Where Heroes Hide is an engaging middle-grade novel that contains all the right elements..
- Publisher's Weekly
First-time author Recorvits makes a poised and confident debut with this bittersweet Depression-era tale of a Polish immigrant family. Since Pa got laid off from his job at the cotton mill, "There were no more jokes and no more ice cream cones," notes Wanda, the fifth grader through whose eyes the story unfolds. The family survives on the wages her older sister, Victoria, earns as a maid at the mill-owner's home, and tension builds between Pa and Walter, Wanda's adored and protective 15-year-old brother, whom Pa wants to send off to join the Civilian Conservation Corps for pay. Pa's temper boils over frequently in angry words and even physical violence toward Walter. Then one day when Wanda and Walter go sledding, the boy falls through the ice and drowns. In this brief volume, Recorvits encapsulates a full range of human feeling and experience, as she describes the Malinskis' home life, loss and their growing resolve to pick up the pieces, supported by their friends and community; she transforms their tribulations into glimmers of hope. Wanda's voice is pitch perfect, as when she grieves for her brother: "A broken heart hurts so much. Worse than a dizzy headache and a sick stomach and a bad note from the teacher and your best friend being mad at you all at once." Recorvits skillfully weaves the threads of her story--the close relationship between Wanda and Walter; the oppression of poverty; the toll that unemployment takes on an individual's sense of pride--into a vigorous tapestry of immigrant family life during a dark era. Bloom's softly shaded black-and-white line illustrations, sometimes brooding, sometimes hopeful, punctuate each chapter and contribute to the emotional impact of the tale. Ages 9-12. (Mar.)
- Bruce Adelson
This enchantingly bittersweet book takes the reader back to the Great Depression where the Malinski family is struggling with achieving the American dream. Mr. Malinski, like so many others, was laid off from his job at the mill, plunging his family into economic uncertainty. Life at the Malinksi house changes dramatically as the stresses inherent with unemployment make times difficult for Walter and his younger sister Wanda. Yet, despite their father's increasing frustration which he takes out on his son, the warm, mutually supportive relationship between Wanda and her brother grow stronger, especially when Wanda dreads Walter's departure to work for the federally funded Civilian Conservation Corps. The author demonstrates great skill in creating this bright and absorbing tale, complete with characters children can relate to and excellent descriptions of the Malinskis' hardships, including a surprise ending. This is an excellent story, made all the more noteworthy by its treatment of a painful era in America's history.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5Wanda, an observant and perceptive fifth grader, gives readers a firsthand account of the effects of powerlessness and grinding poverty on everyday life and family relationships. The Depression has left Pa out of work and angry at his inability to provide for his family. He and 15-year-old Walter are having an especially difficult time with one another, and then Walter dies in an accident, leaving no recourse for healing the rift. The Polish-American community then asserts itself to care for a family whose economic and emotional resources are depleted. The narrative captures the poignancy of human hurt and longing, yet startles our modern sensibilities. This is a father who never questions his right to slap a defiant son or banish him to a rat-infested cellar, yet he is not uncaring. The family roles are authentic to the period, not subject to revisionist history. Occasional pencil drawings suit the serious tone of the text, and the illustrations help to realize the unnamed mill town in which the story is set and create a feel for the era. This is a sobering but hopeful glimpse into a very different past, peopled with characters whose emotions are very much like our own. A moving first novel by an author to watch.Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Martha Davis Beck
This lovely novel, set during the Great Depression, tells the story of a family's hardship and loss, and their ability to make it through...[T]he tragedy illuminates the love within this immigrant family and the kindness of neighbors who help them pick up the pieces.
— Riverbank Review