The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
(HMH Books for Young Readers ~ October 3, 2017)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Vanderbeekers are guaranteed to steal the heart of every single reader who picks up this book, children and adults alike. This is one of my top feel-good and huggable middle grade novels of 2017!
Thank you to the author for providing Kid Lit Exchange with a review copy of this title.
Book Description (from Goodreads)
The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It’s practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home.
Okay, so this is one of those emotional reviews for me – one where I really don’t tell you much about the book but just rave and rave and tell you how much I loved it. The Vanderbeekers instantly brought me back to reading the Melendy Quartet series as a child, books about a quirky and loving family that I read over and over and over and over, and have just recently returned to as an adult. The Vanderbeekers are just as timeless, and just as loveable. I was absolutely, 100% utterly enchanted by this book.
This story is set in Harlem with an incredibly diverse cast of characters about a family who lives in an amazing home in an amazing neighborhood with a fabulous sense of community. She describes the children and their features in beautiful ways that make it clear that they all look very different from one another, and connects them to their parents’ features through those descriptions. The relationships between the children and their family are realistic but also written in such a playful way – the language in this book is perfection. I love the storyline, I love the characters, I love the problems they have to solve – I just love it all.
Verdict: Required purchase for all middle grade classrooms and libraries. I just pre-ordered copies for both of my libraries as well as for my own family. Stay tuned for the next story about the Vanderbeekers coming in 2018 – I can not WAIT for this!