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The Vanderbeekers #1

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

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The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It's practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home.

297 pages, Hardcover

First published October 3, 2017

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About the author

Karina Yan Glaser

10 books842 followers
Originally from California, Karina came to New York City for college and has stuck around for nearly twenty years. She has had a varied career teaching and implementing literacy programs in family homeless shelters and recruiting healthcare professionals to volunteer in under resourced areas around the world. Now as a mother, one of her proudest achievements is raising two kids who can’t go anywhere without a book. She lives in Harlem with her husband, two daughters, dog, cat, and house rabbit.

Karina is a contributing editor at Book Riot where she writes about children's books and her life as a reader.

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5 stars
7,995 (39%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,924 reviews
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,014 reviews97 followers
December 1, 2019
The Vanderbeekers have been living in the brownstone on 141st Street for what seems like forever. It's their family home, but suddenly their landlord (Mr. Beiderman) gives them notice that their lease won't be renewed. They have to be out just after Christmas!

The Vanderbeekers are all shocked. Where will they live? Why must they move? What's up with Beiderman? This move will certainly disrupt their lives, so the five siblings set out to do whatever they can to convince Beaderman to let them stay.

We really enjoyed this story which I found realistic. The Vanderbeekers have a strong connection to their home and even with the community around them. It's easy to understand their emotions with letting go of it and their struggle to keep it. The characters are what truly make this story so great in my opinion. The family theme is wonderful and everything wrapped up nicely in the end.

The book is written well and kept our attention from start to finish. It's a perfect middle-grade read for Christmastime. Even though this is a middle-grade book, I personally enjoyed it and had a lot of emotion in the end. It's that sweet. We can't wait to finish the series.

Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,759 reviews1,218 followers
November 8, 2017
A new book for my favorites shelf! Also I wrote it in and voted for it for Best Children’s Book and for Best Goodreads Debut Author book for the opening round of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards. I don’t know that it will move on to further rounds, given that so far not too many readers have read it, yet, but I hope that it does. I also hope and assume that it will eventually be widely read.

To all the usual suspects, my friends that enjoy children's novels, I'm highly recommending this one!!!

This book is a true gem and I believe it’s destined to become a classic. It reads like a classic.

I had a feeling that I’d thoroughly enjoy it when I read the author’s bio section on the inside back cover and it included the line “one of her proudest achievements is raising two kids who can’t go anywhere without a book.” Love it! Also, the two quotes that act as a frontispiece before the start of the book are from the Melendy book Spiderweb for Two and from Anne of Green Gables; that was another promising sign that this book would be a winner.

The story is memorable, charming, heartwarming, humorous, entertaining, absorbing, and sweet, but not too sweet. I loved the kids, the parents, and almost all the characters. Even the minor characters were given depth. The various relationships are believable and interesting.

For me it was an ideal comfort read.

I’ve always loved books about large families so this story was my cup of tea. (As an only child I’ve gotten a lot of vicarious pleasure while reading books about families with many children.) This family has 2 parents, 5 children, including a set of twins (another of my interests) and a dog, a cat, and a house bunny. It’s a great sibling story. I loved all the characters. They’re all distinct individuals, and the 5 kids are all a joy. I loved all of them. I felt as though I got to know everybody well within the first several pages. This is also a marvelous neighborhood story. Harlem is a character too, and an interesting one; at times the story felt like a love letter to Harlem.

The story is a fine story about family, and also about friendships and neighbors/community and it has an extraordinarily good sense of place. It’s a story about home, about belonging and about what makes a home a home.

I appreciate that the kids have advanced vocabularies and so the book does too, but it’s not at all too challenging for middle grade readers. The story has just the proper number of times some kids might have to look up a word. Kids won’t mind at all, and because all the words are in context most readers will be able to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words.

For me the storytelling was perfect and the story nearly so. I’m not sure that I loved the epilogue, at least not exactly as it was, but I still enjoyed it.

I’m perplexed about why some Goodreads members have shelved this book on their “fantasy” bookshelves. This book is realistic fiction.

For readers who enjoy seasonal books, this book would be a fine choice to read just prior to or during the Christmas holidays. Most of the book’s events take place during the few days leading up to Christmas and then on Christmas Day.

This would have definitely been a favorite book of mine when I was 9 and 10, and 11 and maybe 8, and I have no doubt that I would have reread it many times. Even reading it as an adult I adore it and consider it a special book. I inhaled it and never wanted to put it down; that would have been even more true when I was in elementary school.

The story is greatly enhanced by the delightful illustrations and the map of the family’s neighborhood. I am fond of maps in books and this one was excellent. There is also a floor plan of the family’s apartment/apartment building. I love floor plans and used to read books containing nothing but floor plans. So this illustration was great fun for me. The illustrations throughout the book were lovely and pleasing and informative and contribute a lot to the story. The cover illustration is drawn incorrectly though. Floor 2 seems to be missing. Also, the text on page 216 doesn’t seem to match the map. These are incredibly minor quibbles though. I noticed the discrepancies only because I paid great attention to all the illustrations, really savoring them.

I might buy this book, even though unfortunately I’m not buying books these days. (I notice that it’s possible to get a signed edition at a wonderful NYC independent children’s bookstore I know of because I have a friend who works there. Very tempting!)

Highly recommended for readers ages 9 (maybe 8) and all the way up, anyone who enjoys children’s novels, family stories, NYC stories, stories with biracial characters, humorous stories, reading about characters who are musicians and/or artists and/or writers, reading about companion animals, reading about food in books, or just about everyone who enjoys children’s novels.

It’s so hard to write reviews for books I love the most. I cannot do this book justice via my review.

There is going to be a companion book coming out in 2018 and I’m looking forward to reading it.
Profile Image for Linda Jackson.
Author 0 books72 followers
June 17, 2017
Have you ever had a book come along just when you needed it most?

When I requested the ARC of Karina Yan Glaser’s The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, I had no idea that upon approval of the request, I would be in the midst of a very rough week and that this lovely book would be my refuge. My week was harried and anxiety-ridden, but every time I opened my Kindle to this book, I felt like I was taking a mini-vacation.

I THOROUGHLY enjoyed the world of the Vanderbeekers. Karina Yan Glaser has created a charming cast of characters (even Oliver…ESPECIALLY Oliver). Though it is a contemporary novel, it has a classic feel. Walkie-Talkies? Do kids today even know what those are? They will after they meet the Vanderbeekers.

I highly recommend this book to parents who enjoy reading with their children. And I hope many teachers and librarians will make it available to their students. Thank you, Karina Yan Glaser, for introducing us to the WONDERFUL Vanderbeekers of 141st Street!
Profile Image for Hilary .
2,231 reviews398 followers
August 26, 2019
I feel mean giving this book such a low rating as everyone else loves this book and my goodreads friend who recommended this to us shares many books we both absolutely love but we really didn't enjoy this at all.

We liked the cover artwork although there is a floor missing on the Vanderbeeker's house and the house to the left appears to be on a different level as the top of the door dissapears into the pavement? The line drawings inside reminded me of Nick Sharrat whose illustrations I strongly dislike and I think the style lends itself to a much younger audience although I do love maps and diagrams in a book. After 90 pages my daughter wanted to stop reading, I carried on until page 200 and gave up. I read the epilogue and couldn't understand why this was about a date and not about the main plot of the book.

Perhaps my expectations were too high, opening with a quote from Elizabeth Enright's Spiderweb for Two led me to make comparisons with these wonderful books and when I read parts such as the girls looking for a recipe to cook on their mums phone I couldn't help but think of the wonderful preserving scenes of Mona and Randy. The style of this book reminded me of Jacqueline Wilson an author who's books are really popular but personally I really do not like. Reading reviews for this I can see that everyone else really enjoyed this so I would recommend giving it a go!
Profile Image for Kate Willis.
Author 20 books501 followers
May 16, 2018
My mom just finished reading this aloud to us all at my recommendation. Everyone from my dad to my youngest sister enjoyed our journey through the book. And I loved it just as much the second time around. <3

I loved all of the characters in this book. I never got confused about which kid was which (except for the first few chapters when I thought the dog, Franz, was one of the kids :P). They were all unique with their own goals no matter how small but similar enough to all be from the same family. Their sibling dynamics, fun traditions (like the Roof of Epic Proportions and the Christmas tree lot), and personalities reminded me very much of my own family, down to Oliver, the only brother who sleeps in a walk-in closet turned bedroom. ;) Hyacinth, the self-proclaimed middle child, was my favorite character since she was a lot like me. I also need to be brave. ;) Papa and Mama were darling, good parents, and all their neighbors were something special.

I know what it’s like to move at Christmastime from a home I love, so you can bet I was invested in Operation Biederman! Their attempts were hilarious and heartwarming. Some did include sneaking around their parents, but I was thrilled when this was dealt with really well. Two thumbs up and a fifth star! I loved how the story turned out, and the ending scene reminded me a lot of It’s a Wonderful Life. ;)

Just a note, there are some fake swear words. Also, a friend wants to take the 12-year-old daughter as his date to the school dance, but this was handled with much family involvement and was all-around appropriate.

Best quote: She smiled at her siblings. "It's good to be a Vanderbeeker, wherever we live."

Altogether, this book had good values, a sweet story, and hilarious, true-to-life characters--a special treat for me and my family. We are eagerly awaiting the sequel. :D
Profile Image for Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura).
505 reviews731 followers
November 21, 2020
I came across this on Instagram a while back and was instantly drawn to the book. When I opened the first page I didn't think this book would become a favorite. I was looking for a comfort read when I decided to pick this up and it was definitely what I needed.

These kids are so charming and loveable. Each one of the siblings was unique. I loved that they each had their own personalities and interests. They were also very creative and I just enjoyed following their story so much. The story focused a lot on found family and being a part of a community. There was always a sense of togetherness, among the siblings and their neighbors and friends. I cry easily when reading books and this one made me really emotional. They had things that they needed to solve and I adore that we got to view things from the perspective of each of them. The Vanderbeeker siblings have quickly taken over my heart.

I haven't come across a middle grade book that I couldn't stop thinking about in a long time. This books (and the others) are timeless. I loved them as an adult and I just know that kids will love them too. I really can't recommend them enough! If you get the chance to buy these please do.
Profile Image for Allison Tebo.
Author 20 books324 followers
November 2, 2021
Re-read 2021.

Original Review:

A sweet little book but not quite as amazing as I thought it would be - although I must say the cover art and interior formatting are all that one could desire.

It was a little difficult at points to keep the children straight, and I felt that the authoress would have been better off combining some of the character bits into four more rounded children, then six murkier ones. It was nice to see one of the sisters (Jessie) so interested in science. I loved her incredible creations, and it was more of a fun take on the less "girly" sister, instead of making her a sports enthusiast. Oliver was also nice to see; it was a relief that in a family of girls, the brother was still firmly holding onto his masculinity. :) He is a typical boy, reading boy books and getting up to rambunctious antics - but he's also quirky, and I loved his little side arc of learning not to be selfish.

In all honesty though, the characters and the story weren't quiet as good as I thought they would be. All the ingredients are here to be a stupendous story, but instead of heartfelt, I felt that it could lean closer to saccharine and instead of natural, the story and characters could be a little stilted.

I liked the setting and thought it was pretty unique for this type of story. The authoress did a great job making Harlem feel almost like a fantasy location. Though I have to admit, I was shaking my head at the way the parents let the twelve year old children walk the streets of Harlem to run errands without an adult accompanying them. I don't think so.

It was also interesting that unlike books such as the Penderwicks or Gone Away Lake, our characters don't go anywhere, but are committed to staying where they are.

It didn't have the perfection, heart, and sticking power of The Penderwicks or Gone Away Lake - but it's still a charming better than average story and I would definitely read the upcoming sequel.

Content: The children have some vocabulary that made me cringe and there's some preteen romance.
Profile Image for Laura (bbliophile).
791 reviews155 followers
June 7, 2019
Do you ever cry tears of happiness because of how lovely a book is? Because that's what happened to me with this book
Profile Image for Sana.
104 reviews60 followers
October 31, 2021
این کتاب چند وقت پیش در طاقچه توجهمو جلب کرد. فوق العاده و کیوت ترین کتابیه که خوندم، چقدر دوسش داشتم پیشنهاد می کنم حتما بخونین💖
Profile Image for Kate Olson.
2,190 reviews724 followers
September 15, 2017
The Vanderbeekers are guaranteed to steal the heart of every single reader who picks up this book, children and adults alike. This is THE feel-good and huggable middle grade novel of 2017.

Thank you to the author for providing Kid Lit Exchange with a review copy of this title.

Okay, so this is one of those emotional reviews for me - one where I really don't tell you much about the book but just rave and rave and tell you how much I loved it. The Vanderbeekers instantly brought me back to reading the Melendy Quartet series as a child, books about a quirky and loving family that I read over and over and over and over, and have just recently returned to as an adult. The Vanderbeekers are just as timeless, and just as loveable. I was absolutely, 100% utterly enchanted by this book.

This story is set in Harlem with an incredibly diverse cast of characters about a family who lives in an amazing home in an amazing neighborhood with a fabulous sense of community. She describes the children and their features in beautiful ways that make it clear that they all look very different from one another, and connects them to their parents' features through those descriptions. The relationships between the children and their family are realistic but also written in such a playful way - the language in this book is perfection. I love the storyline, I love the characters, I love the problems they have to solve - I just love it all.

Verdict: Required purchase for all middle grade classrooms and libraries. I just pre-ordered copies for both of my libraries as well as for my own family. Stay tuned for the next story about the Vanderbeekers coming in 2018 - I can not WAIT for this!
Profile Image for Darla.
3,340 reviews524 followers
November 21, 2022
Want to start at the very beginning? Here it is!

This book is an absolute delight. From the first chapter I fell in love with the Vanderbeeker household lock stock and barrel. Definitely destined to be added to the list of classic middle grade family books.

The five Vanderbeeker children range from age 4-and-three-quarters to twelve; four girls and one boy. They also have a dog, a cat and a rabbit which all adds up to one bustling household. When they find out their lease will not be renewed for the new year, the kids all come up with their own ways to convince their landlord to let them stay.

This would make a delighful classroom readaloud at Christmastime. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words).
392 reviews957 followers
December 28, 2018
DELIGHTFUL! CHARMING! I love this quirky family of seven, the community they’ve fostered in their neighborhood, their sweetness (and occasional saltiness) with each other. Laney, the four year old and youngest, especially won my heart. She was a little fairy sprite of a thing, flitting about handing out hugs - I just found her so endearing! I can’t wait to read the next book in the Vanderbeeker’s adventures.
Profile Image for Laura Shovan.
Author 11 books137 followers
December 26, 2016
Perfect middle grade novel to read over the holidays. I fell in love with the 5 Vanderbeeker children and the cast of friends, neighbors, and pets that make up their community. The Biederman is a Scrooge-like Christmas villain and the children's efforts to butter him up are hilarious disasters. Fans of middle grade family stories -- the Melendys, Hilary McKay's Casson family, the Penderwicks, All of a Kind Family -- will enjoy the Vanderbeekers, no matter what the season.
Profile Image for Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls).
1,592 reviews3,472 followers
April 4, 2020
3.5 stars
I wasn’t sure about this book at first, but the back cover sounded interesting, so I tried it out. Besides a few words I would have preferred being left out, it was a really cute story and I definitely plan on reading the rest of the series.

*Some Christian content (blessings over food, a mention of a dad reading “a big book” in the morning, mentions of churches and a nativity set)

*Minor cussing (a handful of ‘fudge’s; a couple ‘sucks’, a ‘freaking’, a few ‘screwed up’s, a couple ‘what the—‘, a ‘kick-butt’); a mention of kicking someone’s butt in basketball; A bit of thinking about harming a person you dislike or painting “bathroom words” on his door; Mentions of deaths (& wondering if someone killed them) & how it happened (no true details);

*There is a little bit of liking someone (from one of the 12year old twins) and dances, but nothing super romantic/serious.
Profile Image for Luisa Knight.
2,763 reviews728 followers
November 8, 2022
Ages: 7 - 14


Children's Bad Words
Mild Obscenities & Substitutions - 11 Incidents: freaking, fudge, scr*wed up, dang, shut up
Name Calling - 4 Incidents: What a punk!, Rotten Beiderman, dummy, Stupid Beiderman
Religious Profanities - 3 Incidents: Geez, thank goodness

Romance Related - 12 Incidents: A mother and father kiss. A boy wants to take a girl to a dance. They are good friends, nothing really romantic is mentioned except that they like each other. This is throughout the book. A husband and wife kiss. A friend is going to a dance and suggests that her date find a guy for her friend. She also says, “I wonder if Carlson is going to wear a suit. Wouldn’t that be so romantic?” “Our daughters aren’t allowed to date until after college, right?” Some boys have a crush on twin girls. A boy asks a girl to the dance. A woman hugs her landlord. A boy comes to pick up a girl to take her to the dance. A girl tries on a sleeveless dress. "Kick-butt queen." "Kicks your butt at basketball."

Attitudes/Disobedience - 11 Incidents: A girl started pretending the gumdrops were the Beiderman’s [landlord’s] eyes and she was stabbing them with the toothpicks. A boy tells his sister “Leave. Me. Alone.” Children mention letting their dog loose to have him pee all over their landlords door again.
A friend mentions that the only reason she hasn’t run away from home to find new parents is because of her friends living close by. A boy is upset so kicks the wall twice. A girl stomps her foot and pouts. A boy is grumpy and talks back to his mom. When a girl’s sister gets picked on, she punches the boy in the stomach and lectures him. A boy lies, trying to be polite - “‘You can have some of mine [cookies]. I don’t mind,’ he lied.” A boy lies to a man, telling him the wrong direction to his house. Two sisters fight and don’t talk with each other for a time. They work it out though.

Conversation Topics - 5 Incidents: Parents gather their children to have a family discussion - the children jump to the conclusion that their parents are getting a divorce. (They’re not - the family has to move). Children are upset they have to move and are half serious about spray-painting their landlords door “With disgusting bathroom words.” They decide, however, to do nice things to win him over and what the book is about. Mentions a lighter for a cigarette. A werewolf and a unicorn are in a movie the children watched. Mentions Halloween candy.

Parent Takeaway
Although the children occasionally bicker or have a bad attitude, they always make up fairly quickly and correct it. When the twins get into a fight, the parents decide not to interfere, but let them work it out on their own; they even each pick a girl to be with that first night to hang around in case one of them wants to talk. There is a boy and girl that like each other and eventually go to a dance, but throughout the book it's presented more like a friendship than dating - any mushiness is incredibly mild to non-existent. The family is actually pretty close-knit and get along well together.

**Like my reviews? Then you should follow me! Because I have hundreds more just like this one. With each review, I provide a Cleanliness Report, mentioning any objectionable content I come across so that parents and/or conscientious readers (like me) can determine beforehand whether they want to read a book or not. Content surprises are super annoying, especially when you’re 100+ pages in, so here’s my attempt to help you avoid that!

So Follow or Friend me here on GoodReads! And be sure to check out my bio page to learn a little about me and the Picture Book/Chapter Book Calendars I sell on Etsy!
Profile Image for Ian.
1,346 reviews188 followers
November 3, 2018
When their grouchy landlord who lives in the top floor apartment decides to not renew their lease, the Vanderbeekers face not only having to leave their beloved Harlem Brownstone they might have to leave New York.

The Vanderbeeker children set about convincing the Beiderman to let them stay.

This book is completely charming. it's written for young readers but I loved it.
Profile Image for Jessica Woodbury.
1,602 reviews2,041 followers
March 16, 2018
It is quietly amazing how this book manages to be charming and light on its feet but also present problems that will hit kids with real weight. A fabulous balance that was really lovely to read.

This is in some ways an old school book, one relying heavily on the power of one family just loving each other a lot. It's also diverse without being showy about it, the Vanderbeekers are a biracial family, their friends and neighbors are of different races and genders and abilities.

I will admit, as an introvert the Vanderbeeker family was a lot. So many people! Around all the time! So little space! But this is adult Jess talking, and adult Jess also found the whole thing ridiculously charming. And my kids, who only have one sibling each, are happy to imagine a world where having four siblings is a delight, while their mother who had three siblings is thankful for the quiet while recognizing that it's books like this that initially made me want to have four kids when I grew up. (Glad I figured it out before it was too late.)

Disclosure: I have met Karina before and liked her very much.
Profile Image for Rachel.
Author 12 books152 followers
December 20, 2021
Wow. Wow, wow, wow. I'm not even sure how to review this book! I mean, I basically cried from joy through the last 30 pages, it was so good.

The Vanderbeekers are one of those lively families I always wanted to belong to when I was a kid. I would read about the Quimbys and the Melendys and the All-of-a-Kind family and wish I was either a friend to those kids or else their long-lost sister And this hit me very much the same way, except that now that I'm an adult, I spent half my time wishing I was a kid who was friends with the Vanderbeeker kids and half the time wishing I was an adult who was friends with their parents. Because their parents are EXCELLENT. Warm, loving, sensible, kind, firm. I could totally be friends with them.
Profile Image for Joanne O'Sullivan.
Author 29 books54 followers
May 28, 2017
The sweetest, cutest story! I kept imagining this is what a Wes Anderson movie made specifically for kids would be like! The Vanderbeekers are a quintessentially New York eccentric family, with bright kids, each with their own unique character. When they face losing their home in a beloved Harlem brownstone, they spring into action. I loved how Glaser emphasized the power of community and the power of music in this story- this world felt so real and the reader is 100 percent behind the kids as they fight to protect their wonderful home. I got teary at the end! Would recommend for kids of all ages and it would be a great classroom read!
1 review
April 3, 2017
This is a wonderful book that's positively overflowing with charm. The Vanderbeeker children are hilarious, and I fell instantly in love with each one of them and with the happy chaos of their household of 5 children, one dog, one cat and one bunny. I couldn't have loved them more! Karina Yan Glaser is an author to watch.
Profile Image for Suzy.
775 reviews249 followers
December 21, 2021
One of my favorite things over the years has been giving books as gifts to my nieces and nephews, who are now adults with children of their own. In recent years, I've read a few books aimed at children to see whether they are gift worthy. A few have become favorites of mine and the kids', like Matt Haig's A Boy Called Christmas series. This one was a delightful read for me, and I hope the same for the great nieces and nephews who are getting it for Christmas this year.

The Vanderbeekers live in a brownstone, no they live in The Brownstone as everyone refers to it, which is a character in itself in this story. Mr. Vanderbeeker has lived here all his life and now with his wife and five kids. Five days before Christmas their landlord, reclusive Mr. Biederman on the third floor tells them he will not be renewing their lease. To make matters worse, they must be out by the end of the month. Everyone whips into action! The adults start packing and looking for a place to move. The distraught kids launch Operation Biederman, a full out program to get "The Biederman", as they call him, to change his mind and let them stay.

This is a lively story that will appeal to middle grade kids and adults alike. Will they get the Biederman to change his mind? Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbeeker are doubtful and are full out getting ready to move, but their kids are determined, even engaging neighbors in their operation!

I really liked this story; I think all the more so because I listened to the great Robin Miles narrate the audiobook. This is the first in a series of five - I hope to read more! I fell in love with the Vanderbeeker family!

Why I'm reading this: Continuing my annual holiday reading extravaganza!
Profile Image for Laura.
559 reviews90 followers
January 19, 2022
I really enjoyed this, and I’m excited to read more about the Vanderbeeker family! It was sweet, and touching, and unlike most middle grade novels, the parents were wonderful people. I liked how the kids worked together as a family, and each child had their own interests and talents in the forms of music, art, and literature. I must also note, that the authors choice to include three pets with this family was much appreciated by me. They have a dog named Frantz, a cat named George Washington, and a rabbit named Paganini. I think this would make a charming read aloud to elementary kids!

This was a clean read. There weren’t any swear words or using God’s name in vain. However, there were a few words expressed that we don’t use in our family. (Other reviews point these words out, and it looks like the next books don’t use these words nearly as much!)

An older sibling does show interest in a boy and attends a dance with him. It was all done tastefully, and actually showed how to respect the differences between siblings.

Profile Image for Amber.
991 reviews
September 8, 2018
When the Vanderbeeker family finds out that they are not going to have their lease renewed and have to move after Christmas, the Vanderbeeker siblings must team up and do whatever they can to save their home. Will they succeed? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good read about family and what it means to be kind and more. If you love these types of family stories, be sure to check this one out at your local library and wherever books are sold.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 7 books1,211 followers
May 6, 2017
I loved the hell outta this book and the entire Vanderbeeker clan.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,113 reviews186 followers
August 28, 2019
Karina Yan Glaser delivers a charming family story and a delightfully heartwarming Christmas tale with her debut children's novel, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. When the five Vanderbeeker siblings - twelve-year-old twins, Isa and Jessie, nine-year-old Oliver, six-year-old Hyacinth, and four-year-old Laney - discover that they are in danger of losing their home, they are terribly dismayed. They have always lived at the brownstone at 141st Street, in New York City's Harlem, and they have always had a close relationship with all of their neighbors. Can they convince Mr. Beiderman - the notorious recluse and misanthrope who owns their building, and who stays shut in his apartment on the top floor - to renew their lease, or will this Christmas be their last at 141st Street...?

Comprised of six sections, one each devoted to the days ranging from December 20th through December 25th, The Vandebeekers of 141st Street reads like a contemporary update of some of the classics of American children's literature. The eponymous family is biracial, and their circle of friends is diverse, but this is dealt with in a matter-of-fact way, and never feels like the focus of the story. There is a warmhearted goodness to this tale of family and community, and I enjoyed pretty much everything about it. The children feel like believable characters, their concerns and brief quarrels relatable and sympathetic. Mama and Papa make for appealing parents, and the family pets are adorable (although the cat-lover in me would have liked more about the feline George Washington). I appreciated the fact that this was set in a contemporary New York City, but not a gritty, grim one. The conclusion of the story, in which the explanation for Mr. Beiderman's behavior is revealed, and the issue of the Vanderbeekers' home happily resolved, is entirely appropriate for a Christmas tale, making me wish I had read this one at that time of year. Highly recommended to anyone in the market for new family stories for the middle-grade set!
Profile Image for Wendi Lee.
Author 1 book469 followers
September 22, 2019
4.5 stars

I loved this book!! Loved it! At first I was nervous because there are five Vanderbeeker kids, and I know from other books (not naming names) that sometimes too many siblings can cause mass confusion and cardboard personalities for the entire book. But here, every sibling is so well-written! I loved them all, as well as their plight to save their childhood home and unravel the mystery of their mean, agoraphobic landlord.

Read for my stepson's Battle of the Books.
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