Review: The Summer We Found the Baby by Amy Hest

The Summer We Found the Baby by Amy Hest

The Summer We Found the Baby
Amy Hest
Candlewick Press
Published August 4, 2020

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About The Summer We Found the Baby

On the morning of the dedication of the new children’s library in Belle Beach, Long Island, eleven-year-old Julie Sweet and her six-year-old sister, Martha, find a baby in a basket on the library steps. At the same time, twelve-year-old Bruno Ben-Eli is on his way to the train station to catch the 9:15 train into New York City. He is on an important errand for his brother, who is a soldier overseas in World War II. But when Bruno spies Julie, the same Julie who hasn’t spoken to him for sixteen days, heading away from the library with a baby in her arms, he has to follow her. Holy everything, he thinks. Julie Sweet is a kidnapper.

Of course, the truth is much more complicated than the children know in this heartwarming and beautifully textured family story by award-winning author Amy Hest. Told in three distinct voices, each with a different take on events, the novel captures the moments and emotions of a life-changing summer — a summer in which a baby gives a family hope and brings a community together.

Set during World War II, this poignant, briskly paced historical novel relays the events of one extraordinary summer from three engaging points of view.

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My Review

THE SUMMER WE FOUND THE BABY is one of those books where what’s not said on the page is as important as what is. A girl and her sister find a baby. A boy follows them. How they’re connected and why the girls feel drawn to the baby changes tells a moving story that I know I won’t soon forget.

One point-of-view is from Martha Sweet, the younger sister of Julie, who first finds the baby. Martha is sweet, enthusiastic, and energetic. She doesn’t always understand what’s going on around her, but she loves the people in her little community.

Julie also tells part of the story, and in her sections, we see a girl trying to be so much more than she is, and determined to do it perfectly. She cares for her little sister while their dad works, possibly interviewing soldiers at a local military base. And then there’s Bruno, a boy whose older brother has gone to war, leaving him behind.

The story begins with the three finding the baby and loops backward, to tell us how they came to be on the steps of the library that morning and why the baby was there.

It’s such a sweet, heartfelt story. I love that what’s on the page hints at so many things that aren’t there, things that the narrators probably wouldn’t have pieced together. It’s a really quick read, too– I think I read it in a little over an hour.

I think fans of STAY WHERE YOU ARE AND THEN LEAVE by John Boynton or PAX by Sarah Pennypacker will enjoy this book– though it’s a bit less dark than those stories.

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Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Bruno’s family is Jewish.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Hints at a romance between Bruno’s older brother and a girl.

Spiritual Content
At one point, Bruno’s parents touch the place where they believe his brother’s battalion to be on a map and say, “God bless.”

Violent Content

Drug Content

Note: I received a free copy of THE SUMMER WE FOUND THE BABY in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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