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I highly recommend this series of books - begin with the first one, "26 Fairmount Avenue," and continue through Tomie's stories of his life just before and during WWII. If you are a grandparent (and were young during WWII), read these with your children and it will give you an opportunity to tell them about your life during the war.
We read the whole series and really enjoyed it. It does get more serious as it goes on and WWII starts. The last book in the series deals (in an unresolved manner) with bullying. Overall it is such a great snapshot of a unique boy growing up in the 40s.
Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2007
This is biographical look at Tomie dePaola's growing up years in Meriden, Connecticut. This book opens right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Tomie, a 2nd grader, is scared. He hears the grownups talking, he hears the President's address on the radio, and he practices air raid drills at school. Everyone tells him that everything is alright, but he's still scared.
This book reads like fiction, but is based on Tomie's real-life experiences, and includes such real details of the war that children wouldn't otherwise know, like nylon hosery being unavailable because nylon was used for parachutes and blackout curtains being used to protect the house. It eerily parallels what today's children have had to deal with, both with the bombing of the World Trade Center five years ago, as well as children dealing today with fathers, brothers and uncles going off to serve in the war in Iraq.
I recommend this book as a read-aloud for Kindergarten up and it's a great read-alone book for kids a little older, all the way up to age 10 or so (and not so bad for the parents either).
This is a wonderfully written book suitable for many ages. My 6,8 and 10 year olds love the 26 Fairmont series. Tomie dePaola manages to share his memories and historical facts about a very frightening time without adding anything scary. As a mother, and lover of history, I also enjoy the authors perspective and even hearing historical things such as the war film being shown between double feature children's films at the theater! I only wish there were more of these books to come!
This is a great book for young children to read! It covers the news of Pearl Harbor thru New Year's Eve of that year. I believe that Tomie was in the second grade at the time. Mr. dePaola does an excellent job of describing the fears and feelings that a child had at that time. He did a great job of explaining the experience (like bomb shelter preparation) without creating fear in the young reader. My 6 and 4 year old children loved it. We can't wait for the next edition. [...]