ALWAYS REMEMBER ME

HOW ONE FAMILY SURVIVED WORLD WAR II

Russo has found a way to tell young children about the Holocaust by recasting her own family’s story—the one her own grandmother told her—in a lightly fictionalized version, with Oma telling a small girl named Rachel about her two photo albums. One is full of pictures Rachel knows, of herself, her mother, grandmother and her aunts. The other is of Oma’s life, first in Poland and then in Germany, where her family moved because “Jewish people were treated better there.” Oma’s own grandmother gave her a gold heart necklace before she left, and that token is a leitmotif as WWI breaks out, and Oma’s husband takes it to the front and back home again. When the Nazis come to power in Germany, Oma and her daughters are separated, but miraculously survive concentration camps and the death of spouses. One daughter, who had escaped to America, kept the gold heart, which Oma now presents to Rachel. Matte gouache illustrations with the hieratic form of family photographs provide just the right counterpoint to Russo’s exquisitely understated text. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-689-86920-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Anne Schwartz/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE LEMONADE WAR

From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 1

Told from the point of view of two warring siblings, this could have been an engaging first chapter book. Unfortunately, the length makes it less likely to appeal to the intended audience. Jessie and Evan are usually good friends as well as sister and brother. But the news that bright Jessie will be skipping a grade to join Evan’s fourth-grade class creates tension. Evan believes himself to be less than clever; Jessie’s emotional maturity doesn’t quite measure up to her intelligence. Rivalry and misunderstandings grow as the two compete to earn the most money in the waning days of summer. The plot rolls along smoothly and readers will be able to both follow the action and feel superior to both main characters as their motivations and misconceptions are clearly displayed. Indeed, a bit more subtlety in characterization might have strengthened the book’s appeal. The final resolution is not entirely believable, but the emphasis on cooperation and understanding is clear. Earnest and potentially successful, but just misses the mark. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 23, 2007

ISBN: 0-618-75043-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

TEA WITH MILK

In describing how his parents met, Say continues to explore the ways that differing cultures can harmonize; raised near San Francisco and known as May everywhere except at home, where she is Masako, the child who will grow up to be Say’s mother becomes a misfit when her family moves back to Japan. Rebelling against attempts to force her into the mold of a traditional Japanese woman, she leaves for Osaka, finds work as a department store translator, and meets Joseph, a Chinese businessman who not only speaks English, but prefers tea with milk and sugar, and persuades her that “home isn’t a place or a building that’s ready-made or waiting for you, in America or anywhere else.” Painted with characteristic control and restraint, Say’s illustrations, largely portraits, begin with a sepia view of a sullen child in a kimono, gradually take on distinct, subdued color, and end with a formal shot of the smiling young couple in Western dress. A stately cousin to Ina R. Friedman’s How My Parents Learned To Eat (1984), also illustrated by Say. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90495-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more