WW2 backdrop for defining family

July 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm 1 comment

Gingersnap by Patricia Reilly Giff; Random House Children’s Books, New York, 2013; 147 pages.

9780375838910_p0_v1_s260x420

Jayna’s only living relative, that she knows of, is her brother Rob.  When Rob ships out for Okinawa during World War II, she is left in the care of their landlady.  Before he left, Rob mentioned a box with a mystery diary, what seems to be a collection of recipes written in French.  Distraught by the news that Rob is missing in action, Jayna searches for the book.  Clues begin to add up: a bakery named “Gingersnap” (Jayna’s nickname) in Brooklyn (where Rob always said they belonged).  With bags packed, Jayna searches for any family connection and discovers that family means so much more than blood-ties.

This heart-touching story of a girl in search of family transcends the setting of the book.  World War II lessons of hardship, like rationing, are heavily featured, and present teachable moments about that period in our history.  But the real story is of hope, patience, and what ties bind us together through all of life’s hardship and happiness.

I loved Giff’s addition of Jayna’s recipes for soup in the book.  Her skill in making soup from next to nothing was a key to Jayna’s character.  By adding the simple recipes, children can be encouraged to experiment with ingredients themselves–whether those ingredients are art materials, pencil and paper, or veggies from the refrigerator.

So many connections can be made by librarians and teachers.  A basic soup cookbook for kids could be paired with it for a “better together” book display.  I think this book compared & contrasted with other tales of American children during World War II would be an interesting display or recommended to read together.  Imagine Navigating Early (Clare Vanderpool), The Green Glass Sea (Ellen Klages), and maybe My Chocolate Year: A Novel with 12 Recipes (Charlotte Herman) bundled together?

I am not surprised that Gingersnap got a starred review in Kirkus.  It’s a wonderful story for readers aged 8-12.

Entry filed under: Starred Review Book (Horn Book, Booklist. School Library Journal, Kirkus or PW). Tags: , , , , .

Fascinating spy story for younger readers School Aged Storytime Remix

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Landon  |  February 10, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    I love anything from WW2 so I am considering reading this book!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


a librarian's library of plans & resources for storytimes, programs & readers' advisory
Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that sometimes books are received for review for free by publishers or authors. All books (ARCs, galleys, library or purchased) will be reviewed fairly; no special consideration is given to anything reviewed on this blog. In addition, I make every attempt to avoid spoilers. Sometimes they happen inadvertently or because they are important to defend a review; not all spoilers have been removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement included as a warning to readers.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives

RSS Sesame Street Podcasts

  • Elmo's World: Play Ball
  • Abby and the Beanstalk
  • Ordinary Magic
  • Amazing Animals
  • Count Along to Four

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers

%d bloggers like this: