Monday, July 20, 2015

Blog Tour/Review: Callahan Crossroads by Anola Pickett

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Callahan Crossroads, by Anola Pickett
2015, 192p, Clean Historical Fiction
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

Twelve-year-old George’s family won’t take him seriously. He’s ready to fight like a man on the front lines of the Great War, but instead he gets stuck on the home front, with nothing more exciting to do than look out for his younger sisters and elderly neighbor, Mrs. Schmitt.

But with no sign of victory in Europe, things are getting more and more tense at home, especially after George’s older brother makes a startling announcement.

Set in 1918 Kansas City, this old-fashioned family drama brings you to the heart of the World War I home front. Issue-drive and entertaining, it’s a coming-of-age story that will still resonate with readers today.

Kansas, 1918. George Callahan is 12 years old. He does lots of normal 12-year-old boy things, like hang out with friends, read to his sisters and help around the house. He also starts learning things he doesn't want to know and keeps secrets for his brother and his aunt. His neighbor, Mrs. Schmitt, is being targeted for her German name so he works to protect her as well. 

George is a good boy that is trying to do his best and please those around him. He also wants to grow up and learns that being a kid might not be such a bad thing. His best friend, Jimmy, has a rough home life and will sometimes show up at his door with bruises. Jimmy's home life is chaotic and lots of changes happen to him during the course of the book. 

I thought this novel did a great job of showing how "normal" life can be in the midst of war. While there's fighting going on, there are still chores to be done, friends to hang out with, babies being born and neighbors to help. Some are willing to fight for their country while others are opposed to war and looking to avoid enlisting. George was confused at times and had to figure out how he felt about some of the things that were going on around him. 

This book deals with social issues, prejudice and attitudes about war. It's interesting to compare the way families and communities dealt with war in the early 1900's and how we deal with war today. It also deals with family and friendships and the impact those make on a young boy's life. This is a thought-provoking coming-of-age story that will also appeal to those interested in historical fiction. This is the first book I've read by this author and I'm looking forward to reading more of her work in the future!

About the author:

Anola Pickett is a Kansas City native, and although she’s lived in Chicago, St. Louis and Massachusetts, she’s always come back home. The oldest of six children, she grew up in a family that emphasized the importance of reading and education. She began writing stories in the third grade and went on to become a teacher and school librarian. Now retired from the classroom, she devotes a big part of her day to writing and research for historical novels for young readers. She especially prizes the stories her parents and grandmother told about their growing-up years in Kansas City.

Pickett enjoys school and library visits to talk about her books and about the craft of writing. She and her husband Peter Doyle enjoy traveling, especially to Hong Kong, where they visit their son and daughter-in-law and a beautiful red-haired granddaughter!


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