Welcome to the Handle the Heat Giveaway Hop! I’m sharing the children’s book The Summer We Found the Baby by Amy Hest.
Set during World War II, this poignant, briskly paced historical novel relays the events of one extraordinary summer from three engaging points of view.
Thanks to our host, MamatheFox.
The Summer We Found the Baby
by Amy Hest
I received this book free to review; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive compensation at no cost to you.
Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Grade Level: 5 – 6
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Candlewick; Illustrated edition (August 4, 2020)
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 important errand for his brother, who is a soldier overseas in World War II. But when Bruno spies Julie, the same Julie who hasn’t spoken to him for sixteen days, heading away from the library with a baby in her arms, he has to follow her. Holy everything, he thinks. Julie Sweet is a kidnapper.
Of course, the truth is much more complicated than the children know in this heartwarming and beautifully textured family story by award-winning author Amy Hest. Told in three distinct voices, each with a different take on events, the novel captures the moments and emotions of a life-changing summer — a summer in which a baby gives a family hope and brings a community together.
Hest’s unique narrative approach divides the book into sections that describe the incidents of August 31 and then go back to June 21, sequentially unfolding the summer’s events…This historical tale engagingly presents ordinary life, while acknowledging the toll war can take on a community.
In short chapters that emphasize the youth of those involved—Ms. Hest uses capital letters rather than quotation marks to set off speech, making it seem as though the children are shouting—the testimonies of Bruno, Julie and Martha braid together to form a satisfying, bittersweet story of life on the home front.
– The Wall Street Journal
A poignant composite portrait of three children’s—and two loving families’—hope and resilience in the face of loss and uncertainty.
—Publishers Weekly, *Starred Review
My review of The Summer We Found the Baby
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 works so well. Julie (11) and Bruno (12) are about the same age; however, how a girl sees something differs from how a boy sees it. And Martha is 6, so, of course, her narratives are more about how things happening affect her.
Bruno’s brother Ben is overseas serving in WWII, and when Bruno talks about Ben in relation to his mom (getting letters, not getting letters, worrying), I can’t stop the tears. The uncertainty of your child’s safety…I know all moms feel it, but moms with kids in the armed services during a war…I can’t imagine. The author does such a brilliant job of portraying that feeling through the narrative of a 12 year old boy!
The patriotism that was profoundly evident during WWII is remarkably depicted in this book. I hope it doesn’t take another war or tragic event for this country to remember how lucky we are to live here. Just reading the little bits and pieces about how everyone did their part to show “the boys overseas” how proud we were of them made my heart swell with pride.
The Summer We Found the Baby is a must read for those 8+. If your child hates reading, read this to them. I think it would make a great resource for teachers as well. I highly recommend it!
Author Amy Hest
Amy Hest is the author of many beloved books for young readers, including Remembering Mrs. Rossi, Letters to Leo, and the Katie Roberts novels. She is also the author of many picture books, including Kiss Good Night, When Jessie Came Across the Sea, and On the Night of the Shooting Star. Amy lives in New York City.
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Prize: One copy of The Summer We Found the Baby by Amy Hest courtesy of the sponsor.
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