When Lily learns about a lottery for land plots to grow Victory Gardens, she tries to apply. But when the garden club president tells her she's too young to participate, Lily refuses to give up. She knows where there's a house with a big yard. The Bishops live in the largest house in town. It also has the largest yard. But the Bishops' son was the first soldier from the town to die in the war. Now Mrs. Bishop has hidden herself away in their house. When Lily asks Mr. Bishop for the use of a small plot within his yard, his grudging approval comes with the stern warning, "No bothering Mrs. Bishop." As Lily nurtures her garden, she discovers that the human heart is its own garden, with the same needs for attention and love. A former librarian, Helen L. Wilbur now works on the electronic side of the publishing world. Lily's Victory Garden was inspired by family stories of life on the home front during WWII. Helen also authored M is for Meow: A Cat Alphabet. She lives in New York City. Robert Gantt Steele has illustrated many projects and books about the American experience. He is particularly interested in military and WWII history. Robert lives in northern California.
Gordy and his family live in Detroit, Michigan, the heart of the United States automobile industry. Every night after coming home from work at one of the plants, Gordy's father teaches him how to box. Their hero is the famous American boxer Joe Louis, who grew up in Detroit. But the Great Depression has come down hard on the economy. Detroit's auto industry is affected and thousands of people lose their jobs, including Gordy's father. When his mother takes on work with a Jewish tailor, Gordy becomes friends with Ira, the tailor's son, bonding over their shared interest in boxing and Joe Louis. As the boys' friendship grows, Gordy feels protective of Ira, wanting to help the new boy fit in. At the same time, America is gearing up for the rematch between Joe Louis and the German boxer, Max Schmeling. For many Americans this fight is about good versus evil (US against Nazi Germany). Against the backdrop of the 1938 Fight of the Century, a young boy learns what it means to make a stand for a friend.
Even before they immigrate to America, Hanna and her family dream of the new life they will have there. "You will see, Hanna," Papa said. "There are streets of gold." But when they arrive, they find life very different from what they had imagined. Their apartment is small and Hanna and her brothers must sleep on a mattress on the floor. Mama spends her days knitting shawls and sweaters to sell on the streets but no one stops to buy. And Papa can find no work. Hanna looks everywhere for the gold Papa promised them but it is not to be found. What will happen to their dream of a new, better life in America? One day a seemingly insignificant find on a slushy street leads to an opportunity for a brighter future. And like many others before them, Hanna and her family realize that through small steps and hard work they can make their American dream come true.
It's 1969 and Marty's family lives on the U.S. island of Guam, where his father manages the NASA tracking station. It's important work and never more so than during the Apollo 11 space mission, where the tracking station relays signals back and forth between the astronauts and Mission Control in Houston, Texas. Along with the rest of the world, Marty listens to every mission update, including the historic landing on the moon and astronaut Neil Armstrong's first steps. But during Apollo 11's return to Earth, something goes wrong. There is a problem with the tracking station's antenna during the final hours of the mission. The problem must be resolved--the antenna is the only way Mission Control can communicate with the astronauts before Apollo 11 splashes down. Marty finds himself playing a key role in helping bring the craft safely back to Earth. Based on actual events, young readers get a front-row seat to this historic event in this new entry in the Tales of Young Americans series.
In 1850 the Detroit River was a major track along the Underground Railroad -- the last step to freedom. The journey across the river was dangerous, especially in winter and especially for a 12-year-old boy. When Louis's father left him in charge of the farm he offered his son this advice, "If you don't know what to do, just do what you think I would have done." Louis relies upon his father's words of wisdom when a runaway slave and her two children come looking for safe passage.
April 1, 1946 - an enormous tsunami wave strikes Hilo, Hawai'i, causing death and destruction. Even those islanders who are fortunate to have survived find their lives forever altered. Young Kimo loves his grandfather very much - they go everywhere together, sharing island stories and experiences. But there is one story his grandfather has yet to share and that is the reason behind their yearly pilgrimage to Laupahoehoe Point. Here, in silent remembrance, Grandfather places a flower lei atop a stone monument. It is only after his grandfather's sudden death that Kimo learns the story behind their annual visit and the reason for the sadness that has haunted his grandfather throughout the years. Evocative writing brings this tragic event from Hawaiian history to present-day reality for young readers today.
Janie is not exactly sure why her daddy is riding a bus from Indianapolis to Washington, D.C. She knows why she has to go-to stay out of her mother's way, especially with the twins now teething. But Daddy wants to hear a man named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak and, to keep out of trouble, Janie is sent along. Riding the bus with them is a mishmash of people, black and white, young and old. They seem very different from Janie. As the bus travels across cities and farm fields to its historic destination, Janie sees firsthand the injustices that many others are made to endure. She begins to realize that she's not so different from the other riders and that, as young as she is, her actions can affect change.