From Midwest Book Review
"Charles's Bridge, written by librarian Sandra Novacek and illustrated with lovely drawings by Nicole Lapointe, is based on Novacek's husband's personal story during wartime. It opens in 1938, when soldiers have caused Charles's family to flee Czechoslovakia. Forced to leave his beloved art supplies behind (supplies which quickly become scarce as war spreads), Charles is lonely, feels isolated in school by his accent and alien background, and is disconnected from the art which once held so much promise for him. When he sees a beautiful scene, he wants to paint it. With no supplies in his future, Charles is forced to find a different form of expression.
Will he ever find a place that feels safe and welcoming again? And can his innovations replace the artistic techniques he once honed? Kids with good reading skills or parental read-aloud assistance will find much to like about this story. As Charles perseveres in revising his dreams, there are many lessons for this new age of COVID which teach kids about preserving dreams and forging new paths to realize them despite the barriers that emerge.
Charles's Bridge holds a magical story with a powerful lesson for all ages, and is a much-needed positive perspective in dark times. As the color evolves both in Charles's life and in the artwork in the book, so hope equally rises in his readers."
-Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer
"Charles's Bridge is a beautiful and inspiring tribute to the power of imagination, human creativity and the power of art. The story shows us how even in times of greatest adversity, nature and natural materials can be a source of inspiration and sustain hope. A must-read for children and families especially in current times."
-Girija Kaimal, Associate Professor, PhD, Dept. of Creative Arts Therapies, Drexel University; President-Elect, American Art Therapy Association
"In the midst of disaster, resilient children rise - like young Charles Novacek. On the brink of World War II, he must abandon his art supplies when his family flees Slovakia. Using his imagination, Charles finds a way for his art to live, leading those around him to hope and light."
-Jennifer Elvgren, author of The Whispering Town and The Edelweiss Pirates
"Charles's Bridge shows kids how they can use their creativity, connections, and determination to do hard things and get through hard times. When faced with scary, isolating changes in his life, Charles uses his curiosity and sense of wonder along with the support of both mother nature and people in his community to help him not only do what he loves but also grow a deeper sense of resilience that lasted a lifetime. It's both a delightful and meaningful story for adults and children and I hope many choose to share it."
-Heather Brown, Board Certified Art Therapist