Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Keep Smiling Through” as Want to Read:
Keep Smiling Through
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Keep Smiling Through

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  402 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
For young Kay, growing up in middle class America during World War II is a confusing and sometimes painful experience. Her stepmother, Amazing Grace, is a selfish woman who takes her unhappiness out on those around her. And for a little girl so concerned with pleasing others and doing the honorable thing, life with Amazing Grace is nearly unbearable. But Kay is also a beli ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published May 1st 1996 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Apr 10, 2011 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book is great because it's talking about a girl called ann ,she survived in World War 2 with her stepmother,father,sister and brother . Her stepmother was German and take over ann's happiness and ruined her life , while ann was at school she met a friend called
Addyson Huneke
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book on Independence Day because it was my turn to do the book review and I hadn't read anything new in the past weeks. This book only took me two hours to read at the most, I don't know for certain because I wasn't looking at the clock. I didn't put it down once.

Writing: 5/5
There is something about Ann Rinaldi's books that make them really good and hard to put down (at least the two I've read so far, but I'm pretty sure the others, at least most of them, are just as good). The writi
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fav-of-all-time
So meaningful
Joshua D Lambert
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ann's books are always so well written! In a twist from what I'm used to reading by her, this story takes place in a time when she was alive to witness everything happening around her. The little period details made all the difference in this story from an author who still probably did a lot of research before writing the first word. Ann never disappoints!
This is the story of Kay, the younger sister of two older brothers, living on a farm in New Jersey during WW2. She and her brothers are chiefly entertained by radio shows and playing in the countryside, and her brothers save their allowance to purchase radio-show tie-in merchandise they send away for. Kay is too young to receive allowance. Their mother died when Kay was born, and their father married another woman, "Amazing" Grace, so nicknamed by the black housekeeper, Queenie, who has been a s ...more
Sarah Crawford
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kay is in the fifth grade growing up during the years of the second world war. Her stepmother is ultra-nasty, hateful, bitter, and mistreats Kay all the time. Her father doesn't stand up for her at all, and her life overall is pretty rough.

This doesn't count the problems she has at school, where her living in the countryside sort of puts her out of the in-city school kids cliques. Nothing she does satisfies her step-mother or almost anyone else, for that matter.

Things get more difficult when sh
Keep Smiling Through is a lovely book. Just like Ann Rinaldi’s other novels there is a strong female character who speaks about life truths in a very straightforward almost painfully honest way.

I really like the theme in this one. You can do the right thing but things can still turn out badly. And I like the title, too.

Kay is a girl growing up in World War II. The story starts out when her best friend learns that her brother has been killed and suddenly all the popular girls flock to her, leavin
Jeni Enjaian
I often find it difficult to review children/young adult literature especially after I spend a significant amount of time reading non-fiction. That being said, this is a good book. I have always enjoyed Ann Rinaldi's works.
I found the family situation depressingly sad and heartbreakingly realistic. I kept hoping for some sort of resolution, a sign that the outcome for the family would be much brighter than how it began. Rinaldi skillfully kept that out of the narrative.
The "voice" of the child n
Miss Amanda
gr 5-8 188 pgs

small town in New Jersey 1944/1945. 10 year old Kay never knew her mother since she died when Kay was born. Instead she has only had "Amazing" Grace as a stepmother. No matter how hard she tries, Kay can never seem to please her. When Kay witnesses her grandfather is attacked after being given Nazi propaganda, she is torn. Should she tell the whole truth about the attack?

The story includes a lot of information about the daily sacrifices that people made (sugar rationing, limit of 2
Jack Baillot
When I was younger I read this book almost every year. I loved the story, though it is more of a depressing tale. But there is something about it, something really life that draws you in. Life isn't always easy, but we cannot give up. And I think that is the lesson most clearly seen here. One pities Kay but admires her. It is a very interesting story.
May 02, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was kind of sad... alright, a lot sad. I mean, really depressing. But no tears were shed! It was too short for me to really get into the book... and the characters were... well, bland. The story itself was great, though. Plus I love a good WWII historical fiction. 3 stars!

- Emily @
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really great quick read. I felt sorry for the main character though and felt that she didn't get the great ending that she deserved. I love Ann Rinaldi and this was one of the more resent historical books I've read from her. The reason I didn't give it five stars was because I felt there were too many radio references. If you took all those out the book would be 30 pages shorter.
Jun 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
Kay, a 10-year-old girl, is growing up in New Jersey during WWII. Kay's mother died when she was born, and she had a stepmother who is bitter, angry, and hateful. Kay wants to be a hero like the stars of the radio programs her family listens to, but when she has to make a painful decision, she finds that "You can do the right thing but things can still turn out badly."
I love Ann Rinaldi. All her books are just so fantastic. This one really stands out for me because unlike the others there isn't really any romance in it. which isn't good or bad, just different. Also, it was just a great book. Mrs. Rinaldi captures the whole feeling of the time period beautifully.
I also really liked the Glen Miller's Orchestra and the Shadow references <3.
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a nostalgic look at the life of a young girl here in America during the difficult times of WW II. Rich with tender moments and the young girl searching for meaning and value, the story highlights her bravery in the midst of difficult decisions.
Jul 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
good book
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erin K
May 25, 2013 marked it as childhood-reads  ·  review of another edition
Kelsey Nicholson
My favorite book growing up. I read it over and over again. I even stole a copy from my schools library when I was in middle school, oops, but I just loved it so much.
Ten year old Kay, living with her family in NJ during WWII, makes the painful discovery that doing the right thing is not always easy and often has unexpected consequences
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Polk
Oct 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a spunky book with history thrown in. One of the better historical fictions about the home front that we have read. From beginning to end it is a page turner.
Amazing book. It's for those of you who like to read about life for young kids back in the early days.
rated it it was amazing
Jul 08, 2011
rated it it was amazing
Oct 22, 2009
rated it really liked it
Jan 01, 2010
rated it liked it
Oct 14, 2009
rated it really liked it
Jan 05, 2015
rated it really liked it
Jun 17, 2009
rated it liked it
Sep 24, 2011
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Prisoners Without Trial: Japanese Americans in World War II
  • Land of the Buffalo Bones: The Diary of Mary Ann Elizabeth Rodgers, An English Girl in Minnesota (Dear America)
  • The Journal of Ben Uchida: Citizen 13559 Mirror Lake Internment Camp (My Name Is America)
  • Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918
  • Valley of the Moon: The Diary of María Rosalía de Milagros, Sonoma Valley, Alta Valley, California, 1846, (Dear America)
  • The Star Fisher
  • Gentle Annie
  • All the Stars in the Sky: The Santa Fe Trail Diary of Florrie Mack Ryder (Dear America)
  • Joshua's Song
  • The Parables of Peanuts
  • Look to the Hills: The Diary of Lozette Moreau, a French Slave Girl (Dear America)
  • The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism
  • Cannons at Dawn: The Second Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1779 (Dear America)
  • Beyond the Burning Time
  • Ignite
  • For Freedom: The Story of a French Spy
  • The Divorce Express
  • Exiles from the War: The War Guest Diary of Charlotte Mary Twiss, Guelph, Ontario, 1940 (Dear Canada)
Ann Rinaldi (b. August 27, 1934, in New York City) is a young adult fiction author. She is best known for her historical fiction, including In My Father's House, The Last Silk Dress, An Acquaintance with Darkness, A Break with Charity, and Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons. She has written a total of forty novels, eight of which were listed as notable by the ALA. In 2000, Wolf by the Ears was lis ...more
More about Ann Rinaldi

Young Adult Deals

  • A History of Glitter and Blood
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker & Holmes, #1)
    $7.99 $0.99
  • This Is the Story of You
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Steeplejack (Steeplejack #1)
    $8.51 $2.99
  • Don't Get Caught
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, #2)
    $7.80 $2.99
  • So B. It
    $6.74 $1.99
  • The Rogue Queen (The Hundredth Queen, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Cloaked in Red
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Fire and Bone (Otherborn, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Things I Can't Forget (Hundred Oaks, #3)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Romeo Catchers (The Casquette Girls #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Black and Green (The Ghost Bird, #11)
    $4.99 $1.49
  • The Last Girl (The Dominion Trilogy, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles, #3)
    $7.80 $2.99
  • Girls on Fire
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Before Goodbye
    $1.99 $0.99
  • Fireblood (Whispers from Mirrowen, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • By Your Side
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Delphi Effect (The Delphi Trilogy #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Pants Project
    $9.99 $2.99
“...I think he is just an old man who still believes in his country, his old Germany. we all wanted a new Germany, but not at the cost of this madman, Hitler. Your grandpa can't be blamed for loving his old Germany.” 1 likes
More quotes…