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I'm Still Scared: The War Years (26 Fairmount Avenue Series #6)


First-grader Tomie experiences uncertainty in the weeks following the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. What are the grown-ups talking quietly about at home and even at school? Why does his class have to go to the spooky furnace room for an air raid drill? Why does the family hang thick black curtains on the windows? Tomie’s mother is there to comfort and explain the confusion, and Tomie feels better. But he’s still scared.

Normal, everyday activities such as Tomie’s ...

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I'm Still Scared

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First-grader Tomie experiences uncertainty in the weeks following the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. What are the grown-ups talking quietly about at home and even at school? Why does his class have to go to the spooky furnace room for an air raid drill? Why does the family hang thick black curtains on the windows? Tomie’s mother is there to comfort and explain the confusion, and Tomie feels better. But he’s still scared.

Normal, everyday activities such as Tomie’s first music lesson, dance class and Christmas shopping with Dad go on as usual, but the day-to-day effects of the war are always there.

An emotionally strong addition to an award-winning series.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This reminiscent chapter book by renowned children's author and illustrator DePaola opens on Monday, December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. As adults huddle together and whisper about the implications of the attack, second grader Tomie becomes more scared. The students are released from school early so that they may be home to listen to President Franklin D. Roosevelt speak to the people over the radio. Later, Tomie and his family go to a Catholic church. School routines resume, though differences emerge. The family has a decorated tree at Christmas, but lights hung outside are allowed on for only a few hours each night. His mother makes dark curtains to put over the windows at night to make sure no enemy planes can target their home, and his uncle readies to join the military. The twelve chapters capture the mood and the day-to-day life of a child in a country at war in a matter-of-fact yet reassuring way. This is the sixth book in the "26 Fairmount Avenue" series. The first, 26 Fairmount Avenue, was a 2000 Newbery Honor Book. Other books in the series include On My Way and Things Will NEVER Be the Same. 2006, G.P. Putnam's Sons/Penguin Young Readers, Ages 7 to 10.
—Valerie O. Patterson
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-In this engaging entry in the series, Tomie is now in second grade, and the book's pivotal event is the bombing of Pearl Harbor. His parents help him to cope with the uncertainty by answering questions and remaining strong as a unified family. This sensitive account provides a child's-eye view of America in World War II not only in the text, but also in the grayscale illustrations, which depict the reactions of various characters and create a firm sense of time and place. Church, family, and friends are cornerstones in getting through troubled times, and this easy chapter book will offer some comfort and insight for today's children who cope with their own fears and uncertainties.-Linda M. Kenton, San Rafael Public Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
These brilliant, seemingly artless but carefully crafted books of the famed writer-illustrator's life work on so many levels. They are straightforward enough for children beginning to master chapter books; they are utterly charming and believable; they answer the questions young readers would ask themselves, and they are illustrated with dePaola's warmly reassuring pictures and hand-printed notes from his diary. Chapter One opens on Sunday night, December 7, 1941. Readers see the attack on Pearl Harbor from the point of view of a second grader, what his parents and teachers told him-and what they didn't. Blackout curtains are made for the house at 26 Fairmont Avenue in Meriden, Conn.; there are air raid drills at school and at home; and an older kid tells Tomie he is an "ENEMY," because his name is Italian. But there is Christmas, and dancing school and Dumbo, the new Walt Disney movie. A slice of real life, true in its history and emotional resonance. (Autobiography. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142408261
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/14/2007
  • Series: 26 Fairmount Avenue Series , #6
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 336,452
  • Age range: 7 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.87 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Tomie dePaola
Tomie dePaola lives in New London, New Hampshire.


Born in 1934 into a large extended Irish/Italian family, Tomie dePaola received his art education at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute and the California College of Arts & Crafts. Although he always wanted to create children's books, he spent several years applying his talents to the fields of education, theater, and graphic design. In the mid-1960s, he received his first commission to illustrate a children's science book. A year later, he published his first original picture book, The Wonderful Dragon of Timlin. Today, he is one of the most prolific -- and beloved -- author/illustrators in children's literature.

In addition to illustrating stories by other writers, DePaola has created artwork for collections of poetry, nursery rhymes, holiday traditions, and folk and religious tales. But, he is most famous for books of his own creation, especially Strega Nona ("Grandma Witch"), the beloved story of an old woman who uses her magical powers to help the people of her small Italian village. Written in 1975, this Caldecott Honor winner is still delighting children today.

DePaola admits that there are strong autobiographical elements in many of his books (Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs, The Art Lesson, Stagestruck), but nowhere is this more evident than in 26 Fairmount Avenue, a series of charming chapter books based on his Connecticut childhood. Taking its name from the address of his family home, the series captures the experiences and emotions of a young boy growing up in the late 1930s and early '40s in the shadow of World War II. The first book in the series received a 1999 Newbery Honor Award.

DePaola and his work have been recognized with many honors, including the Smithsonian Medal, the Kerlan Award for "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal, and several awards from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. In 1999, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts bestowed on dePaola the Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure Award for the body of his work.

Good To Know

  • Tomie dePaola's name is pronounced Tommy de POW-la.

  • Between college and graduate school, dePaola spent a short time in a Benedictine monastery before determining that religious life was not for him.

  • Using a combination of watercolor, tempera, and acrylic, dePaola's artistic style is best described as folk-traditional.

  • DePaola's favorite painters and strongest artistic influences are Matisse, Giotto, and Ben Shahn.
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