The Summer We Found the Baby by Amy Hest

Published by Candlewick

The Summer We Found the Baby: Hest, Amy: 9780763660079: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  The story begins on August 31 in a Long Island beach town during World War II. Julie Sweet and her younger sister Martha find a baby on the doorstep of the new library.  Bruno is on a secret mission to New York City when he sees Julie, a former friend who has stopped speaking to him, and decides to follow her.  The action then goes back to the beginning of the summer, and the three main characters tell the story in alternating voices. Bruno has a secret he’s guarding about his older brother Ben who’s away in the army.  Julie is worried that her widowed father is about to get married again.  Events unfold to bring all the characters back to August 31, when the reader finally learns where the baby came from.  A famous woman makes a surprise appearance and helps Julie figure out what to do with the baby.  The war isn’t over yet, and Ben’s fate is still uncertain, yet the three kids manage to find their way to a happy ending for the time being.  192 pages; grades 3-6.

Pros:  This brief story unfolds in short vignettes which prove surprisingly engaging and will draw the reader in quickly.  This would make a good first historical fiction book for elementary students, as well as an excellent study of different points of view.  The ending is heartwarming yet realistic for the middle of wartime.

Cons:  Because this is such a short book, I would consider it a good choice for third or fourth grade.  But the multiple perspectives and flashbacks could confuse some young readers who may need some help to understand what’s going on.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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