Strawberry Hill by Mary Ann Hoberman
Allie and her family are going to be moving to a home all their own. Her father would be able to be with them every day, not just on weekends because his job was far away due to the Depression. And the neighborhood had a wonderful name, Strawberry Hill. But when Allie gets to the new house, there are no strawberries in sight and she had to leave her best friend behind. Allie discovers that there are two girls just her age right nearby, but deciding who is going to be her new best friend is complicated. It doesn’t help that the two girls are so very different and Allie feels drawn to each of them for different reasons. When Allie is called a “dirty Jew” by another girl, the novel takes on another dimension, dealing with racial issues.
This novel for young readers has just the right amount of tension around friendships and race. The girls are all complex and interesting characters as are the adults, which takes some finesse in a book for this age. Allie is a charming character who worries about things like colors, tuna fish sandwiches, and making a good impression. Her coming-of-age story is gentle and will find an audience with children who enjoy quiet moments, small details, and historical elements.
Allie’s eagerness to find a new best friend translates into a character that any reader would love to befriend. Recommended for ages 8-11.
Reviewed from library copy.