Sunday, August 2, 2009

Strawberry Hill by Mary Ann Hoberman

Strawberry Hill is a sweet story of friendship and family that takes place during the Depression. Allie is a ten-year-old Jewish girl who moves with her family to a house at the very beginning of the book. She is unsure that the move is a good idea, but when her father tells her they will be living on Strawberry Hill, and that she will have her very own room, she gets excited. Things are not what she expected when they arrive, however. She discovers that just because the street is named Strawberry Hill, that doesn't necessarily mean there are any strawberries anywhere. And she is confused by her feelings towards her new friends, the two neighbor girls who do not speak to each other, although each wants to be her friend. Allie must learn that appearances are not the most important part of a person, and that it is what is inside that makes you a good friend.
I enjoyed this story, although sometimes Allie's actions towards her friends, especially Mimi, were frustrating at times. I am sure that a tween would identify more with her choices, and understand her better than I do. Although the story takes place during the Depression, there is not much information about it, mostly because it is not something that affects Allie's life directly, most of the time. She struggles with acceptance and Antisemitism more than with her family's economic situation. This book would be enjoyed by tween girls, especially those who like historical fiction, or it would be a good introduction to the genre.

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