chaotic months of World War II, Frankie's brother has come home wounded and depressed, school's a bore, and a lodger has taken Frankie's room. Only Frankie'sbeloved radio serials make any sense. He tries to transform his life into a script from 'Captain Midnight,' 'Superman,' and 'The Lone Ranger.'

Description from Booklist

O'Dwyer & Grady Starring in Acting Innocent

By Eileen Heyes
Lights...Camera...Murder.

New York City, 1932. Kid actor Billy O'Dwyer's manager may be a tough cookie, but it's worth putting up with her to work in pictures. Everything's swell -- that is, until actress Amelia St. Augustine turns up dead, and all fingers point to Roscoe "Chubby" Muldoon, famous actor and all-around good guy. Billy's sure Roscoe's innocent, and Virginia Grady, Billy's new costar, feels the same way.

-- So Billy and Virginia step out of the spotlight to investigate -- after all, there's no place in the city Billy can't charm his way into. But this mystery has no script, and the stakes are high. If these two stars guess wrong, it could mean the end...

Description from Publisher

Set in 1932, Heyes's (Children of the Swastika: The Hitler Youth) sprightly mystery kicks off a series of three tales starring an 11-year-old movie actor, Billy O'Dwyer, who spends most of his time living in New York City with his abusive agent, Maureen, occasionally visiting his British-born parents in Massachusetts. Soon after Billy meets Virginia Grady, his young co-star on a forthcoming film, an actress who works for their studio is murdered in the Coney Island apartment owned by the studio head. When a policeman (a former studio employee) finds the body, hovering over the cadaver is another actor, Roscoe Muldoon, a kind man who has befriended Billy. The police arrest Muldoon, yet Billy believes his pal is innocent and teams up with Virginia to find the real killer. Though readers aren't likely to harbor any doubts that the determined sleuths will triumph, Heyes interjects several red herrings. Credible period details and dialogue, as well as the affecting depiction of Billy's close rapport with his father, adds to the caper's appeal. With their likable personalities and sassy repartee, Billy and Virginia prove to be worthy of the spotlight and of an encore performance.

Description from Publishers Weekly

Star sleuths Billy O'Dwyer and Virginia Grady are child actors in 1932 New York City. The historical setting adds flavor and dimension to the mystery. Through dialogue and events, readers learn much about the life of a child-actor, Prohibition and the Depression. Billy's parents are devastated by the Depression and they trust his manager, Maureen Fritz, with his care. She is abusive and Billy quickly learns off-stage acting, or how to put on a cheery smile and take cues about when to be quiet. His compadre and co-star, Virginia, knows the truth of his situation and she has her own set of problems. Her parents are off in Europe and she's been left behind with an aunt. The mystery unfolds when heavy-drinking, child-friendly Roscoe "Chubby" Muldoon is accused of a murder and Virginia and Billy decide to clear his name. Billy tells the story and his authentic voice is the result of Heyes' skillful blending of the bravado of a child-star trying on the pretense of a hard-boiled detective and his other side-an emotionally hurting eleven-year-old. Virginia has more polish and sleuth-savvy than Billy, who bumbles his way into mystery solutions. Together they make a great team, and history-mystery lovers will look forward to further adventures. Part of the "Aladdin Mystery" series.

Description from Children's Literature

Nothing to Fear

By Jackie French Koller
The son of an Irish immigrant family living in New York City during the Depression struggles with the many consequences of his family's difficult financial times. Through it all, strong family love and bonding pervade. An honest, unsentimental portrayal.

Description from Horn Book

New York City youngster Daniel Garvey is around 11 when the Depression begins. At first he doesn't notice it much, but as the years go by, he seesthe toll first in his neighborhood, as friends' families are evicted, and then in his own family. His father, out of work, takes to the road to find employment, and Daniel is left in charge of his expecting, ailing mother and his baby sister. Things go from bad to worse, until the family is rescued by someone who, at first blush, appears to be worse off than they.

Description from School Library Journal

Fire! :
The Beginnings of the Labor Movement

by Barbara Diamond Goldin
The 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York is seen through the eyes of Rosie, 11. The daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, she wishes she could quit school and work in the factory like her older sister, whose descriptions of the brutal and dangerous working conditions do little to quell Rosie's desire. The sudden and disastrous fire that rips through the factory killing 146 workers opens her eyes, both to the labor movement's need to seize the opportunity for change, and to her own need to stay in school. Goldin details, with simplicity, the hardships of daily life in the Lower East Side garment district without becoming maudlin or melodramatic. Rosie and her friends will appeal to readers looking for a good story as well as to those needing information on the era. A short addendum gives more information on the fire and its aftermath, although nothing is footnoted or documented. Atmospheric black-and-white drawings punctuate the chapters. Students needing more traditional re search materials can try Zachary Kent's The Story of the Triangle Factory Fire, which includes numerous photographs, or John Flagler's The Labor Movement in the United States, aimed at a slightly older audience, which chronicles the rise and current decline of labor unions in general.

Description from School Library Journal

Jazmin's Notebook

By Nikki Grimes
Her name is Jazmin, and like the music of her name, her life throbs and swings--a few flat notes to be sure, but also bursting with rich passages that rise and soar. Sitting on her stoop she fills her notebook with laughs, anger, and hope. There's the risky lure of luscious-looking men and the consequences of free haircuts. This is a fourteen-year-old so-real girl living in Harlem in the 1960's, born with clenched fists and big dreams, and strengthened by the love of a steadfast sister. Captured within pages of her tough, exuberant life are all the beauty, chaos, confusion, and clarity that accompany the excitement of exploring life's possibilities--and discovering they are endless.

Description from Publisher

"There are days when laughter hides in the shadows, days when food is low . . . or we have no heat"; but 14-year-old Jazmin was "born with clenched fists," and her journal entries and occasional poems about her life in Harlem in the 1960s are funny, tender, angry, and tough. Mom's back in the hospital with a breakdown, and Daddy's dead; but after years of being sent "postage paid" to many relatives and foster homes, Jazmin at last has a place to stay with her strong, older sister. Jazmin loves school, even though she's picked on for her Coke-bottle glasses; an A student, she stands up to the counselor, who tries to steer her away from academics. Her journal is chatty and informal, but never cute (one anachronism, though: "ya-da, ya-da, ya-da" in the 1960s?). The brief poems are as direct and touching as the narrative. Many teens will relate to Jazmin, whether she is talking about the power of religion, friendship, or laughter, or about her attraction to a luscious guy, a "six-foot-four chocolate drop," who then tries to rape her. Jazmin's trouble with her mother is always there: anger that her distant mother never loved her and guilt that she just can't make herself visit the hospital. Then Jazmin does visit, and she finds her mother changed. Jazmin describes the heartbreaking scene: Mom "took my face in her hands, and let me see her tears." There is nothing idyllic in this realistic story, no talk of Heaven, but there is hope. We share Jazmin's laughter and tears as she writes about her struggle to find community and her own space.

Description from Booklist

There's a poetic soul taking notes up on Amsterdam Avenue in New York City, and her name is Jazmin Shelby, the star witness to the hard lives and high hopes in a novel from Grimes (Come Sunday). Jazmin has her sights set on college, but meanwhile she keeps her eyes open, noticing all the comings and goings of her 1960s neighborhood from her front stoop. She records everything in her notebook, including a running commentary on her family, feelings, friendships, hopes, and disappointments. Her father has been dead a year, and her mother--a mentally unstable alcoholic-- is hospitalized; Jazmin's life has included shuttling between relatives and foster homes, living in rat-infested tenements, and avoiding the everyday violence of the streets. Older sister CeCe is a source of strength, who, along with some supportive neighbors and teachers, have helped Jazmin hang on to her goals and resist the pitfalls of drugs, alcohol, and sexual activity. Peppering the first-person narration with poems from Jazmin's journal, Grimes paints a vivid picture of her character's surroundings. Especially effective are Jazmin's witty descriptions of neighbors and local characters; just as compelling is Jazmin's interior landscape, in which a wiser, more reflective voice hints at the young woman--and writer--she'll become.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

Secrets on 26th Street
(American Girl History Mysteries)

By Elizabeth McDavid Jones
In New York City in 1914, eleven-year-old Susan encounters a mystery through an independent-minded female boarder and becomes involved in the growing suffrage movement.

Description from Publisher

Welcome to the Grand View, Hannah!

By Mindy Warshaw Skolsky
Living in rural New York State during the 1930's, Hannah begins to see her parents and herself in a different light as they settle into their new apartment behind the Grand View Restaurant.

Hungry? Thirsty? Stop Here. The Grand View Restaurant.

When her family buys a little roadside restaurant with a gas station out front and an apartment in the back, Hannah thinks she knows what to expect: She'll still go to the same school, her best friend will still be Aggie Branagan, and she'll still have to put up with that pesky boy, Otto Zimmer.

But life at The Grand View Restaurant turns out to be full of surprises! Hannah never imagined that a piano could play by itself, that she would discover a new secret place by the river, or that square hamburgers could be so perfectly delicious. In fact, life is full of wonders-- her father's amazing inventions, her mother's magnificent garden-- and in the middle of it all, Hannah makes her own discovery about the remarkable magic of home.

Description from Publisher

Love from Your Friend, Hannah

By Mindy Warshaw Skolsky

Awards:
  • A Parenting Magazine Book of the Year
  • A finalist for the Texas Bluebonnet Award
  • A Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children
  • 01-02 Young Hoosier Book Award Masterlist (Gr 4-6)
  • 00-01 William Allen White Children's Book Award Masterlist

Readers who know the earlier Hannah novels, such as Hannah and the Whistling Teakettle and Hannah Is a Palindrome, and remember the pastel colors, gentle beauty, and nostalgic air of their dust jackets will know something's up as soon as they see the splashes of bright colors and stylized forms on the jacket of Skolsky's new novel. Still, Hannah is the same sensitive yet determined girl, though a little older and more independent now. She tells her own story through a series of letters. Spanning the months from the fall of 1937 to the summer of 1938, Hannah's correspondence includes letters to and from her Kansas pen pal Edward, her friend Aggie (who never responds to Hannah's countless letters), President Roosevelt (who always responds and sometimes sends stamps for her postage collection), Eleanor Roosevelt, Aunt Becky, Grandma, and an itinerant artist working for the WPA in Oregon. Not only are the letters lively and readable, they also offer a vivid picture of the period from Hannah's point of view. Though some will find the presidential correspondence unlikely, those who accept the premise will see it offers a broader view of Hannah's America. A fine choice for classrooms studying the 1930s, and for fans of the other Hannah books, a rewarding series of letters from an old friend.

Description from Booklist

Hamilton's chatty, spirited performance is the perfect embodiment of Hannah Diamond, the plucky heroine of Skolsky's epistolary novel. Hannah and her family are lucky to run the successful Grand View Restaurant in Grand View, N.Y., in the late 1930s, when much of the country still suffers the effects of the Great Depression. In fact, tough times are the reason Hannah's best friend, Aggie, moved away. To fill the void in Hannah's life, she begins writing letters not only to Aggie, but to her grandparents, to a new pen pal from Kansas named Edward and even to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. While Aggie has yet to write back, Hannah receives a personal response from FDR that leads to a friendly correspondence with the First Family and FDR's secretary. On this finely paced recording, each letter is read by its author (with each actor assuming an appropriate tone and/or accent), drawing listeners into Hannah's many relationships. One small quibble: the actor who plays Edward has the requisite boyish enthusiasm, but his voice has a rich timbre that sounds a bit old for the part. In any event, young listeners will cheer Hannah's very modern go-getter ways and will likely be fascinated by an author's note and the tale's bountiful details about an era gone by.

Description from Publishers Weekly

You're the Best, Hannah!

By Mindy Warshaw Skolsky
It's springtime in Grand View!

And as always, there's a lot going on. As well as serving square hamburgers and pie a la mode at her family's restaurant, Hannah is getting her new dog, Skippy, ready for the dog show, listing to her favorite radio program, and watching Shirley Temple tap-dance across the big screen. Hannah is also busy helping her father paint he Grand View Restaurant, in the hope that this year they will win the best prize of all.

But no matter how carefully Hannah plans for all the adventures that springtime brings, life is full of surprises. Aunt Becky makes an unexpected visit with some very unusual gifts, and Skippy has his own rules for the dog show. It's going to take one remarkable girl to make sure everything turns out for the best.

Description from Publisher

Formerly published as The Best Father on Route 9W, this old-fashioned novel set in rural New York in the 1930s reflects both a former era and a former era of leisurely told and quietly plotted stories. Hannah's family runs a roadside restaurant and hopes to win a prize for being the Most Attractive Place along the highway by painting blue and white checkerboard designs on the façade. But the judges are put off by the tacky appearance. So Hannah awards her father his own certificate and everyone has ice cream while planning next year's appearance. "Let's Pretend," Milton Cross, and the operas are on the radio, a quirky and overenthusiastic aunt gets off the bus for a visit, the dog Skippy creates havoc at the dog show, and so on.

Description from Children's Literature

Fire at the Triangle Factory

By Holly Littlefield
Minnie and Tessa have worked together in the shirtwaist factory since they were only 10 years old and needed to hide from the inspector. Now, at 14, they are old enough to work, and both operate sewing machines to help their families scrape together a living. In 1911 New York City, Jewish Minnie and Catholic Tessa can only be friends at the factory, but this friendship pays off when the famous and tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire takes the lives of many of their coworkers and threatens theirs. The story builds in suspense as the girls help each other in their struggle to escape from the burning factory. The numerous, large color drawings by Mary O'Keefe Young are a wonderful asset to the story, which young readers will find exciting as well as touching.

Description from Booklist

Faraway Summer

By Johanna Hurwitz
Dossi Rabinowitz, 12, a poor Jewish orphan, is excited and nervous when she leaves her crowded tenement in New York City for a two-week Fresh Air Fund summer vacation on a farm in Jericho, Vermont, in 1910. Her immigrant parents are dead, and she lives with her older sister, Ruthie, who works in a garment factory to support them. Of course, the farm family is warm and welcoming, and we know that the initial tension between Dossi and one of the farm children will be worked out. Mary Azarian's occasional small woodcuts in black and white help create a sense of the period, and the first encounters between town and country, Jew and Christians, make it easy for Hurwitz to include lots of social historical detail, as Dossi tells them about how things are different in the city and they teach her how to milk a cow, pick raspberries, and watch the stars. The warm characterization will keep readers interested in a story that shows how the hosts as well as the visitor benefit from the encounter with the stranger.

Description from Booklist

Dear Emma

By Johanna Hurwitz
After spending a Fresh Air Fund vacation discovering a new world on a Vermont farm, Dossi thought that returning home to the bustling New York of 1910 would be simple. Little did she know that, even in. a familiar place, there are new things to experience: Her sister, Ruthi, is to be married, and they are to move out of their one room into Ruthi's husband's apartment -- where Dossi will have her own space!

But as independent Dossi learns, adjusting to life with her new brother-in-law -- and his rules -- is not always easy. As she writes to Emma, a friend she made in Vermont, she reveals her frustrations, her fears about her new life, and her dreams for the future. Soon she finds that, no matter where she is, she has much to discover inside herself.

Readers who are already acquainted with Dossi from Faraway Summer and those meeting her for the first time will root for her as she moves through an eventful thirteenth year in this affecting story.

Description from Publisher

Love You, Soldier

By Amy Hest
An author of both novels and picture books (The Purple Coat) tells an episodic story with the flavor of autobiography. When Katie is seven, her father goes off to WW II. In the lonely time that follows, her mother's pregnant friend Louise, whose husband is also away, comes to stay in the living room of their apartment on N.Y.C.'s Upper West Side; after Rosie's birth, Katie generously gives the two her own room. Rosie's dad returns, but Katie's is killed; after the war, Katie and her mother set off for Texas, where they will start a new life with Louise's nice brother. Though there's little drama here (with the exception of Katie helping Louise get to the hospital during a post-Passover blizzard), Hest presents a warm, evocative picture of the period and of events, both difficult and rewarding, that help Katie learn that ``Love is risky, but...It's worth it.'' A quiet but appealing early chapter book.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

Seven-year-old Katie has just said good bye to her father, only this time it will be for a very long time and for a far away war. Days pass and weeks become months. Katie and her father exchange letters and pictures. Her mother works long hours in the hospital while Katie goes to school and reads stories to the little ones in The Children's Room at the public library. They both share Passover and fond stories with a dear widow, named Mrs. Leitstein, who lives downstairs. In fact, it was a time when many women formed special bonds and took on added responsibility. They were waiting for their men to come home or remembering them in their hearts. When Mama's expecting friend, Louise, moves in, it is Katie who leads the soon-to-be mother to the hospital on foot in the middle of an April blizzard. Baby Rosie makes Katie feel all warm inside. Katie reads her stories and promises Rosie that she'll meet her own Daddy soon. Months turn into birthdays and bonds strengthen, until the worst kind of news is delivered by a man in uniform. Katie's father has died in the war. Through Katie's eyes, we learn the power of love, of special bonds in special times, and of the strength within that allows us to carry on. The writing, while both poetic and sensitive, is written in language appropriate for young readers. Adults will also be deeply touched by this story.

Description from Children's Literature

Nothing to Fear

By Jackie French Koller
New York City youngster Daniel Garvey is around 11 when the Depression begins. At first he doesn't notice it much, but as the years go by, he seesthe toll first in his neighborhood, as friends' families are evicted, and then in his own family. His father, out of work, takes to the road to find employment, and Daniel is left in charge of his expecting, ailing mother and his baby sister. Things go from bad to worse, until the family is rescued by someone who, at first blush, appears to be worse off than they.

Description from School Library Journal

Set in New York City, the story tells about Danny Garvey and his family's struggles to get enough to eat and keep a roof over their heads. For me this was a one session I couldn't put it down read. The author has a terrific ear for dialogue, and I found myself really caring about these characters. The book is sad and funny in parts and is unblinking in its depiction of how the Depression affected the lives of people. The author gives details about things like Hoovervilles (shantytowns) and the hope with which people greeted the election of Roosevelt as well as weaving a good story. A book that would lend itself to great class discussions.Wonderful descriptions of daily life in 1932- I felt as though I were there.

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

All for the Better: A Story of El Barrio

By Nicholas Mohr
All for the Better tells the story of how one caring person can make a difference. In 1933 the Great Depression had hit Puerto Rico as hard as it had hit the United States. Evelina Lopez, then 11, left her mother and sisters to live with an aunt in New York City. Her journey to Spanish Harlem, El Barrio, and the life that followed there make up this simple biography. When she learned that food packages were available to those who presented the proper forms, but that most of her neighbors were too ashamed to apply, she found a solution. From this early success, Evelina Lopez Antonetty became an activist on behalf of the Spanish community in New York, ultimately founding the United Bronx Parents Group. The language in this well-written biography is rich, flavored with Spanish words, and yet relatively easy to read. The black-and-white drawings scattered throughout highlight important details of the story. A worthy purchase.

Description from School Library Journal

This short and easy biography of Bronx community activist Evalina Lopez Antonetty focuses on the subject's childhood years of coming alone from Puerto Rico to New York during the Depression, adjusting to English and a new school,and successfully convincing and organizing her proud neighbors to accept foodfrom government programs. Kids will appreciate Evalina's various struggles, but the writing is a tad tepid and adulatory. . . . An epilogue outlines Evalina's adult life, which was in many ways more interesting than the story told here.

Description from Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Rite of Passage

By Richard Wright
Harlem. The late 1940s. Fifteen-year-old Johnny Gibbs loves his parents, respects his teachers, and is a model student. Suddenly, his familiar world falls apart. Johnny learns he is really a foster child who the welfare authorities have decreed now must go and live with another family. Stunned by the revelation, Johnny runs away. The startling events that follow, during Johnny's nightlong confrontation with alienation and loneliness, will inexorably push him past the frontiers of childhood and into an unknown, violent world beyond. Rite of Passage, Richard Wright's never-before-published story of Johnny Gibbs's fall from grace, is as pertinent to the fate of many young people today as it was when it was first conceived nearly fifty years ago.

Description from Publisher

A newly discovered novella written by Wright in the 1940s evokes today's urban violence and also the "cold wet shelterless midnight streets" of Dickens' Oliver Twist. Johnny, a gifted 15-year-old student, runs away from his loving Harlem home when he discovers that he's really a foster child and that the faceless city bureaucracy is moving him to a new family. Suddenly alone on the streets, hungry, and lost, he survives with a brutal gang, fights the leader for dominance, and helps mug a man in the park. As the title suggests, this is an archetypal story of the loss of identity and the search for manhood. There's some overwriting at times, with far too many adverbs ("guiltily," "bawlingly," "dreadfully," etc.); a few minor characters are stereotyped; and the symbolism about crossing the barrier of childhood is overexplained. But the story is taut and terrible, and the account of Johnny trapped in a bleak, hostile city will hold teens fast. They'll also recognize the ironic truth of Johnny's friend who envies him the chance to break free of family. Opposed to the corrupt adults (including the police) who pay the kids to steal is the figure of an African American woman who calls out to Johnny in moral outrage for the crime of mugging an innocent person. Real or imaginary, she haunts Johnny. He wishes she would find him and bring him home. The eminent critic Arnold Rampersad, in a long, insightful afterword, shows how this story integrates many themes of Wright's work, including the relationship between racism, poverty, and violent crime.

Description from Booklist

In a previously unpublished story, Wright shows how a Harlem teenager is suddenly and profoundly changed by misfortune. Proudly bearing a straight-A report card, Johnny Gibbs comes home to a double shock: he's told that he's a foster child and that he's to be forcibly moved away from the family where he's lived since the age of six months. Wild with rage and grief, he runs to the streets; within hours, he has broken into a store, joined a gang of muggers, and become its leader after a vicious fight. Rejecting his whole past, Johnny begins to rebuild his life around feelings of alienation and the conviction that he's entirely on his own. Wright's unusual turns of phrase and crudely drawn characters give the story an air of unreality, despite some sharply drawn themes: the faceless indifference of white society; the fragility of family ties in the ghetto; and, most especially, the deep hatred of each race for the other. In a transparent effort to get this onto college reading lists, the publishers append a long academic afterword by Arnold Rampersad, editor of the "Library of America" edition of Wright's works, analyzing these themes and showing how they recur in the author's other books. More a literary afterthought than a gateway to this still-controversial writer. Chronology; selected author bibliography.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

Although Richard Wright wrote this novella fifty years ago, its themes of urban violence and family instability are just as relevant for today's teenagers. Wright sets his story in Manhattan around a neighborhood school used as the meeting place for a local gang. Fifteen-year-old Johnny suddenly discovers his parents are really foster parents and his real parents were unfit. He runs away and finds out that his best friend belongs to a gang of misfits. His flight, fears, initiation into the gang, and development into a leader compose the plot. Wright's prose is lean and powerful, his tone tough and impatient. Although the novella itself is easy reading, the impact of the violence and racism will require a mature reader. Following the novella is a scholarly essay by Arnold Rampersad assessing Rite of Passage within the context of Wright's other work. Recommended for high school and college reading, especially for multicultural discussions.

Description from The ALAN Review

Wash Basin Street Blues: Nora in New York

By Mark O'Sullivan
In this sequel to Melody for Nora, leaves behind her beloved Ireland to move to the world's busiest city, New York, where mysteries arise. Why does she distrust her new Aunt Fay? What is the metallic clanging noise that disturbs Nora's dreams, turning them into nightmares? As an emotional storm brews, Nora faces a moral dilemma that demands courage, honesty, and personal change if her family is to be saved. On its own or as a sequel to the award-winning Melody for Nora, Wash Basin Street Blues is a chilling, action-packed read.

Description from Publisher

In this sequel to Melody for Nora, Nora, a 16-year-old Irish girl and aspiring pianist, travels to 1920s New York City to visit her two younger brothers, Denis and Ritchie, who live with their aunt and uncle. The siblings haven't seen one another since the breakup of their family after their mother's death and their father's battle with alcohol, but the reunion is not as joyful as Nora imagined. Fearing that Denis has joined up with neighborhood gangsters, she feels frustrated by her aunt and uncle's lack of parental control. Yet Nora herself has become entangled with a notorious mobster, who is so enchanted with her musical talent that he wants to give her tuition for a prominent academy in the city. Although the text is slightly overwritten and the gangster characters somewhat stereotypical, the story successfully evokes the flavor of Prohibition-era New York City.

Description from Booklist

East Side Story

By Bonnie Bader
Like many immigrant children of the early 1900s, Rachel, 11, and her teenage sister Leah work in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on the Lower East Side of New York City. This simple-to-read historical novel effectively portrays issues pertinent to the time period. Through Rachel's experience, readers see the courage and determination, success and failure of the workers' efforts to unionize for better and safer working conditions. At the same time, the Jewish heroine befriends an Italian boy, the brother of one of the factory girls involved in the organizing. Their very different backgrounds are a minor concern as they learn from one another and develop a bonding relationship. Lastly, the reasoning behind child labor laws and equal education for boys and girls is nicely interwoven throughout the story. A postscript gives further information about the events in the book. A worthy addition.

Description from School Library Journal

Gathering of Pearls

By Sook-Nyul Choi
In this sequel to The Year of Impossible Goodbyes and Echoes of the White Giraffe, Sookan Bak has left her Korean home to attend a Catholic women's college in New York in 1954. This semiautobiographical account of her freshman year is very much a docu-novel about the new scholarship girl caught between two cultures, trying to fit in. Everything is overarticulated. Sookan and her friends speak like therapists ("You need to live your own life"). She writes long letters home about her cultural conflicts ("Here they do not place so much emphasis on patience, humility"), and her first-person narrative repeats all the analysis. Mostly, the U.S. is better than Korea, freer for the individual, though she does come to see that sometimes her American friends feel like outsiders and have problems with their families' expectations, just as she does. The last section of the book is the most immediate: her beloved mother dies, and Sookan is not told till long after the funeral. Her grief is heartfelt. We feel her distance from home.

Description from Booklist

In this sequel to Choi's autobiographical The Year of Impossible Goodbyes and Echoes of the White Giraffe, 19-year-old Sookan continues her journey--this time leaving Korea to study at Finch, a Catholic women's college in White Plains, N.Y. Although frightened by the enormity of her adventure and confused by the strangeness of American culture, Sookan is determined to excel at her studies, work for her keep, and serve as unofficial ambassador for her country. She has little time to enjoy what her bubbly roommate Ellen calls "college life"--parties, football games, and young men. Sookan makes friends but feels guilty whenever she has fun; she has a responsibility to her family, as her older sister Theresa keeps reminding her, that her American classmates cannot begin to understand. Sookan rebelliously feels that many of the American customs are good, although she can never lead Ellen's carefree life. When tragedy comes to her again, Sookan recalls what her mother used to tell her: Just as oysters make pearls out of grains of sand, women create something precious from their suffering. Preparing to face life alone, Sookan gathers her strength--her pearls--and resolves to succeed. Sookan is sometimes annoyingly good, but the story of her struggle with her Korean heritage makes her more than just an ethnic Pollyanna.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

Jeanmarie, With Love

By Lucille Travis
Intriguing mysteries and fascinating characters abound in these compelling stories set during World War II. Girls ages 9-12 will be delighted as Jeanmarie and her friends at the Apple Valley Orphanage encounter mysterious happenings, follow the trail of adventure, and learn lessons in compassion, honesty, and faith.

Told in the same engaging style as Jeanmarie and the FBI and Jeanmarie and the Runaways, this third book of the Apple Valley Mysteries series chronicles the adventures of Jeanmarie and her friends as they experience the worst circus fire in American history.

Jeanmarie and her friend Pearl are at the circus enjoying the clowns, the high-wire artists, and Princess, the animal trainer. But when fire breaks out, Pearl is injured, causing her to become blind. Will she ever see again? The girls are brought to historic Bellevue Hospital; they form new friendships and, despite their injuries, explore the hospital's dark tunnels for clues to the theft of Princess's jewels. Who stole them? And why?

Description from Publisher

The young orphan heroine, Jeanmarie, an on-the-mend appendectomy patient of New York City's Bellevue Hospital, is privileged, along with other orphans from the Apple Valley Orphanage, to see a circus performance. This is her dream come true, but the dream quickly turns into a living nightmare when the biggest, yet materially faulty, circus tent catches fire, causing panic and pandemonium among its 12,000 plus occupants. And when the smoke clears, literally, the story begins. Was the fire intentionally set? Who took the jewelry belonging to Princess, the lion tamer? For a curious sleuth like Jeanmarie, the intrigue and suspicions cannot be ignored. So, accompanied by her faithful orphanage companions, Pearl and Wilfred, Jeanmarie's detective "trail" leads readers through Bellevue's old secret passageways, abandoned tunnels, and along dark, cobwebbed hallways. With eighteen interesting chapter titles, 130-some pages and a cover illustration, the story oozes age-appropriate mystery components, balanced with 3-D story characters who have compassion for one another. Part of the "Apple Valley Mysteries" series.

Description from Children's Literature

Brooklyn Doesn't Rhyme

By Joan W. Blos
A Newbery Medal-winning author returns to early Americana. Eleven-year-old Rosey is worried about her school writing assignment. How can she write interestingly about her ordinary life in Brooklyn. As Rosey writes her stories, a vivid and heart-touching picture emerges of life in a Jewish-American community in the early years of the 20th century.

Description from Publisher

Rosey Sachs, 11, narrates these loosely connected stories about a Polish Jewish immigrant family in New York City in the early 1900s. Her voice is gently upbeat, with an authentic Yiddish idiom ("He bought for us a house"), evoking the warmth of the extended family that celebrates the old ways even as it eagerly tries to become part of America. Like Blos' Newbery winner, A Gathering of Days, the focus is on the small events of daily life. The account of the family's move to a new house is a marvel of affectionate comedy. The story "Momma and the Vote" personalizes history with wit and verve. There's a touching episode about two brothers who can only go to school alternate weeks because they share a pair of shoes. Unfortunately, much of the material reads like bits and pieces of anecdote and local color, with characters that come and go too quickly to hold our interest. As Rosey comes to realize, there's a difference between something that happens and making it a story. This is family folklore, and in fact, that's the way the book will be best used: in writing classes to encourage kids to find their own family stories, whether the immigration was many generations back or is happening right now.

Description from Booklist

"Knowing about your family will help you to know yourself."

That's what Miss Edgecomb, Rosey Sachs's sixth grade teacher, says when she asks her students to write stories about their families. But, Rosey wonders, what can possibly be interesting about her immigrant parents, her small Brooklyn house, and the everyday lives of her friends and relatives in New York in the early twentieth century?

Then Rosey starts remembering things she hasn't thought about since they happened, and she realizes she does have stories to tell: about Momma and Papa, about her big brother Arnold and her baby sister Sadie, about her uncles and aunt and cousins, and about Itzy Carnitzky, Arnold's best friend, who might just turn out to be Rosey's friend as well. And Rosey discovers that Miss Edgecomb was right.
Description from Back Cover

Where You Belong

By Mary Ann McGuigan
Fiona doesn't know where she belongs. When her mother is evicted from their Bronx apartment in New York, she tries to return to her father's house--only to flee one of his drunken rages the first night back. Alone, she wanders the streets until--by chance--she bumps into an old classmate. Yolanda seems to understand her pain. Misfits, both girls search for belonging. Will they find it in each other? ... even though one is black and the other is white? Mary Ann McGuigan deftly explores how racism riddles the lives of these characters in New York during the early '60s, leaving readers hopeful about friendship's power to bridge chasms--perceived and real.

Description from Amazon.com

Where does 13-year-old Fiona belong? With her mother and three siblings, all newly evicted from their Bronx apartment? With her alcoholic father whose repeated failures at life drive him to violent, abusive rages? With resentful Aunt Maggie in her already overcrowded apartment? Feeling lost and alone, Fiona bolts and, by chance, encounters Yolanda, a black girl from school, whose defiant spirit and kindness have made her Fiona's idol. Because the year is 1963 and the civil rights movement is stirring passionate enmities, the ensuing interracial friendship is forbidden, but through it Fiona discovers, for the first time, that positive change and hope can become part of her life. In this deeply moving novel, McGuigan demonstrates a wonderful talent for creating emotionally complex characters, believable situations, and closely observed, realistic settings. That some of the plot situations remain unresolved reinforces the feeling of real life, which is one of the book's singular strengths. As for Fiona, she is an unforgettable character with a first-person voice that is marvelous in its understated artfulness and compelling in its emotional authenticity.

Description from Booklist

The Rose Horse

By Deborah Lee Rose
It's 1909 in New York and Lily's little sister, Rose, is born prematurely. Rose and her mother are sent to Dreamland on Coney Island, to a world-famous clinic that will allow the child to be cared for properly. While they are there, Lily's mother finds that she can nurse more than her own child, and literally saves at least one tiny baby's life. And Lily gets to explore Coney Island and ride on the beautiful palomino her uncle has created. To help keep track of the six weeks until her mother comes home, Lily's aunt uses a Jewish calendar, brought from Russia. Some discussion of Jewish customs and the pogroms that forced the family to leave Kishinev add to the drama. This is a fascinating look at a vanished time and place.

Description from Children's Literature

Kids ages 8-12 will appreciate this story of Lily's early Coney Island experiences, as she helps her father and cousin in their carousel shop and rides the Rose Horse. Black and white line drawings by Greg Shed illustrate the gentle story of a premature sibling's struggle to survive.
Description from Midwest Book Review

Memories of Clason Point

By Kelly Sonnenfeld
Seen through a mist of time, tears, and love during her father's funeral, Sonnenfeld remembers the good, the bad, and the downright funny that took place in her ethnically mixed Bronx neighborhood during the Depression. The bright daughter of a deaf mother and a risk-taking, but erudite father, she finds herself in the role of her father's confidant and her mother's protector. Having escaped the persecution directed toward Jews in Hungary and sundry dismal medical diagnoses, Mr. Kellerman is optimistic and caring. Determined to feed and house lost animals, homeless men, singularly ungracious relatives, as well as his own family, he turns to distilling whiskey in his basement when hard times arrive. After the police come to make arrests, they become sympathetic friends and the judge becomes a new customer. When their home is foreclosed, Mr. Kellerman "borrows" another house from the bank, utilizes the city marshal as a mover, and, in a running battle of wits, "liberates" some gas and electricity. Eventually, however, there is a heavy price to pay, and Kelly learns that it is her fragile mother who holds the family together. Sonnenfeld's characters are enticing. With an entertaining and unerring eye for authentic detail, the author colors the period to re-create an animated reality. Pair this poignant urban autobiography with a piece of rural fiction for an interesting class project.

Description from School Library Journal

A Long Way to Go

By Zibby Oneal
A wealthy New York City household is disrupted when 10-year-old Lila's very proper grandmother is arrested for picketing the White House for women's suffrage. The year is 1917, the U. S. is at war, and the general feeling is that President Wilson has enough on his mind without the rantings of these outspoken society women. Lila empathizes with their plight not only because of her grandmother's involvement but because she is constantly frustrated by all the things she's forbidden to do. A series of events causes her to challenge her father's conservative views and he re-evaluates his stance, allowing Lila to join her grandmother in a pro-suffrage parade. Amplified by Dooling's fine, full-page pencil drawings, Lila is portrayed as a likable, spirited heroine.

Description from School Library Journal

These two books mark the debut of the Once Upon America series, presenting segments of American history to middle readers through the eyes of a young person of the time. A Long Way to Go takes place during the tumultuous days of women's suffrage: Lila, eight, sees the conflict in her own family as her grandmother, a fervent supporter of the vote for women, clashes with Lila's traditionalist father. Gradually drawn into the debate, Lila manages to convince her father of the injustice of inequality and is allowed to march in a suffragist parade.

Description from Publishers Weekly

Two Cents and a Milk Bottle

By Lee Chai'ah Batterman
Twelve-year-old Leely Dorman has a big problem. She knows the right thing to do, but getting it done seems impossible. How can Leely, the child of Russian immigrants living in Brooklyn during the Great Depression, find the money to pay back a debt to her friend-especially when the Dorman family can barely afford to put food on the table for themselves? In this charming first novel, author Lee Chai'ah Batterman introduces readers to Leely, her brainy fifteen-year-old sister Evy, and Arnie, her tag-along brother, as they face a new neighborhood, a new school and new friends. Over the course of the novel, Leely becomes a faithful friend, an entrepreneur and the first girl in the neighborhood to study to become a Bat Mitzvah. The contrast of Leely's Jewish background and her best friend Francy's Italian heritage adds an especially colorful twist to their sweet friendship.

But it is Leely's moral dilemma-and her poignant and often humorous efforts to resolve it-that draws readers into this beautifully written tale of adolescent tribulations and family cohesiveness.

There is a life lesson to be learned in every chapter of Two Cents and a Milk Bottle, from developing humane values and intercultural friendships to confronting sickness and death. And Leely proves herself a wonderfully capable teacher for young adults and their parents alike.

Description from Publisher

The Jetty Chronicles

By Leonard Everett Fisher
Fisher (Anasazi) admits to some fictionalizing of the details, but this brief memoir of a few adolescent, preWW II years in Brooklyn has the authenticity that comes from well-chosen details, lovingly and honestly observed. With no attempt to turn this into an autobiography, Fisher finds some metaphors for living in the ``immortal'' jetty from which, in his youth, he watched ships come and go from New York City's waters. From an old professor comes a geology lesson, from an artist a lesson in painterly verisimilitude, from a buff young man a lesson in false pride, and from a poor, delusioned soul, a lesson in--among other things--the abuse of religion. That the war is coming hangs over many paragraphs, that Fisher would become an artist and storyteller all but hidden. The volume, with so many speakers expounding on various topics, may be more suited to Fisher's admirers than to readers unfamiliar with his work; he sticks to a particular reference--the jetty and the people around it--and a particular time, and makes it utterly palpable.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

Fisher returns to his boyhood home in this novel based on his reminiscences from 1934 to 1939, set in the wake of a manmade jetty in southwestern Brooklyn. Built in 1907 to prevent erosion of a small sandy beach, the jetty is in itself a fascinating hulk of a character. While it seems massive and certain to last forever, it is now barely visible at low tide. From the jetty, the young Fisher could watch the world go by. All manner of vessels passed through his "front yard." Colorful fictional characters include an elderly geologist; a nameless ex-convict; an artist; and a radical newspaper vendor hell-bent on getting into the exclusive Sea Gate with his message of miracles, salvation, and eternal damnation. The best of the bunch, though, is the story of a pretty-boy Olympic hopeful. Rumors (that he successfully started) are so strong, that Horace Monash begins to believe that he might just be a powerful swimmer. His unmasking has all the elements of a Greek tragedy. The grim specter of World War II haunts this story. Newspaper headlines and adult conversations overheard foretell the future evil to come. This is a piece of Americana, an antidote to Norman Rockwell, portraying a real place and time that no longer exists. A place of power and majesty reclaimed by nature.--

Description from School Library Journal

The Haunting at Stratton Falls

By Brenda Seabrooke
For 11-year-old Abby, adjusting to Stratton Falls, New York, is even more difficult than anticipated. She misses her father, in Germany fighting the war, and her warm Florida home; her cousin Chad is more mean than friendly; and she's often lonely. One night mysterious wet footprints appear in the hall, and Abby wonders if the ghost stories about the house are true. Enlisting Chad's help, Abby discovers a long-ago tragedy involving a young girl, and on Christmas Day, past and present dramatically come together, unexpectedly resulting in positive changes and realizations. Although the climactic scene is fairly intense (it details the emotional and physical struggles of Abby's accidental near-drowning), fans of history and mystery up to the challenge will enjoy the novel's diverse characters (Abby is likable and sympathetically portrayed), well-paced suspense, period detail, and descriptive, expressive prose. As a bonus, the author supplies some easy-to-do craft ideas by describing Abby's dollhouse furniture project, which uses common household items in creative ways.

Description from Booklist

With her father missing in action in WWII, Abby must live with her pesky cousin Chad's family. As Christmas nears, Abby sees mysterious wet footprints in the hallway and hears the story of a girl who drowned eighty years ago. What is the ghost trying to tell her? The 1940s setting is as intriguing as the not-too-scary chills this well-told tale delivers.

Description from Horn Book

A ghost story at Christmas? 'Tis the season for this novel set in upstate New York during World War II. Elevenyearold Abby and her mother relocate from Florida to her cousin Chad's home in Stratton Falls after learning her father has been reported missing in Europe. It's a home with a secret that Abby wishes to discover. While everyone has heard rumors the house is haunted, not everyone is willing to believe it—especially mischievous Chad, who seems to revel in taunting his cousin—even to the extent of pretending he is a ghost! When a ghost does manifest itself in full view of Chad and Abby, the pace quickens and Abby is intent on learning why "Felicia" returns to the house at Christmas, believing "she" has a purpose for coming there. Is it a message from afar about Abby's father? A warning to her? Readers sense the confusion Abby feels as Christmas Day approaches. She is caught in a conflict between reality and fantasy, while finally learning the reason "Felicia" has returned—and it is for her. Brenda Seabrooke presents a glimpse into civilian life during the war and realistically portrays family life in an intense era.

Description from Children's Literature

Alan and Naomi

By Myron Levoy

Awards:
  • 1978 Boston Globe—Horn Book Award Honor Book for Fiction
  • 1978 Fanfare Honor List (The Horn Book)
  • 1978 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Honor Book
  • Children's Books of 1977 (Library of Congress)
  • 1969-1992 Best of the Best Books for Young Adults

When Naomi, a refugee child from Nazi-occupied Paris who acts ‘crazy,’ moves into Alan Silverman’s building in 1940s New York, he does his best to avoid her. They slowly develop a deep and touching friendship.

Description from Publisher

6-321

By Michael Laser
Sixth grade is a watershed year for Marc Chaikin, a student in Queens, NY in the 1960s. "In just two months I fell in love, watched my family break into pieces, and came this close to getting beat to a pulp...not to mention meeting Mickey Mantle..." Author Laser drew on his own experiences in writing this, as he relates in an afterword, and the well-written story rings true in its careful detailing of Marc's varied experiences. He's afraid of his new teacher at first, but comes to appreciate the man's high standards, and similarly comes to see his love interest, a shy girl who longs to be wild, in a new light. As his parents' relationship deteriorates, and everything around him changes, Marc realizes that he can change also, and he learns to speak out when it matters. This is a heartfelt tale that succeeds in conveying Marc's story while touching on universal themes. For younger YAs in middle school and upper elementary grades.

Description from KLIATT

Marc Chaikin's life has always been stable and steady but he is about to discover hatred and first love. Marc and his friends in 6-321 (the highest academic class) are being bullied by the students in 6-309 (the lowest academic achievers) and anger and hostility are escalating. Meanwhile, he is fighting the most popular boy in class for the affection of Lily Wu, his idea of the perfect girl. On the day of the agreed "big fight," President Kennedy is shot, and priorities suddenly change. Written in a direct style, and set within the narrow confines of Queens, NY, in 1963, this coming-of-age story subtly draws readers in. Laser's uncomplicated language allows his theme about image and expectation to come through clearly.

Description from School Library Journal

Radio Rescue

By Lynne Barasch
In 1923, a 10-year-old New Yorker became the youngest licensed amateur wireless radio operator. In a clear, first-person voice, the boy describes what Morse code is, how operators used wireless radios to send and receive signals, and his experiences setting up an in-house transmitting station. The boy finds fame when he picks up a signal from Florida hurricane victims and radios for help, and the story concludes with a reproduced newspaper photograph and the full Morse code alphabet. An introductory note reveals that the story is based on the author's father and gives readers background information on the era's telephones and the alternative that the wireless offered, including examples of how Morse code has been used throughout its history. In a well-designed mix of insets, brief sketches, and full-page drawings, the author's uncluttered color cartoons do an excellent job of illustrating the technology and the code, at the same time creating likable, expressive characters. Tehnology-minded children may see parallels between the freedom and excitement of the wireless and the Internet in this engaging read.

Description from Booklist

Barasch (Old Friends) identifies the hero of this story as her father, who in 1923 at the age of 10 became the youngest licensed amateur wireless radio operator in the United States. The book gets off to a bit of a slow start as Barasch describes the important role that wireless radio played at a time when telephone connections were difficult to make, but it builds to a climactic finish, in which the boy and his radio help to rescue a stranded family in hurricane-pummeled Florida. Writing in the boy's voice, the author conveys the young New Yorker's dedication to his hobby, how he obtains his "ham" license on his second try, purchases the necessary equipment and sets up his own home station with the help of an older neighbor boy and fellow operator. The author concisely describes this method of communication, which kids in today's high-tech world are likely to know little about. A heartening story for aspiring historians and technophiles.

Description from Publishers Weekly

The Carp in the Bathtub

By Barbara Cohen
Leah and her brother hatch a plan to save the Passover carp from the cooking pot.

A heartwarming Passover story set during the Depression in New York. A brother and sister love their mother's cooking except for the gefilte fish she makes every week from a carp that she buys and keeps alive ­ for a few days ­ in the bathtub. When a particularly friendly carp who reminds the children of their deceased neighbor is brought to the bathtub, they decide they can't let it become a meal. Their efforts to liberate Joe are very funny and the realistic ending sounds a satisfactory note.

Patrick Doyle Is Full of Blarney

By Jennifer Armstrong
In the summer of 1915, nine-year-old Patrick Doyle and his Irish immigrant friends look forward to playing baseball in their Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. When a rough gang challenges their claim to the diamond, Patrick strikes a bargain that requires the assistance of his hero, New York Giants hitter Larry Doyle. Although help comes in a form different from what Patrick had requested, the results are even better, as the boys win the rights to their field through Patrick's talents rather than trickery. This beginning chapter book features likable characters, a believable plot, and admirable attention to setting details. An afterword provides a historical backdrop for the story, and the appended glossary explains period vocabulary. Pair with Sydelle Kramer's Baseball's Greatest Hitters (1995), for another perspective on the beginnings of America's favorite pastime.

Description from Booklist

In the first of Jennifer Armstrong's Fourth of July series of historical chapter books, it's 1915 and everyone is wild about baseball--especially nine-year-old Patrick, an Irish kid living in the tough Hell's Kitchen section of New York City. Patrick and the other Irish neighborhood kids even have their own ballpark behind Gilhooley's Brewery. But one day a band of bullies show up and proceed to claim the field for themselves. Can Patrick's sneaky plan keep the bullies away for good?

Description from Publisher

Once I Was a Plum Tree

By Johanna Hurwitz
Once Gerry's family name Pflaumenbaum, Which means "plum tree" in German. Now, it's jusy plain Flam, which means nothing at all.

"What religion are you?" is the worst thing anyone could ask ten-year-old Geraldine Flam. Gerry, growing up in the Bronx just after the Second World War, doesn't have any religion at all." We are assimilated," Gerry's father tells her. But Gerry wants more. Here's a funny and warm story about belonging -- to a particular community and to the world.

Description from Publisher

Jeanmarie and the FBI (Apple Valley Mysteries, #1)





Jeanmarie and the Runaways

(Apple Valley Mysteries, #2)




By Lucille Travis
Intriguing mysteries and fascinating characters abound in these compelling stories set during World War II. Girls ages 8-12 will be delighted as Jeanmarie, with a keen mind and a big heart, recruits her friends at the Apple Valley Orphanage to investigate some strange occurrences. The girls find more trouble than they bargained for as they discover that even their small New York orphanage may be hiding spies and unwelcome stowaways.

In Jeanmarie and the FBI, the orphans' curiosity gets the best of them. Friendships grow as the orphans work together to uncover a World War II spy and find themselves kidnapped with little hope of escape. Jeanmarie and her friends discover that people aren't always who they seem to be-and that God is the only one who can protect them.

In Jeanmarie and the Runaways, the orphans learn a real-life social studies lesson. When Jeanmarie finds orphaned migrant kids Juan and Serena, she's determined to help them hide from the evil Don Carlos. But when her plan backfires, Jeanmarie's last hope is telling the truth. The orphans learn the hard way that honesty is always the best policy.

Description from Publisher

Cassandra: Live at Carnegie Hall!

By Nancy J. Hopper
Popular novelist Nancy Hopper brings all her humor and storytelling gifts to this lively story set in New York City in 1944. Thirteen-year-old Cassandra Lord is horrified to learn that her family is moving from their cozy Connecticut home to New York. Her father is a band leader, and to save money they'll live in his rehearsal studioin Carnegie Hall! While a friendship with cute neighbor Tony Ferrante is definitely a plus, living over the famous concert hall has its ups and downs. This warm and funny novel evokes teenage life during World War II as it explores issues of growing up and finding out where you belong.

Description from Publisher

An entertaining (and true, according to an author's note) story of a family that lives at Carnegie Hall in 1944, with the fighting of WWII far away. It nearly breaks 13-year-old Cassandra Lord's heart when her mother announces that the family will move from their comfortable Connecticut home to be with Papa in New York City. But when she sees exactly where they will be living, she can hardly believe itin bandleader Papa's rehearsal studio in Carnegie Hall. It's far too small, cramped, and stuffy for a family of four; Cassandra desperately misses her past life. The one ray of light, however, is Tony, a tough city boy who also lives there; he loves the city, and begins to show a reluctant Cassandra some of its joys. During a visit to Connecticut, though, Cassandra forgets both New York City and Tony, and dreams of picking up her old life where she left off. This isn't the first story about a protagonist vacillating between an old home and a new one, and despite the unusual locale, it's not a very substantial treatment. Still, Hopper evokes the scenes of the city, and what the book lacks in credibility, it makes up for in sheer diversion.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

It is 1944, and Cassandra, 13, has just discovered that she and her mother and sister will be moving from their home in Danbury, CT, to join her father, a famous band leader, in New York City. Once there, they live in his studio at Carnegie Hall while he tries to pick up his flagging career after an auto accident. Because having a family doesn't suit his image, the siblings and their mother are introduced as distant relatives and enlisted in the promotional efforts. Of course, Cassandra hates leaving her friends; of course, she meets a boy who also lives at Carnegie Hall; and of course she learns to adjust to the fact that change is inevitable. The first-person narrative is flat and allows little character development. Readers keep waiting for Cassandra to grow up a bit and to recognize what is going on in her family, but all she does is complain. Finally, when her parents allow her to visit Danbury, she realizes that she misses her family and new friend, Tony, and returns to New York. Hopper does provide a taste of Manhattan during World War II through visits to Central Park, celebrity sightings at the Russian Tea Room, and subway rides to Brooklyn.

Description from School Library Journal

Rhoda, Straight and True

By Roni Schotter
In this tale, a young girl discovers that different is not necessarily bad. Set in Brooklyn in 1953, this story chronicles 12-year-old Rhoda's summer, which begins with the Royal Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and ends with the truce in Korea. Rhoda and her friends Hattie and Mary Jane start the summer by trying to find out if Mr. and Mrs. Rose are really Russian spies, as everyone says. Certainly the Roses don't act like anyone they've ever metMr. Rose doesn't even have a regular job. Then there are the terrible Mancys, all 13 of them, from strange Fig, who's in Rhoda's class, to vicious Baby Nicotine. But as the summer progresses Rhoda finds herself drawn to the mysterious Fig, leaving her at odds with her old friends. Fig is not Rhoda's only surprise, as she discovers not only the truth about the Roses but about others as well. The moral is a little obvious and heavyhanded, but the sense of locale is nicely-drawn, with original characters and humor rounding out a pleasant story.

Description from Publishers Weekly

It's June, 1953, and Princess Elizabeth is about to be crowned Queen. The Cold War is in full bloom, replete with school air raid drills and suspected spies. Rhoda's sixth-grade year is drawing to a close, and she and her neighborhood gang are eager for the long, lazy summer vacation spent on their Brooklyn blocks. There's so much to dothere are ramshackle buildings to explore, and there's always a poor, undesirable Mancy kid (there are 13 of them!) to fight with or laugh at. Rhoda's natural inclination to let her gang do her thinking for her is put to the test one day when, playing at a forbidden site, she has an accident. When her friends run off and leave her, it's classmate Fig Mansy who rescues her. Drawn to the warmth, remarkable resilience, and resourcefulness of Fig's large, poor family, Rhoda begins to think things out for herself. In an upbeat ending, she figures a way to show her gang how special the Mansys really are and, incidentally, to clear the names of suspected neighborhood spies. This is a nicely satisfying, old-fashioned novel with an appropriately simple resolution, peopled with interesting characters, that teaches rather than preaches a lesson about thinking for oneself.

Description from School Library Journal

Keeping the Good Light

By Katherine Kirkpatrick
Seventeen-year-old Eliza Brown was born and raised on a small island with barely enough room for the lighthouse her family must attend to around the clock. Each day she rows a mile to attend school on City Island. But chores and family responsibilities have not allowed Eliza to have a social life there. Then when a family tragedy brings her to live with her older sister's family on City Island, Eliza's life changes forever. Her new life is filled with challenges, friendships, and some painful decisions. Where does a spirited and rebellious young woman like Eliza really belong?

Description from Publisher

Teens, teachers, and librarians looking for historical fiction with strong regional flavor will relish this novel. Based on actual places and events, the coming-of-age story re-creates daily life during the early 1900s at Stepping Stones Lighthouse, located in Long Island Sound. Eliza Charity Brown's family staffs the lighthouse. Unable to have friends because of the remoteness of the place, Eliza spends her days fishing for eels, polishing brass, and attending school on nearby City Island. But she yearns for freedom from chores and isolation. When her favorite brother, Peter, drowns, Eliza escapes the lighthouse to live with her sister on City Island, and her high spirits and rebellious nature eventually spark adventures that result in romance and a challenging new life. Rich in historical detail, this engaging story presents a lively heroine eager to set out on her journey to adulthood.

Description from Booklist

The plot is engaging and enriched with substantial historical detail, bringing time and place vividly to light. . . . Liza's personality is vibrant and irresistible; secondary characters are varied and multidimensional. . . . Overall, this is an outstanding book with a truly contemporary heroine in a historical setting. Readers of L.M. Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables" series will find in Liza a kindred spirit.

Description from School Library Journal

Will Somebody Please Marry My Sister?

By Eth Clifford
Living with his family in a crowded apartment, all Abel Stoner wants is a room of his own--someplace to set up his ham radio, do his homework, and escape all the women in the household. The only way he sees this happening is if he can concoct a plan to get his oldest sister married. A comic adventure set in 1920s Brooklyn.

Description from Publisher

An able chronicler of other times and places turns out an average preteen problem novel with an overlay of period pictures--the streetcar, the corner grocery--intended to provide historical context. It's 1925 and Abel wants his sisters married and out of the apartment so that he can have a room of his own. While Annie, the middle child, is eager to marry Bruce, she is kept waiting by her grandmother's belief that the older daughter, Ruth, must be wed first. To speed his sisters' departures, Abel allies himself with Hilda, the pesty daughter of a local matchmaker, and they invite a stream of potential husbands to dinner.

Description from School Library Journal

The Lion in the Box: A Christmas Story

By Marguerite De Angeli
A meager Christmas seems to be in store for a turn-of-the-century New York family when its widowed mother is able to get work only occasionally, until a wonderful event occurs in her absence.

Description from Publisher

When my sisters and I were small children, my mother began to read us this story just before Christmas. We heard it read aloud each year as we grew up, and it became an important and special part of our holiday celebration. Now as a middle school teacher, I read this book to my students each December. It's a charming (and true!) tale of a loving family who experience a very special holiday. Simple but sincere, heartwarming and gentle, Lion in the Box is a book to treasure. Sharing this story each year is a wonderful tradition to start in your own family.

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review




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