Lily’s Crossing

Lily Mollahan's bedroom was at the top of the stairs, the only one on the second floor. "The top of the house," Gram always told her, "the top of the world".
But Lily didn't feel like she was at the top of the world much during the summer of 1944.

Lily's Crossing, written by Patricia Reilly Giff , won a Newberry Honor in 1998 (The Newberry Medal Book of that year was Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse).
This historical fiction children's book takes place in Rockaway, New Jersey in 1944.  By summertime, it seemed life as she knew it was changing for Lily.  Even though she was headed for Rockaway, her usually summer spot by the beach, her best friend was going away for the summer to a wartime factory town, her father was leaving to go to war and the new boy, Albert, was a refugee from Hungary. Both Lily and Albert have secrets and a need to tell lies...

While my major goal is to read all of the Newberry Medal Books, I also have a desire to read the Newberry Honor books.  Lily's crossing was not a disappointment.  It is, I feel, one of the finer historical fiction books I've read geared for 8-12 years of age but a nice read for any age.

A theme of friendship intertwined among the historical hardships of the time.  Lily feels overwhelmed by the move of her best friend at the beginning of the story; her first encounter with Albert doesn't help!  But as the story progresses, their friendship develops and deepens and is a testimony to how vital a friendship can be during life's struggles.

Patricia Reilly Giff was born in Brooklyn, New York and spent her childhood with her nose in books.  Some of her favorite childhood books, like me, included Little Women and the Nancy Drew series! She also loved to write from early on.  Before becoming the popular children's author that she is, Giff spent twenty years as a reading teacher.  Her focus in the beginning, as an author, was to offer fun and exciting chapter books to grasp the attention of the reluctant reader and keep them turning pages.  She has received the Newberry Honor not only for Lily's Crossing but also Pictures of Hollis Woods.  Nory Ryan's Son was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adult and an ALA Notable Book.  She is also known well for her Polk Street School series. Ms. Giff  lives in Connecticut with her husband and cats.

What books have you read by Patricia Reilly Giff?

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