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The Summer We Found the Baby

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  259 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Set during World War II, this poignant, briskly paced historical novel relays the events of one extraordinary summer from three engaging points of view.

On the morning of the dedication of the new children's library in Belle Beach, Long Island, eleven-year-old Julie Sweet and her six-year-old sister, Martha, find a baby in a basket on the library steps. At the same time, tw
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published August 4th 2020 by Candlewick Press
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Average rating 3.63  · 
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Panda Incognito
I am clearly in the minority here, but I did not enjoy this book at all. The premise interested me, but the story diverges after the premise to go into three different characters' flashbacks, random reflections, and stories about different things that had happened to them. The main plot comes together at the end, but the book is full of irrelevant material, and every single line of dialogue is written in all caps, with no quotation marks. This stylistic choice irritated me to no end, and even th ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children and adults looking for a hopeful read
Recommended to Ivonne by: NetGalley
This sweet novel proves that sometimes children’s books are wasted on children. That’s not a curmudgeonly attack on kids; it’s just that there are children’s books in which only adults can pick up on the nuances. Amy Hest’s The Summer We Found the Baby is such a book.

It would be too easy to reveal too much. Just let me say that when headstrong 11-year-old Julie discovers a foundling in a basket at the public library she snatches it up and makes off with it, followed by her 6-year-old sister Mar
Kasey Giard
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
THE SUMMER WE FOUND THE BABY is one of those books where what’s not said on the page is as important as what is. A girl and her sister find a baby. A boy follows them. How they’re connected and why the girls feel drawn to the baby changes tells a moving story that I know I won’t soon forget.

One point-of-view is from Martha Sweet, the younger sister of Julie, who first finds the baby. Martha is sweet, enthusiastic, and energetic. She doesn’t always understand what’s going on around her, but she l
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tween-novel
Wow. What a little treasure! If the great title doesn't capture the reader then the short chapters with alternating narrators certainly will. The story is told in snippets and goes back and forth in time during a summer on Long Island during WWII. Unlike some historical fiction for kids, this one doesn't get bogged down in vernacular and really lengthy-- HEY THIS IS FROM ANOTHER TIME PERIOD SO LET ME REALLY REALLY MAKE THAT CLEAR IN A MYRIAD OF WAYS THAT WILL TURN OFF A TEN YEAR OLD.
Nope, not t
Dec 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Discovering a baby on the steps of Belle Beach Children's library, the children soon discover a more complicated plot, in this beautifully textured novel.
Marissa Gehrke
Why is the dialogue in all caps? I felt like I was being yelled at the whole time and IT WAS VERY STRESSFUL.
Ms. Yingling
Mar 23, 2020 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Julie and her young sister Martha are taking a cake to the opening of the new children's library in their small coastal town during WWII when they find a baby in a basket on the front steps! Unfortunately, Julie's nemesis, Bruno, also shows up and interferes with her plans to take the baby to the beach and... well, she doesn't have the best plan. Martha, who is six, is up for any adventure, and just wants to name the baby Nancy. While the three try to decide what to d
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I adore books and read many genres. Books written for the middle grade audience are some of my favorites, and The Summer We Found the Baby has just been added to my middle grade favorites list. The book is written in the voice of three characters: Julie, her younger sister Martha, and their summer neighbor Bruno. It’s sort of a stream of consciousness book in that as the three tell the story, their narratives are random memories…like you get three different points of view of the same event. It w ...more
Alex  Baugh
The country may be at war, but on the morning of the dedication and opening of a new children's library in Belle Beach, Long Island, Julie Sweet, 11, has baked an angel food cake (her first cake ever). And even though George, the dog, helped himself to some of it, enough was rescued and so Julie and her younger sister Martha, 6, are heading over to the library with it and that's when they find an abandoned baby - left in a basket on the library steps.

On the same morning, Bruno Ben-Eli, 12, is h
Sandy Brehl
This middle grade, multi-voiced view of WWII from a Long Island summer getaway achieves a remarkable sense of contemporary relevance. It employs alternating voices with distinctly narrow points of view as the narrators. Eleven-year-old Julie and her six-years-old sister Martha arrived from the city as summer residents with their writer/father, becoming temporary next-door neighbors to the family of year-round resident Bruno Ben-Eli. With Julie’s single-minded pursuit of proving herself, young Ma ...more
J.L. Slipak
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Set during World War II, this poignant, briskly paced historical novel relays the events of one extraordinary summer from three engaging points of view.

On the morning of the dedication of the new children’s library in Belle Beach, Long Island, eleven-year-old Julie Sweet and her six-year-old sister, Martha, find a baby in a basket on the library steps. At the same time, twelve-year-old Bruno Ben-Eli is on his way to the train station to catch the 9:15 train into New York City. He is on an import
Karen (BaronessBookTrove)
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy from the Author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Summer We Found the Baby by Amy Hest is about a strange summer for three kids.
What will Julie, Martha, and Bruno do when they find a baby?
Julie and Martha Sweet
The first two characters are sisters that are born five years apart. Julie is the eldest sister who raised her sister with their father even though she doesn't seem like she cares about Martha. She
Brian Paquin
Aug 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Told through multiple narrators --Julie, Martha, and Bruno--this was a sweet story about some kids who find a baby on the steps of the new children's library in Belle Beach. The mystery is finding out who the baby belongs to and what was written in Ben's letter and who Bruno was supposed to find in NYC. Short chapters and quickly paced, this was an enjoyable read. ...more
Julie, age 11, finds a baby in a basket on the steps of the new children's library and she's sure it's for her. What a premise! It totally works. Told with the voices of three alternating characters--Julie, the baby collector, her sister Martha, age 6, who makes friends with everyone and Bruno Ben-Eli, self-described "mature for his age" whose brother is serving overseas during WWII. I thought I knew how this book would end but I was surprised. Great writing. Highly recommend. A quick read. Elea ...more
Brenda Kahn
Rather impressionistic home front story told from the POV of three children. As a result, details are a bit sketchy and one of the narrators is very young and a tad unreliable. Interesting how the pieces come together.
Oct 02, 2020 rated it liked it
This book, hovering somewhere between middle grade and middle school appeal, tells a story that is a snapshot of what life was like “back home” once America got into WWII from the perspectives of three children whose lives are touched by real loss and an innocence they cling to when faced with those losses. The plot is somewhat improbable (Eleanor Roosevelt arriving in a limo-like car and inviting the children (and the baby they have found) to a picnic on the beach), but may be plausible to a te ...more
Dawn Foster
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not at all what I expected! A charming story set during World War II & starring 3 kids who find a baby in a basket on the steps of the their local library! Remember, it won't be what you expect! ...more
I am a WW II baby, then later in life remember talking with my mother, aunts and grandmothers about the long wait for letters from those family members who were servicemen fighting all over the world. When you see this idyllic cover of children on a beach, it's a surprise to read that it's not a sweet summer on the ocean story, but a complex tale of those children, seen as white, all figuring out their lives during the war. Julie Sweet, eleven, and Martha, her baby sister, six, have come to the ...more
I've never read a book like The Summer We Found the Baby. Filled with lighthearted humor, a serious historical setting, and an adorable trio of narrators, this book shows how the simplest morning can turn into a grand adventure.

Each chapter features three different perspectives: Julie, 11, determined to be first to the opening of the new children's library. Her sister, Martha, 6, who is equally determined never to be left behind. Bruno, 12, is on a very important mission, at least until he sees
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love reading books seasonally and this one is a great summer read for elementary children. Older reluctant readers will enjoy some historical details about WWII and a cameo by a First Lady. And younger readers will appreciate the very short chapters. This would be a perfect book to transition into reading to oneself. Although it could still be a wonderful read aloud for the family.

There is a bit of mystery involved; the main element of which is introduced in the first chapter and not fully exp
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
Bruno and Julie aren’t really friends anymore, but in the small town of Belle Beach, Long Island, they still see one another. That’s how Bruno sees Julie discover the baby that was left on the steps of the new children’s library. Julie carries the baby off, leaving Bruno to discover the note that Julie never found. Bruno though is on a mission for his brother who is overseas fighting in World War II, and he must decide if he will miss the train to New York or not. Told through flashbacks that sh ...more
Amanda Dinorah
Apr 23, 2020 rated it liked it
The Summer We Found the Baby- Amy Fest


Bruno Ben-Eli, Julie, and Martha all spend their summer at Belle Beach, only Ben lives there year round. Julie and Martha are visiting for the summer as their dad is doing important work at Camp Mitchel. This summer is one full of adventure during WWII while Bruno waits for letters from his brother Ben.

There is a big grand opening of the children’s library in town. Julie and Martha have baked a cake for this celebration and intend on arriving early.
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
It is opening day for the new Children's Library in Belle Beach, Long Island. That isn't the only thing happening though. When eleven year old Julie Sweet and her little sister arrive for the opening they find a baby in a basket on the steps of the new Library. While that happens twelve year old Bruno Ben-Eli is heading to the train station on a special mission from his brother who is a solider across sea in WWII. However he sees Julie take the baby and that distracts him from the mission becaus ...more
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-9-12-picks
Belle Beach Island, 70-miles from New York City, is the setting for “The Summer We Found the Baby,” a historical fiction honey for 9-12-year olds by Amy Hest takes place during World War II.
Three appealing kids with personality plus are at the center of the action. Julie, Martha and Bruno are shocked to find a baby in a basket on the steps of the Belle Island library and are determined to discover who the infant belongs to.
Julie Sweet, 11, and her sister Martha, 6, are “summer people” who’ve co
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, arc
What a sweet little historical middle grade read!

During one summer of WWII, eleven-year-old Julie and her six-year-old sister Martha are on their way to the dedication ceremony of a new children's library in Belle Beach when they find a baby on the steps. At the same time, twelve-year-old Bruno Ben-Eli is on his way to catch a train. He's got a secret mission from his brother Ben, who is off fighting in the war. But as soon as he sees Julie "kidnapping" the baby, his plans get derailed.

Amy Hest
This title would make most browsers perk up, it sounds worrisome. That's exactly how it starts out, mistakes are made. Told through three voices; eleven-year-old Julie, six-year-old Martha her little sister, and next door neighbor twelve-year-old Bruno, whose brother has gone overseas in the midst of World War II. Their vacation home on Belle Beach, Long Island has few activities, the sisters are on their way to the town's childrens library and THERE on the library steps is a basket with a littl ...more
Rosi Hollinbeck
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Bruno Ben-Eli, age 12, lives in a small beach town on Long Island. He’s not one of the summer people. This place is his home. His older brother is overseas fighting against the Nazis in the big war, and Bruno really misses him. Julie, a girl Bruno’s age, and her little sister Martha move nearby for the summer. Julie and Ben are friends for a while, but they have a falling out and aren’t speaking when something quite extraordinary happens. Julie and Martha are going to the dedication of the new t ...more
Karen Perry
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: j-fiction
A sweet junior novel told from three perspectives: the six year old little sister Martha, eleven year old Julie, and their neighbor twelve year old Bruno. The author tries to give each voice its own flavor and this works most of the time. Toward the end Martha does not sound quite like she did at the beginning and the reader might think she is older than six.

It is a home front story set in WWII on Long Island where there was a fort with troops. The author weaves in things the families are doing
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-books
During war soldiers leave their families, their loved ones and their pets. This is a story of war from the lens of three younger narrators, as the narrators’ siblings, friends and neighbors head off to war, leaving them behind on the Homefront.

Set from the perspective of three kids, age 12 and younger, the characters find a baby on the steps of the library. The story cascades from there and is full of secrets, childhood troubles, debacles and observations – all of which play out over the course
Thank you Netgalley & Candlewick Press for the advance copy.

I really enjoyed reading this! The author did a fantastic job of keeping the characters equally simplistic and complex. It really felt like stepping into the mind of a child. Each voice was distinct and layered. It was an interesting, very sweet read, and even as an adult I kept turning pages to see what would happen with the baby and if Eleanor Roosevelt would show up.

I loved the inclusion of WWII in the narrative and the way that it
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Amy Hest is a three-time winner of the Christopher Medal and winner of the BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK Award. She lives in New York City.

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