From the Stone Soup Blog
She Needed Me and I Needed Her: “The Summer We Found the Baby”
The Summer We Found the Baby, by Amy Hest, is a realistic fiction novel set in Belle Beach, New York, during World War II. The book’s main characters are Julie, age eleven; Julie’s little sister, Martha, age six; and their neighbor, Bruno, age twelve. The trio finds a baby abandoned on the steps of the Belle Beach Library and Julie decides to keep it as her other little sister. Julie writes, “I’m the one who found her. A real, live baby girl, and I saw her first. I saw the basket . . . I just wanted to hold her awhile. I didn’t mean to take the baby.” (Page 3) The main objective of this story is for the trio to find the mother of the baby and reunite the baby with its family. I found this book to be special because the author writes from several perspectives. The book also depicts how families are coping with loss and exemplifies how the characters fill gaps in one another’s lives and hearts.
Each chapter of this book is written from the perspective of a different person from the trio. As I progressed through the book, my vantage point alternated between Julie, Martha, and Bruno. This is a very engaging style of writing because the story is not filtered through the voice of only one character. Instead, there are multiple points of view, and the reader develops a broader understanding of the other characters’ intentions and feelings. As we cultivate empathy for the people in the book, we understand their emotions better. This makes the book more intriguing and hooks the reader in from the first page.
“Six. I’ve been to six of them altogether. Six memorials on the beach. All because of the war,” (Bruno, 109). I found this book absorbing because many characters in the story are struggling with loss of family members and uncertainty about the war and its outcome hovers over the book’s action. For example, the Ben-Eli family worries about their eldest son, Ben, at war in Europe, and they hope each day for a letter from the frontlines. Meanwhile, another family in the community loses their son in battle. In addition, Martha and Julie are continuing to cope with the passing of their mother, who died in childbirth. This attention to loss is intriguing because I learned from the characters’ struggles and better understood how humans confront and persist despite fear and grief.
You can read the rest of Sydney’s piece at https://stonesoup.com/post/she-needed-me-and-i-needed-her-the-summer-we-found-the-baby-reviewed-by-sydney-kesselheim-11/.
About the Stone Soup Blog
We publish original work—writing, art, book reviews, multimedia projects, and more—by young people on the Stone Soup Blog. You can read more posts by young bloggers, and find out more about submitting a blog post, here: https://stonesoup.com/stone-soup-blog/.