Brooklyn Bridge

Karen Hesse’s latest book, Brooklyn Bridge, is delightful. And the audiobook version, narrated by Fred Berman (with a wonderful Brooklyn accent), is the perfect way to experience this book. I loved listening to it this week as I finished my Christmas errands and preparations.

About the story from Children’s Literature Network:

It’s the summer of 1903 in Brooklyn and all fourteen-year-old Joseph Michtom wants is to experience the thrill, the grandeur, and the electricity of the new amusement park at Coney Island. But that doesn’t seem likely. Ever since his parents — Russian immigrants — invented the stuffed Teddy Bear five months ago, Joseph’s life has turned upside down. No longer do the Michtom’s gather family and friends around the kitchen table to talk. No longer is Joseph at leisure to play stickball with the guys. Now, Joseph works. And complains. And falls in love. And argues with Mama and Papa. And falls out of love. And hopes. Joseph hopes he’ll see Coney Island soon. He hopes that everything will turn right-side up again. He hopes his luck hasn’t run out — because you never know.

This heartwarming family story won the 2009 Sydney Taylor Book Award for Older Readers. Karen Hesse did an excellent job with her research into the time period, the immigrant experience, and the Michtom family (they really did invent the Teddy Bear and started the company that became the Ideal Toy Company).  After finishing the book, I listened to a podcast of the author talking about how she came to write the book and the research she did for it. She’s a wonderful storyteller, and I enjoyed learning more about her writing process. If you have time, it’s worth a listen.

I’m declaring this book to be one of my two top favorite audiobooks of the year, and a very enjoyable read for the entire family.

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