Books by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

THE WAR I FINALLY WON by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Released: Oct. 3, 2017

"Thoughtful, brave, true, and wise beyond her years, Ada is for the ages—as is this book. Wonderful. (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
Ada returns in this sequel to Newbery Honor book The War That Saved My Life (2015). Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 8, 2015

"Set against a backdrop of war and sacrifice, Ada's personal fight for freedom and ultimate triumph are cause for celebration. (Historical fiction. 8-12)"
Ada discovers there are worse things than bombs after she escapes her Mam's cruelty during a children's evacuation of World War II London. Read full book review >
JEFFERSON'S SONS by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Released: Sept. 15, 2011

"A big, serious work of historical investigation and imagination; the tale has never before been told this well. (Historical fiction. 9-14) "
It was a secret everybody knew at Monticello: Thomas Jefferson was the father of Beverly, Harriet, Madison and Eston Hemings, and their mother was Sally Hemings, a slave owned by Jefferson. Read full book review >
LEAP OF FAITH by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Released: July 1, 2007

Expelled from public school and forced to attend parochial school, a skeptical pre-teen finds friendship as well as faith. Sixth-grader Abby had always been a good girl with no track record for trouble until she stabs classmate Brett McAvery in the school lunchroom with a smuggled knife. Abby had warned everyone, including her clueless parents, that the popular Brett was sexually harassing her, but no one believed her. After "the accident," Abby's detached, workaholic parents enroll her in St. Catherine's Catholic School. Angry with her parents for not trusting her, Abby selects drama as her elective to spite them, but is surprised when she discovers she has acting talent. Just to spite them, she tells her agnostic parents she's converting to Catholicism, but finds she doesn't mind the required religion classes and services. As her baptism and confirmation approach, however, Abby must confront her lack of faith and learn how to forgive. Abby's gradual transformation from religious non-believer into one willing to take a "leap of faith" proves credible and compelling in this sensitively drawn drama of individual free will. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2007

A lively historical novel about a young lacemaker at Versailles just before the French Revolution. Eleven-year-old Isabelle makes lace like her mother and grandmother. Bringing lace to the palace at Versailles allows her to be seen by the beautiful Queen, Marie Antoinette, who invites her to become companion to the queen's daughter Thérèse. Isabelle then lives a split existence, frantically making lace with her struggling family in the mornings and then dressed in fine clothes and spending the afternoon with Thérèse and her companion, Ernestine. Isabelle's brother George works in the Marquis de Lafayette's stables; he tries to open Isabelle's eyes to the desperate state of the populace; Isabelle, in turn, tries to explain to Thérèse that not everyone lives like a princess. The excesses (and odors) of the French court are seen through Isabelle's perceptions in this first-person narrative full of description and intriguing insight into the period. Endnotes explain that Ernestine actually did live at Versailles as companion to Thèrése, though many of the other characters in the story are fictitious. Fascinating. (Historical fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
THE PERFECT PONY by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Released: April 1, 2007

Written in the first person with a simple, direct style and repetition, this accessible tale chronicles a young girl's early love for horses and her eventual search for the "perfect pony." After try-outs with several beautiful mounts, the happy and dependable horse Katie eventually—and predictably—chooses is not the "sleek and shiny" one she imagined, but a "round, filthy little" pony who takes a lot of work to make him shine. The realistic, spring-hued watercolor and line pastoral pictures could have done a better job of establishing character and setting—is Katie a farm girl, a rich kid with large stables on the family acreage or somebody else?—but the many repeated renderings of the blond ponygirl and her bevy of apprentice chargers should have lap-sit horse-lovers chomping at the bit. The lack of picture storybooks on this perennially popular topic should keep this trotting off the shelves. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
BALLERINO NATE by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Released: March 1, 2006

After attending a student ballet performance with his kindergarten class, Nate decides he wants to become a ballet dancer. Despite negative pressure from his brother, Nate persists in his dream until his parents arrange for lessons. When Nate is the only boy in the class, and his brother continues his teasing, Nate's mother takes him to a real ballet in a huge theater, where Nate sees that men can be dancers, too. Though the idea of a boy wanting to study ballet is not a new one, the sensitive, humorous treatment and the gentle and understanding parents bring a fresh slant to the story. Alley's appealing illustrations in watercolor with pen and ink use all sorts of dogs as the characters (little tails poke out from under their tutus), and he creates quite a believable and likable persona for little Nate, with expressions that effectively convey all his emotions. Terrific well beyond the ballet lesson. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
FORCES MAKE THINGS MOVE by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Released: Aug. 1, 2005

Simple language and appealing illustrations combine to elucidate the tricky concept of force in this solid Let's-Read-and-Find-Out offering. Bradley's narrative builds in complexity from the simple to the sophisticated to discuss reciprocal forces, friction and gravity—including a nicely comprehensible explanation of the gravitational force that exists between any two objects, not just the earth's. The reader takes the position of experimenter with a direct second-person address, using universally kid-friendly examples to illustrate Newtonian physics: "If you push a toy car, it pushes back against you with the exact same force. . . . If you push the toy car, your force makes the car start moving. So if the toy car is also pushing you, why don't you start moving? Because you are so much heavier than a toy car." Meisel's happily multicultural cartoon cast of kids puts toy cars, real cars and big brothers through a variety of scenarios, in a visually harmonious accompaniment to the text. A concluding spread introduces an activity that will allow kids to test differing amounts of friction—using toy cars, of course. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)Read full book review >
THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Released: Nov. 9, 2004

It's 1901, and ten-year-old Ethel's father has just become president after McKinley's assassination. As seen through Ethel's eyes, this story of the first few months of Theodore Roosevelt's presidency is a genuine page-turner, rich with historical detail. Ethel adores her lively, intelligent mother, her nature-loving war-hero father, and her tumble of brothers and their pets. She's especially close to Alice Roosevelt, her 17-year-old stepsister. But Ethel must attend boarding school Monday through Friday. She misses her wild and woolly family and is confused and upset by the other girls' gossip about her—the newspapers were as frenzied then as now. Bradley expertly weaves in some hilarious—and true—set pieces: Ethel crawling under the table at a state dinner to put a note in her father's lap on a dare; Alice making up descriptions of her own and her stepmother's gowns for the newspapers because they didn't have different ones for every occasion; the president playing "Bear" with his sons. She makes Ethel a vivid and engaging presence and her struggles for acceptance at school ring true. A fascinating look at an intriguing world. (photographs, author's note, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
FAVORITE THINGS by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Released: June 1, 2003

Ask an imaginative little boy about his favorite things, and he won't be limited to extolling the virtues of raindrops on roses. Matthew, the main character in this creative bedtime tale, spins out some whoppers as he recounts his favorite things of the day to his mother, who clearly appreciates her child's powerful imagination. Matthew recounts a day full of singing elephants, a supersonic car race with his dad, a giant tyrannosaurus squirrel, and spaceman adventures with his friends, with some funny circular interactions between the characters. Huliska-Beith does a great job of illustrating these diverse characters (especially the huge squirrel) with a combination of painting and collage. Matthew's outrageously wild tales and individualistic logic contrast well with his mother's calm, attentive demeanor in a way that will be satisfying to both children and adults. Though the ending is a little saccharine after all those creative adventures, the final page promises Matthew a visit from dancing blue hippopotamuses and leaves the door open for a sequel. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: May 13, 2003

Suzanne David's father always said, "Obey the rules and no one gets hurt." But when their French town of Cherbourg is bombed, her neighbor is killed, the Nazis take over, and her family is turned out of their house, whose rules does she obey? When one of the few black families in Cherbourg disappears, Suzanne says to her Papa, "I thought Hitler only hated Jews. I didn't know he hated black people too." "Now you do," he replies. It is this growing awareness, step by step, that leads to Suzanne's involvement in the French Resistance, becoming number 22, and relaying messages essential to the planning of the D-Day invasion. Based on Bradley's interviews with the real Suzanne, this is an exciting account of a girl's coming of age in a scary time. The historical context is neatly woven into the story, so readers will learn about Dunkirk, the fall of Paris, Vichy France, Charles de Gaulle, and D-Day. A terrific companion to Gregory Maguire's The Good Liar, but for an older audience. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
ENERGY MAKES THINGS HAPPEN by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

Explaining sophisticated scientific concepts in terms that are both interesting and understandable is a rare talent. Bradley (Halfway to the Sky, p. 100, etc.) successfully leaps over that bar in this lively exploration of the broad concept of energy, another offering in the venerable Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series. She begins with simple examples of different types of energy, introduces the concepts of storage and transference of energy, and then covers various aspects of energy: wind, types of fuels, food, solar power, and the formation of fossil fuels. Two final pages, set in a smaller type size, offer suggestions for simple experiments using toy cars and a reasoning game thinking of the origins of energy sources. The appealing cover illustration by Meisel (Trick or Treat?, p. 1395, etc.) shows a multi-ethnic group of energetic children hopping along in a sack race, and the lively internal illustrations, done in watercolor and ink, show all sorts of energy in motion: a tug-of-war, kites, hot-air balloons, windmills, and kids playing a variety of sports. Attractive endpapers show a lake scene with children and adults enjoying different kinds of boats, all under the warm glow of the sun. Energetically recommended for most library collections. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-9)Read full book review >
POP! by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

What makes a bubble? Why does it pop? What makes it round? These and a dozen other questions are clearly explained in a brief, readable text in this "Let's-Read-And-Find-Out" Stage 1 science title. Bradley (Weaver's Daughter, 2000, etc.), a chemist and a mother of two enthusiastic bubble blowers, is right on target with questions and answers. Explaining that the air inside the soapy skin of a bubble doesn't push out more in one place or another, she effectively offers a mini-physics lesson. Moving on to demonstrate other liquids, she explains why some bubbles pop easier than others. Clear color photographs help to demonstrate each idea, using a racially mixed group of boys and girls blowing, popping, and examining big and little bubbles in various liquids. The author concludes with a recipe for making bubble solution and additional experiments with bubbles. Young readers (and their parents) will have a good time learning new science thanks to this playful offering. (Nonfiction. 5-8)Read full book review >
HALFWAY TO THE SKY by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Released: April 1, 2001

Hiking the Appalachian Trail forms the groundwork for this emotionally taut story about Dani, 12, who is trying to escape from the misery of the traumatic death of her 13-year-old brother from muscular dystrophy, her parents' divorce, and her father's remarriage and pregnant new wife. The Trail is more than symbolic to the family, as her parents met while hiking it and named both children for sites: Katahdin, a mountain in Maine, is Dani's real name, and Springer, a mountain in Georgia, was her brother's. The journal format effectively conveys the immediacy of the daily challenges as Dani's entries list location, miles walked, and weather. For six months, she trained to thru-walk the entire 2,163 miles from Georgia to Maine, but on day three, her mother catches up with her. Since she hadn't told either parent where she was going, both are furious upon figuring out where she is. Mother and resentful daughter make concessions and set off to hike together for several weeks. The more miles they cover, the more painful memories are confessed as the reader learns about the impact of Springer's death. Though arrangements are conveniently worked out for Dani's mother to leave work to hike, the strength of the story is in the depiction of Springer—how he tied the family together, and how his death split them apart. The realistic ending is one of renewal and moving on. Teenagers will readily relate to the angst and anger and be intrigued by the details about the Trail itself. (Fiction. 10-15)Read full book review >
WEAVER’S DAUGHTER by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

This charming and involving historical novel brings readers to the Southwest Territory (now Tennessee) in 1792. The Bakers live with an inescapable fear: their ten-year old daughter, Lizzy, suffers from extremely serious asthma, which grows increasingly worse every fall. Lizzy barely survives her first autumn in the territory, saved only by an early frost, and she realizes that she might not survive the next year. No one knows the cause of Lizzy's illness; the confident local doctor knows even less than the midwife. Meanwhile, on a trip to town, the family meets richly dressed Mrs. Beaumont, who has left Charleston, South Carolina, to join her husband while he speculates on land. The townspeople at first shun the Beaumonts, but Mrs. Beaumont becomes friendly with Lizzy's family, coming to help when things look the worst. Finally she offers to take Lizzy back to Charleston, where she hopes the sea air will cure her. Lizzy must decide whether she will leave her home, knowing that she may never see her family again. As she tells her story, readers will come to know the period and the lifestyle as well as a little something about pioneer medicine. A sub-theme explores the idea why the Beaumonts hold slaves, a practice Lizzy disapproves of. An author's note explains the possibilities of Lizzy's survival and fills in other information about the period. A unique look at early American history. (Fiction. 10-12)Read full book review >
RUTHIE'S GIFT by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Released: March 1, 1998

Ruthie, eight years old, is a strong and unforgettable character in the enthralling, old-fashioned novel that is Bradley's debut. The only girl in a family of five raucous, teasing boys, Ruthie prays that the new baby will be a girl. When she's disappointed, instead of celebrating the arrival of her new brother, she takes off—typical for her strong-willed personality. Though bright, she has trouble in school with the ``hittable, hateable'' girls who torment her, and she struggles to be the lady her mother wishes her to be. Life on a farm in that time and place—the Midwest just before the first world war- -is shown in such subtle details as the wooden latch on the privy, but the story has immediacy and relevance for contemporary readers. There is love and wisdom in the way the adults handle their children: Crises and small incidents alike are informed by a thought-provoking perspective on what it means to grow up and to be a good person. Bradley imbues her chapters with suspense and drama, leading readers from one to the next, where they'll yearn for Ruthie to have the things she so desperately dreams of, suffer through her disappointments, and hurry her through her grave bout with pneumonia. A book and heroine to cherish. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >