Wednesday, January 7, 2015


The Kidliterati Ten is an interview series with young readers. We ask them about a favorite book and hope that you enjoy their answers.

Tell us a little about yourself: what is your first name, how old are you, and what is your favorite ice cream flavor?
My name is Lauren, I'm fifteen years old and I like mint chocolate chip ice cream.

What book did you read and why did you choose it?
I chose A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith because I needed something to read and it was one of the only books in the house I hadn't read.

Can you describe this book in one word?
Relatable. The main character, Francie, is a bibliophile, like myself. She also has a hard time fitting in and she seeks comfort in reading and writing.

What was your favorite part of this story?
I love the ending because it ended just the way it began. In the beginning, Francie watches a young woman getting ready for a date. At the end, Francie is a young woman getting ready and sees a little girl watching her. It shows how much she has grown up.

If you had a problem similar to the main character's problem, what would you do?
One of the problems Francie faced was getting a good education. There weren't good schools nearby. I think I would do what Francie did. She found a different school and pretended she lived in that neighborhood so she could go to school there.

What would you say to your best friend to convince them to read this book?
It's a very good American story. It shows the ups and downs of growing up and it's a great coming of age book.

What do you think about the book's cover?
The cover has a soft look to it and I like that.

Would you want to read another book about these characters? Why or why not?
Yes! You really get to know the characters like Aunt Sissy. I love her and want to know how she raised her baby. I also want to know more about Francie's mother, Katie. When the book ended, Francie had come full circle, so I'm not curious about her. But I really want to know more about the minor characters.

Can you name another book that reminds you of this one?
THE OUTSIDERS. It also comes full circle and has very similar problems. 

If you could ask the author one question about this book, what would it be?
Did you know real people who were like Sissy, Katie, and Francie?

Since Ms. Smith passed away in 1972, we added a bonus question for Lauren: What's next on your reading list?
I'm currently reading the ODYSSEY for school, but when I'm done with that, I'm going to read WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman.

**** Thank you for sharing with us, Lauren! ****

About A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith:
Francie Nolan is growing up in the slums of Brooklyn at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is a harsh place to live, but Francie and her brother, Neeley, thrive because of their mother's strength, the love of their father, and the emotional support from their aunts; especially madcap Aunt Sissy. Francie is only eleven when the book opens, but it follows her through her teenage years as she struggles with the knowledge that she is not her mother's favorite child and the realities of her father's alcoholism. She must also come to terms with the reality that a free education can still be out of reach - if you can't afford not to work.  

This book is touching and uplifting. It does not hide the pain and desperation of life in the slums, but it also shows the strength of the human spirit and how even in dark places, love and laughter can thrive.

"Let me be something every minute of every hour of my life...And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that no one little piece of living is ever lost."

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