This is a wonderful story that is much more than coming of age. It is humorous, loving, chocked full of wisdom, embracing the power of role models, anThis is a wonderful story that is much more than coming of age. It is humorous, loving, chocked full of wisdom, embracing the power of role models, and simply a joy to read. Julia is short, in fact, her younger brother now surpasses her in height. Claiming her lack of height as her identity, she longs to be taller.
When her mother enrolls Julia and her brother in a summer theatre production, she wants to be anywhere but spending long days practicing The Wizard of Oz. Soon she is cast as a munchkin. From the first day Julia changes her mind about spending days at the theatre. She notices the director who brings joy and knowledge, and then there is Olive, a dwarf who is vertically challenged and chocked full of a healthy self concept.
When Julia is given the additional role as one of the flying monkeys, she takes the job very seriously. Expanding her horizons, she learns of an elderly neighbor who is very talented in costume design. And, off they go, flying through the air as Julia learns to trust and embrace who she is.
Written in poetic style, this is a story of a 13 year old boy whose father left the family after losing his job. Excellently told from the perspectiveWritten in poetic style, this is a story of a 13 year old boy whose father left the family after losing his job. Excellently told from the perspective of the young man who struggles with the father who was warm and loving, and now has abandoned his family. He shares he sense of self esteem, his disappointment, and disbelief.
A lot of emotion is covered in this small, but mighty book....more
Well deserving of a 2017 Newbery honor award, this book is wonderfully crafted from beginning to end. The setting is rural Pennsylvania in the 1940'sWell deserving of a 2017 Newbery honor award, this book is wonderfully crafted from beginning to end. The setting is rural Pennsylvania in the 1940's when the war is raging. And, while the farming community lives their quiet lives, still they are impacted by the war abroad.
The reader is immediately pulled into the story of young Annabelle who is bullied by Betty, a new girl at school. And, a lesser, but mentioned character is a German adult man who sells his produce and doesn't harm, and does not deserve to be ostracized by the local adults.
Betty is a new girl at school who is nasty and evil. While walking on the wooded path to school, Betty stops Annabelle and tells her to bring something the next day or, her two small brothers will pay a price. To reinforce that she means business, Betty uses a large stick to swing and produce welts on Annabelle's leg.
To protect her brothers, and placate Betty, Annabelle takes a penny from her bank, but unfortunately the bank slips and is broken. When questioned, Annabelle lies to her mother.
This simple lie sets in motion the thread that unwinds the spool of nastiness and harm to innocents undeserving of what occurs. And, as Annabelle watches Betty's actions, she grows increasingly fearful and continues not to tell her parents.
Like Scout in the excellent book To Kill a Mockinbird, Annabelle has an introverted male friend who lives in the woods. Toby looks a tad weird, but would never harm or bother others. And, because he saw Betty's cruelty, and cares for his young friend, he firmly warns Betty to leave Annabelle alone.
Sadly, Toby now becomes a target and watches as day after day Betty ups the ante of ugliness as her nastiness expands outward to others. In school, to find an accomplice, she wisely chooses an outcast who looks for trouble and is more than happy to help.
Because the town is already suspicious of someone different than them, Toby is an easy target. And, when a German man stops to allow the children to pet his horse, from high above, a rock is hurled directly at the eye of Annabelle's young school friend. Now, as others are dramatically, physically harmed, Betty sets the trap for Toby to be blamed.
We all may know a bully like Betty from our childhood, or perhaps in our adult work environment She or he is nicely dressed and smiles beguilingly while weaving nasty lies, knowing how to plant the seed that grows out of control, tangling others while stepping back, claiming innocence while blaming others.
This book is stellar in development, and never over dramatic. Well written, the reader can almost hear the sounds of scary background music as crafty Betty picks the most innocent, vulnerable targets, and harms for sheer pleasure.
4.5 Stars! I would have given five stars, but wanted more development regarding the way in which the community treated the Germanic farmer. He was mentioned, then dropped. Annabelle watched the adult treatment of him, and thus may as a result, become hesitant to tell others about Betty, but this wasn't pulled together as tightly as it could have been.
Twelve year old Mathilde loves her family. And twelve year old Mathilde loves her friend Megs. Their country is at war. Slowly the surrounding areas aTwelve year old Mathilde loves her family. And twelve year old Mathilde loves her friend Megs. Their country is at war. Slowly the surrounding areas are confiscated. Each night the remaining people of Sofarende hide in shelters as the sound of bombs pounds their ears.
Resources are scarce, and as the enemy encroaches, food is more scarce each day. The military has a plan. They make a very complicated test that school children whose parents allow can have a chance to give their parents more food and resources. A college education is promised, if the selected children returns when the war is finished.
And increasingly as the bombs hit, it is questionable who will die and who will live. Megs is the brightest in her school, but Mathilde is the one who passes the test.
Mathilde is hidden away with other gifted children. Each child possesses a unique gift. Mathilde's assignment is to daily meet with a young enemy soldier who was captured. As she grows to know the enemy, she questions if there is a right and wrong to war.
Amsterdam under German occupation in 1943 is a dangerous place to live for all. Hanneke is a brave young woman who feeds her family by obtaining blackAmsterdam under German occupation in 1943 is a dangerous place to live for all. Hanneke is a brave young woman who feeds her family by obtaining black-market items to those who have the money to pay for them. Using the funds to feed her family, they do not question how she obtains the needed goods they cannot obtain through rationing.
Everyday acts of rebellion occur by some of the very brave dutch occupants. Not all citizens are brave, or kind. This is a time when one never knows who is safe to share information with, and who is a traitor.
The author does a credible job of portraying the daily fear the people feel as one by one their Jewish neighbors are killed, or taken by train to death campus. The city is filled with those who help and then, those who squeal.
Grieving for a young boyfriend who never made it back from joining the ranks of those brave people who tried to stop the German occupation, Hanneke has learned how to flirt and how to lie in order to navigate streets where German soldiers carefully watch those who still live.
Hanneke must make a decision to help one of her clients find a young girl who is the only survivor when her family was brutally killed. The only identifying marker is that the girl who disappeared wore a blue coat.
History written in YA form is an excellent way for young and older readers to learn of daily life in an occupied country taken over by brutal people who can smile or kill at the flick of a cigarette. ...more