The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser, HMH Books for Young Readers (October 3, 2017), Advanced Reader’s Copy courtesy of NetGalley
I read a lot of middle grade fiction. It’s probably my favorite genre. And it isn’t often that I can tell that a book is going to be special before the first chapter is even over, but this is one of those books.
This is the story of the Vanderbeeker family, who have lived in a brownstone in Harlem for several years, and have built a wonderful community of friends and neighbours. A few days before Christmas, they discover that their landlord, Mr. Beiderman, has decided not to renew their lease and expects them to vacate their apartment before the end of the month.
The Vanderbeeker children – Isa, Jessie, Hyacinth, Oliver and Laney – are determined to do whatever it takes to change Mr. Beiderman’s mind and stay in their beloved apartment. Their plans, schemes and ideas are delightful, but don’t pan out the way they hope, and time is running out. Will they get the Christmas miracle they need to stay in their home?
This is a heart-warming book, with a similar feel to The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. I can hardly wait until its release in October so I can share it with young patrons to enjoy before the holiday season. And even better…there’s a sequel on its way in 2018.