The premise: It's August 1969. Woodstock, hippies, Vietnam, and war protests rule the day. But what if you're twelve and just about to enter seventh grade like Brody Winslow? His days are ruled by sun, swimming, girls, the Mets, and football practice. But his brother is about to turn eighteen and become eligible for the draft. And that weighs on Brody's entire family.
What keeps readers reading: The blend of the super serious with the humorous. I bring this up about certain books--this special blend of seriousness and funny stuff--because it's the real life way of things. Authors that can meld the two, and do it well like Rich Wallace has in War & Watermelon, provide a unique picture into reading and what it has to do with living.
What I loved: Brody's character. He's funny, warm, loves his family, is trying to figure out growing up, and he does it all with honesty and humor.
War & Watermelon is one one those books that teeters on the edge of upper middle grade and could very well be classified as YA, so it has some swearing, boys noticing things about girls (and vice versa), frank questions, confrontations with parents, and general rule-breaking. This was a tumultuous time, 1969, so these issues are completely fitting for the story and allow for terrific discussion.
For more middle grade recommendations, visit my Middle Grade Monday tab
Happy middle grade reading and take time to remember on this Memorial Day.