Cold War anxieties play out in a sensitively told story set during the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960s, perfect for fans of Gary Schmidt and Kristin Levine.
Joanna can’t get over how her brother broke his promise to never leave like their dad did. Sam is thousands of miles away on a navy ship, and no matter how often he sends letters, Joanna refuses to write back. When she makes a promise, she keeps it.
But then President Kennedy comes on TV with frightening news about Soviet missiles in Cuba—and that’s where Sam’s heading. Suddenly Joanna’s worries about being home alone, building up the courage to talk to a cute boy, and not being allowed to go to the first boy-girl party in her grade don’t seem so important. Maybe sometimes there are good reasons to break a promise.
The tense timeline of the Cuban missile crisis unfolds alongside a powerful, and ultimately hopeful, story about what it means to grow up in a world full of uncertainty.
About the Author
Gayle Rosengren grew up in Chicago. Like Joanna in Cold War on Maplewood Street, she enjoyed school, was a voracious reader, and loved dogs and horses. She attended Knox College, where she majored in creative writing and was the editor of the literary magazine. Gayle never outgrew her passion for children’s books, and worked as a children’s and young adult librarian at Fountaindale Public Library in Bolingbrook, Illinois, for several years, enthusiastically sharing her love of books.
Gayle eventually moved to Wisconsin, but by then she was the mother of three children. She worked in a reference library and as a copyeditor, and she wrote short stories for children that appeared in Cricket, Ladybug, Jack and Jill, and Children’s Digest magazines. Now Gayle writes full-time just outside of Madison, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband, Don, and their slightly neurotic rescue dog, Fiona. She is living her dream, she says, writing books she hopes will make the same difference in children’s lives as her favorite authors made in hers. Cold War on Maplewood Street is her second novel for young readers.
Read an Excerpt
Mom came through the door with a whoosh of cool air.
Joanna sprang up from the floor. “You’re home early! I’m so glad. Did you hear the president’s speech?”
Mom wrapped Joanna in a hug. “Yes, Jo, I heard.”
“Do-do you think there’s going to be a war?” It seemed impossible that Joanna was even asking such a question. War was something that happened in other countries, not here in the United States. Not in Chicago on Maplewood Street.
“Of course not,” Mom said, stroking Joanna’s curls.
“Gram thinks there might be,” Joanna said, her cheek still pressed into Mom’s coat. “She said that Sam will be right in the middle of it.”
What People are Saying About This
Praise for What the Moon Said
“Rosengren’s depiction of the Great Depression from a child’s perspective rings true. . . . Sensitive and engaging.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“The story triumphs in its small vignettes.” — School Library Journal
“Esther’s positive attitude offers a fine model for readers of this engaging historical fiction.” —Booklist
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I highly recommend COLD WAR ON MAPLEWOOD STREET by Gayle Rosengren (author of WHAT THE MOON SAID) for elementary and middle school teachers to use in class in interdisciplinary studies--language arts and social studies. The topic is the 1961 Cuban Missile crisis from the viewpoint of a 12-yr.-old girl in Chicago whose brother is in the navy. It is accessible in language and content for elementary, fourth grade and up. This is a must-have book for libraries, too. But, in my opinion, a guided reading in classrooms would give the opportunity not just for an enjoyable read, but for discussions about the threat of war for any decade. In this age of global community and ready access to world news, it can be a scary place for children. COLD WAR ON MAPLEWOOD STREET is the best book I've read for sensitive and rational talks about this issue. [Disclosure: I am a former high school teacher. I bought this book from B&N.]