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March 2019: Debut > The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street- Karina Yan Glaser - 4 Stars

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message 1: by Jemima (last edited Mar 30, 2019 09:50PM) (new)

Jemima Ravenclaw (jemimaravenclaw) | 405 comments The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (The Vanderbeekers #1) The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this wholesome and sweet story of a modern day, mixed racial family living in a close knit community in a brownstone apartment in contemporary Harlem. I found it a little confusing to sort the children and animals out one from another in the beginning, but the children were all unique to themselves and delightful and quirky in their own little ways. Being an accomplished violinist, myself from a very young age, I especially related to the character of Isa and her use of her music to express herself. The accuracy of the violin pieces listed impressed me, as many people do not understand the types of music typically learned by talented young musicians at around the age of 12. It made me wonder whether the author herself had played violin as a child.

The style of the story reminded me of the Penderwick stories by Jeanne Birdsall which I love and admire because of their suitability for the much neglected pre teen audience of book readers. The Vanderbeekers is a story about the importance of love, caring, friendship, family and especially community in the growth and happiness of its children, but also its adults. It is about reaching out and the triumph of childish love, courage and sincere care to overcome some of life's most difficult times. There was a hint of Dickens' Christmas Carol to the plot as well, which would make this a cozy and meaningful read over the Christmas holidays.

I can only conclude that I wished that every child in the world could have loving and understanding parents and the safety net of such a cohesive caring community as was depicted in this book. They say that it takes a village to raise a child, but many children live in highly segmented communities, where knowing your neighbours is rare and unusual. Maybe this book will inspire its young readers to take inspiration from the Vanderbeeker children and to reach out to guardian-trusted neighbours and community members to create relationships that are mutually caring and inspiring between the young and old. A well written debut book for this author. I will certainly be following this new series.

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message 2: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 3018 comments I think I know a little girl who needs this book. Thanks for this review!

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