My Brother Made Me Do It: A Sister Remembers Growing up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Overview

Oh, BRRRRROTHER!
Hi. I'm Julie Welsh. My nine-year-old brother is always cooking up schemes...and I get blamed. Because I'm older. Eleven, to be exact. But Frankie has his good points too, as I told Mrs. Kaplan, my 89-year-ald pen pal, who lives in Kansas. I write Mrs. Kaplan about everything. Even my secrets. She was the first one I told about my juvenile arthritis. Mrs. Kaplan understands everything. She has arthritis too. I was feeling tired and achy all the time, and ...

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Overview

Oh, BRRRRROTHER!
Hi. I'm Julie Welsh. My nine-year-old brother is always cooking up schemes...and I get blamed. Because I'm older. Eleven, to be exact. But Frankie has his good points too, as I told Mrs. Kaplan, my 89-year-ald pen pal, who lives in Kansas. I write Mrs. Kaplan about everything. Even my secrets. She was the first one I told about my juvenile arthritis. Mrs. Kaplan understands everything. She has arthritis too. I was feeling tired and achy all the time, and discouraged. Then Mrs. Kaplan gave me ideas about running for student council, and though I could barely lift my legs, Frankie made me want to compete in a fun run. Just when I thought my life was a permanent time-out, you'll never believe what happened....

In letters to an elderly pen pal, eleven-year-old Julie describes how her mischievous younger brother is always getting her in trouble, how she is dealing with painful juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and how she struggles to finish a fund-raising race on crutches.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This is a meaningful and witty story of eleven-year-old Julie Walsh as she writes letters to her pen pal. As part of her classroom assignment, Julie writes to her eighty-nine-year-old pen pal, Mrs. Kaplan, who lives in Kansas. Julie's letters often include stories about her nine-year-old brother's antics and pranks, which get them both into trouble. Her letters include the normal ups and downs of a preteen girl including school, friends and running for student council. Then Julie is diagnosed with juvenile arthritis and Mrs. Kaplan is the first one she tells. Her pen pal understands feeling tired, achy and discouraged because she has arthritis, too. The author provides a distinct portrayal of Julie's experiences and feelings as she deals with her diagnosis. This story would be helpful for any child who feels isolated due to a disease or disability. It also identifies the significance of perseverance, vitality and bravery in both the young and the old. 2000, Minstrel Book/Pocket Books, $4.99. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Michele Wilbur AGES: 9 10 11 12
VOYA
Once in a while, an unexpected gem appears, and this short volume is just such a treasure. Eleven-year-old Julie writes letters to her fifth grade pen pal, Mrs. Kaplan. The reader never sees Mrs. Kaplan's answers and knows of her replies only through Julie's letters. Julie delights the eighty-seven-year-old Mrs. Kaplan by recounting tales of her misadventures, always as the result of listening to the ideas of her nine-year-old brother, Frankie. Mrs. Kaplan also becomes her confidant when the achy joints and tiredness that Julie has been feeling is diagnosed as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). Julie calls it the Junky Rotten Affliction. Through the letters, readers follow Julie's trials with her chronic disease, her campaign to be elected to Student Council, and her dedication and courage to take part in the Fun Run for her school. Written in letter format, the sentences are short and the construction is not complex. Although vocabulary is challenging in places, the book is brief and can be read quickly. The reluctant reader will find it accessible, and all readers will be enthralled with the story. The many topics, such as the challenges of chronic illness and the payoff for perseverance, combine in an appropriate read-aloud as a precursor to class discussion. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2000, Simon & Schuster, 130p, $16. Ages 12 to 14. Reviewer: Susan Allen

SOURCE: VOYA, December 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 5)

School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Fifth-grader Julie writes a series of letters to her pen pal, an elderly woman in a convalescent home, as part of a class project. Shortly after the correspondence begins, the child is diagnosed with pediatric rheumatoid arthritis, yet is committed to running in a fund-raising race and getting on with her life. Through her letters, readers glean information about Mrs. Kaplan, learning that the lonely 89-year-old has terminal cancer. Although the outcomes are predictable, the incidents are treated with humor and sensitivity. This popular and prolific author has crafted a well-written examination of courage, dignity, and determination at both ends of the age spectrum. The antics of Julie and her mischievous younger brother add enough lightness to make this a quick, but meaningful read.-Sharon McNeil, Los Angeles County Office of Education Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671034191
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 405,561
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Peg Kehret's books for young readers are regularly recommended by the American Library Association, the International Reading Association, and the Children's Book Council. She has won "children's choice" book awards in nineteen states and has also won the Golden Kite Award from the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and the PEN Center West Award for Children's Literature. A longtime volunteer at the Humane Society, she often uses animals in her stories.

Peg and her husband, Carl, live in a log house on ten acres of forest near Mount Rainier National Park. Their property is a sanctuary for blacktail deer, elk, rabbits, and many kinds of birds. They have two grown children, four grandchildren, a dog, and two cats. When she is not writing, Peg likes to read, watch baseball, and pump her old player piano.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

September 12

Dear Mrs. Kaplan,

Hi. My name is Julie Welsh. My teacher, Mrs. Lumbard, assigned me to be your pen pal.

Here is what I know about you:

  1. You are eighty-nine years old.
  2. You live in Kansas at the Shady Villa Care Center.
  3. You never get any mail, which is why you are in our fifth-grade pen pal project.

You will probably be sorry that I got assigned to you because I am not a very good letter writer. Mostly I like to read, do crafts, and play with my cat, Itty Bitty Kitty. I used to roller-skate a lot, but lately my legs have been achy, so I don't skate much anymore. Mom says I have growing pains.

Oh, yes, I also hide from my little brother, Frankie.

Now, don't jump to conclusions and tell me I should not hide from people. You don't know Frankie. He is the sneakiest, most devious boy in the world, and if I do not stay away from him I end up in a heap of trouble and get blamed for tons of things that are not my fault. Any time I am in hot water with my parents, you can bet it's because Frankie made me do something wrong.

My dad is an engineer. My mom works part-time as a dental technician. Yuck. I would not want to scrape tartar off people's teeth, but Mom says she likes to meet new people and help them stay healthy.

We are supposed to ask questions in these letters, so here goes. What is your favorite food? Where did you live when you were my age (eleven)? Do you have any kids?

Mrs. Lumbard said you never get mail. Does that include junk mail? If so my mother would like to know how you manage that. Every day she gets a bunch of letters that go straight in the recycle bin, and every day she complains that they are a waste of time and trees.

Please write back. I never get any mail, either.

Your new pen pal,

Julie

Copyright © 2000 by Peg Kehret

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First Chapter

Chapter One September 12

Dear Mrs. Kaplan,

Hi. My name is Julie Welsh. My teacher, Mrs. Lumbard, assigned me to be your pen pal.

Here is what I know about you:

  1. You are eighty-nine years old.
  2. You live in Kansas at the Shady Villa Care Center.
  3. You never get any mail, which is why you are in our fifth-grade pen pal project.

You will probably be sorry that I got assigned to you because I am not a very good letter writer. Mostly I like to read, do crafts, and play with my cat, Itty Bitty Kitty. I used to roller-skate a lot, but lately my legs have been achy, so I don't skate much anymore. Mom says I have growing pains.

Oh, yes, I also hide from my little brother, Frankie.

Now, don't jump to conclusions and tell me I should not hide from people. You don't know Frankie. He is the sneakiest, most devious boy in the world, and if I do not stay away from him I end up in a heap of trouble and get blamed for tons of things that are not my fault. Any time I am in hot water with my parents, you can bet it's because Frankie made me do something wrong.

My dad is an engineer. My mom works part-time as a dental technician. Yuck. I would not want to scrape tartar off people's teeth, but Mom says she likes to meet new people and help them stay healthy.

We are supposed to ask questions in these letters, so here goes. What is your favorite food? Where did you live when you were my age (eleven)? Do you have any kids?

Mrs. Lumbard said you never get mail. Does that include junk mail? If so my mother would like to know how you manage that. Every day she gets abunch of letters that go straight in the recycle bin, and every day she complains that they are a waste of time and trees.

Please write back. I never get any mail, either.

Your new pen pal,
Julie

Copyright © 2000 by Peg Kehret

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2008

    50 star worthy

    This book is great! It's perfect for anyone, kid or adult. It's about 11-year-old Julie, diagnosed with JRA, Juvenile ? Arthritis. How does she cope with it? Read and find out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2006

    A GREAT BOOK!!!

    My brother made me do is an awesome book .This book is about a girl named Julie who has Juvenile arthritis and a little annoying brother named Frankie. Frankie is always doing bad things. For example at the pancake contest he froze his pancake so he could win. Julie¿s school is doing a fun run and she wants to enter in it, but she has to wear crutches. Can Julie make it to the finish line? Read the book to find out. I recommend this book to people who have annoying little brothers and to people who like funny books. This book is for 3rd grade and over. My favorite part of the book is When Julie and Frankie threw a dummy out the window. The way I put it might not sound funny, but the way the author put it was hilarious! Read this book to find out more about the story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2006

    Beyond Awesome Book

    This book was amazing. It help me better understand the trouble of having JRA.I feel like i am in the place of Julie. Her emotions get caught with my own. This is one of the best books I have ever read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2006

    this is great!!!!!!!!!!

    this book is a must read ! its about a girl with JRA and solves all her problems by writing to her penpal named mrs. kaplan and you never no what is going to happen.i hate reading and i read it in two days.its a great book children all ages even if you read it to them because they will love it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2005

    awsome book

    this is an aswsome book about a girl with JRA and how she gets through it. this book is amazing. a must read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2003

    Wonderful! 5 stars!

    I think this is a magnificent book. It makes me feel like I am the one who has JRA and I am the one suffering. The ways she gets through her problems and her acomplishments. I give this book 5 stars!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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