Monday, June 15, 2020

MMGM- Raising Lumie and American Immigration

Bauer, Joan. Raising Lumie
June 16th 2020 by Viking Books for Young Readers
ARC provided by Follett First Look

Olive's mother died when she was young, and her beloved plumber father has just succumbed to cancer. Since her grandmother's hip problems don't allow her to take care of Olive, Maudie, her half sister from her father's first marriage, steps in. Maudie is a graphic designer who is sixteen years older than Olive. She's just gotten a new job in a town three hours away, and the two move there to try to start over. They rent a room in a house, and Maudie's boss even allows Olive to come to the office during the summer. Olive would rather stay home, but once she gets to the office she is happy. One of the employees, Brian, helps raise service dogs for the Northeast Guide Dog Center, and the puppies come to the office to get used to noises and people. A boy Olive's age, Jordan, also helps, and the two start to become friends. Olive and one of the puppies, Lumie, form a bond, and Olive thinks about asking Maudie is she can foster her. Maudie is having trouble with her fiance, and living in a house makes things difficult. Olive also isn't sure that she would be strong enough to say goodbye to Lumie after raising her for a year. The stars align, however, and Lumie moves in with Olive and Maudie. There's a lot of training to be done, and Olive is dedicated to doing her best. Lumie helps Olive have something to do while she is dealing with her grief and preparing to start at a new middle school. She knows she's doing a good thing,  but how hard will it be to let Lumie go?
Strengths: There are a lot of sad books out there, and a lot of teachers and librarians who love them and think they are therapeutic for readers. If all of the sad books were like this, I might agree. Olive has had a devastating loss and is thrust into a new environment that she can't escape and is unsure about, but she finds the positive and soldiers on. THIS is the kind of example that young readers need. I always worry about the soggy sad books-- will they make readers who are experiencing loss  even sadder? Will it make them think that what they are going through is horrible, or will it give them the message this book does: yes, life is hard. But you have to make the best of it. That's all any of us can do. I did appreciate that Olive has a therapist and talks to her regularly, and is processing her losses. Her passion for dogs and her dedication to Lumie is fantastic, and the details of raising a service dog will intrigue young readers. Bauer always writes intriguing casts of characters and interesting scenarios, and this cover will make sure that readers pick up this title right away and are able to read this great story.
Weaknesses: I could have done without the songs and Olive's lists and journal entries. They just slowed things down a bit.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing. I love Close to Famous (2011) Almost Home (2012), Soar (2016), and especially Rules of the Road (1998) which stills circulates even though it was published just before Picky Reader (who just graduated from college!) was born.

Krull, Kathleen. American Immigration: Our History, Our Stories
June 16th 2020 by HarperCollins
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Wow. If you need only ONE book that gives an overview about everything anyone might need to know about immigration, this would be the book. I'm familiar with Krull's work for younger students (like her Louisa May's Battle or America's First Ladies), but this is a comprehensive and multifaceted book perfect for middle grade readers.

Not only does it cover the history of different peoples who immigrated to the US, it talks about indigenous peoples and how they were treated. An interesting and welcome twist for a book on immigration, to be sure.There is also some discussion about the fact that certain populations did not choose to come here, but were brought against their will, so they are not necessarily immigrants. Not only is the history of the various policies and treatment of immigrants mentioned, but there are a multitude of short biographies of immigrants who have made significant contributions to US society throughout its history.

Later in the book, there is information about the process needed to become a citizen, and also facts about the policies that the current administration has tried to put into place. While clearly not a fan of Trump and his ideas, the text is admirably dispassionate and lets the statistics and directives speak for themselves.

This would be a fantastic book to have on hand for students who are looking for a place to start a history day project, or who just want to learn about immigration. I didn't know very much about Angel Island and the West Coast portals for immigrants, and found that fascinating. I also appreciated the information about English and German immigrants-- as nearly as I can tell, my family either came over from the United Kingdom in the mid 1700s, or from Germany in the mid 1800s. My daughters are ten generations removed from John Alden and Priscilla Mullins-- there is a paper trail researched by a family member, so we're not just making it up.

The E ARC made it hard to get a good idea about the set up of this book, but it does seem to be more focused on text than pictures, so it's not like the Wallace's very fine First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great which is mentioned in the bibliography. I do have to say that I really have to track down We Were There: The Story of Working Women in America by Barbara M. Wertheimer (1977). Definitely purchasing this book for my library.


  1. American Immigration: Our History, Our Stories sounds like an excellent introduction to the history of immigration for kids! Raising Lumie sounds great as well, especially since I really enjoyed one of Bauer's previous books, Tell Me. Thanks for the great reviews!

  2. I loved Soar so I will be sure to pick up a copy of her newest. The cover alone demands a reader. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

  3. Both books intrigue me and they couldn't be more different. I do feel the hope for Olive in Raising Lumie -- and who doesn't like a good therapeutic dog story. I really love seeing a book on American Immigration -- such a wonderful resource book for schools and libraries. I love history and try to review as many immigration books as possible, so this would appeal to me. Thanks for sharing today!

  4. Raising Lumie sounds really intriguing. I enjoyed Close to Famous, and I am glad to hear this is not a "soggy" book. I have found that my kids and my students don't like super sad books, so I'm always wondering who reads them as well?
    I'm sure the guide dog story line and this beautiful cover will hook many readers!

  5. I love any books by Joan Bauer and Kathleen Krull. Great reviews!