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When Christmas Comes Again: The World War I Diary of Simone Spencer (Dear America)
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When Christmas Comes Again: The World War I Diary of Simone Spencer (Dear America)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,389 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
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 t ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by Scholastic Inc. (first published 2002)
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Sep 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like diaries and journals
this book is about the life of Simone Spencer during World War 1. in the story Simone leads an average life as a student, who sometimes helps the YMCA. just a few days after her graduation, her brother is leaving to go to war. during the year that her brother, Will, is gone life seems awfully boring for Simone, until she comes up with a brilliant idea. when she is 17, Simone asks her parents if she can help in the war by working on the phone lines near the battlefront.
her parents give her per
Oct 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
Simone Spencer, aged 17, volunteers with the Signal Corps to go to France and serve as a switchboard operator at the front lines. While overseas, she makes a friend, discovers the depths of grief, and falls in love.

If that seems overly simplistic for a WWI story, YOU'D BE RIGHT.

I think the hard truth is that I have simply outgrown these books. I have enough base knowledge that these books no longer spark that interest; they don't whet my appetite; they feel like they're under-delivering on ver
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The life of Simone is just like a book I read befor.Her life was a real book.i just love makes me sad but makes me smile too of the happines.the end made me happy and in the middle was sad how her best friend died.I just love her story of her life.
Megan Anderson
Okay, so the ending was a little sappy and contrived, but that's fine. The rest of the book...well, it's interesting, but mostly because I didn't realize women went over to Europe during WWI in any other capacity than "nurse." So that part was cool. However, the book itself was just kinda...meh. It didn't seem terribly well-written or anything. In other words, topic = interesting, book = not so much.

3/5 on here, 6/10 for myself.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
When I read this as a kid, I thought this book was one of the most boring Dear America books I'd ever read.

Now as an adult re-reading the same book, I can appreciate how right I was. This book is just boring. The character doesn't have too much to her, really. She just kind of exists, no personality, etc.
Kelsey Hanson
I'm choosing to read this during Christmas because of the title, but really it's not completely centered on the holiday and covers a year of a young American woman stationed in Europe. This shows how much responsibility was given to young people during an extremely challenging period of history. It gave an interesting look at how women were able to be involved in the military during WWI.
Gazelle S
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Great War just began. Simone Spencer wants to help. Her brother goes first ,then she follows him and becomes a "Hello Girl". She basicly works the telegrams. The book was a really good overall, i would recomend it.
Ana Mardoll
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
When Christmas Comes Again (World War I) / 0-439-58482-5

The Dear America series are renowned for their compellingly written, fictional diaries that provide a valuable window into important and exciting periods of American history. Each novel is written by its own author, however, and some of the authors are better than others. "When Christmas Comes Again", although not a bad novel by any stretch, manages to fall a little short of the Dear America standard.

Simone Spencer is a bilingual young wo
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sentimental but powerful observations of a young girl, fresh out of high school and working in the trenches .. .literally during WWI. That alone is powerful!

Becky Keir Grace
Simone Spencer is just 17 years old while the war takes place across the ocean. She knows she has dreams of her own that do not fit with her grandparents desires for her. The daughter of a wealthy American and poor French girl have already caused friction.

Simone's older brother, William, joins the fight, and Simone begins to feel helpless at home. She volunteers at a local hospital for wounded soldiers. But she realizes nursing is not for her and looks for other ways to contribute. Simone hears
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwi-home-front
Diary format somewhat limited for plot development, but you get a good feel for what the main character was experiencing. Gaps in date sequence makes time go faster than I realized when I was in the grip of the story. Overall I'd recommend!
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Crawford
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Simone is the daughter of well-off parents, a society girl who doesn't really like the expectations that society girls have placed on them. That's pretty much her entire life, though, until the United States enters World War I and Simone's brother volunteers to fight oversees.

Simone tries out a variety of things, trying to be of some help to the war effort, and finally decides to go into the Army as a bilingual phone operator, a person who will man military phones and translates messages and or
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Seventeen-year-old Simone Spencer finds her life as a member of New York City society in 1917 empty, especially with the United States entering World War I and her older brother enlisting in the army. Simone is searching for meaning in her life, something she can do to contribute to the war effort -- and she thinks she has found it when she learns of a need for French-speaking American women to work as switchboard operators on the front. Simone travels to France, but is little prepared for the d ...more
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
My daughter checked this out from the library to read herself, and when I saw it was about WWI, I asked if I could borrow it. I really knew no more of it than that. I learned a great deal while reading this book. I had no idea that the US Army had recruited and used the skills of women in WWI. I had thought that military service for women hadn't started until WWII. Unfortunately, the women of the Signal Corps were not recognized or compensated for their role in WWI until the late 1970s.

This book
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
1917 I learn something from most Dear America books I read and this one surprised me with "Hello Girls." They were French speaking girls who were trained to be switchboard operators in the front lines of the war. General Pershing and AT&T came up with this idea. American girls who spoke fluent French, to relay and interpret messages from the front lines of battle.

Simone Spencer is the high school graduate who is looking to do something useful in the war. Her brother, William is already in F
Glen Stott
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Diary of Simone Spenser, a rich girl from New York who volunteers to join the Army Signal Corps as a telephone operator near the battle grounds in France during WWI. The Signal Corps girls. “Hello Girls,” are provided housing and other needs by the YWCA because they were not actually members of the Armed Forces back then. Most of the story happens in France, but it gives a very good description of the war from the point of view of the women who managed vital communications from the front during ...more
May 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-lit, childrens-lit
When I realized there was a Dear America book with a main character named Simone I just had to read it! The story was cute, and I learned a bit about WW I that I hadn't known, but it never felt very realistic (everything was too perfect) and there was no sense of urgency, even when she was only miles from the front lines. To be fair, I haven't re-read any of my favorite Dear Americas lately, but I remember the other books being more realistic and engaging.

I'd still recommend it to fans of histo
Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
A short but very interesting Dear America book. It introduced me to women's roles as switchboard operators ("Hello Girls") during the first world war. It also talked about the field of physical therapy, emerging due to all the serious injuries received from new weapons of war. (Imagine, an early care centre for these people was the "Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled" - not very comforting!) As usual with these books, my one complaint is their American-centredness. The U.S. didn't win the wa ...more
Aug 06, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm cleaning out my book collection because I have to downgrade to be able to move. This was a book I got many years ago.

I used to read a lot from the Dear America series when I was younger. This one is about the women who worked the lines overseas. Relaying information from the soldiers on the lines to their commanding officers, and vice versa. Simone decides that high society life will never be enough for her, so she volunteers to be a switchboard operator in Europe. She is gone for a year, ma
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It is a mix of historical fiction and a love story. The story is about Simone Spencer who has a brother that has to leave the U.S. to go fight with the Allies in Europe. Simone feels like she needs to contribute to her country, so when General Pershing says that french speaking girls can go to Europe and work as Switchboard Operators Simone is all for it. Along the way she meets a man named Sam and they fall in love. She also meets a girls named Alice, and the become very good ...more
Jan 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
The format is predictable of course, and so are aspects of the story - but that is part of the appeal of this series. I did like that the book highlighted WWI which is not often written about from an American perspective. And I had never heard of the "Hello Girls," who were not given formal military status and recognition by the U.S. government until 1978 when only a handful of them were still alive!
Jul 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
-patriotism, WWI, role of women, courage
-research the role of women in WWI, "hello girls," create a poster/presentation to showcase findings
-research medical treatment for soldiers during WWI, write journal entries or letters home as a wounded soldier explaining treatments
-compare/contrast US social classes during WWI era using a Venn diagram or chart
-introduce a service related project/brainstorm serviceor patriotic activities
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I don't feel like this was the best book in the series, but overall it was interesting and kept my attention enough that I wanted to keep reading. I don't know a lot about WWI and I certainly didn't know about Hello Girls, so it was fun to learn about them and what Simone went through. And the Spanish Influenza was touched on! over all, 4 out of 5 stars. It was a good book. And my last in the Dear America series to read :(.
Dec 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
This entire series is a wonderful way to learn history or teach it to adolescents. I find today's generations seem to recall more when they learn through other people (pop songs, celebrity gossip, etc.), so what better way to teach history than through someone else's perspective? Yes, "authentic" diaries would be "better", but would the language really hold the modern student's attention? Did the diary writer know what WOULD be important in the context of history? Probably not.
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diana Petty-stone
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A WWI story in the form of the diary of an affluent young lady in New York City. She became one the "hello girls" trained by AT&T to operate switchboards on the front lines. Another interesting fact in this book in the introduction of physical therapist in American as a result of the large number of amputee soldiers.
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was so interesting to read a different point of view in terms of the war. I for one never even knew women worked the switch boards and relayed such important messages in terms of key aspects. It's great to see how women were able to impact such a huge part of history, even back during a time period where they had far less rights then their male counterparts. So glad I picked this up.
Kelsey Harding
The book When Christmas Comes Again was a very inspirational book and was great to read. I normally don't read books in my free time but I would have read this one over a break. It was a great book and introduced me to so many new thing's about the war that I didn't know about. I will defiantly be reading another Dear America in the future.
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