Thursday, October 1, 2009

Book Review: Strawberry Hill by Mary Ann Hoberman

Strawberry Hill

Book Review of Strawberry Hill by Mary Ann Hoberman

It's the time of the Great Depression and Allie's father has been unemployed for a long time. When her father is offered a job and the family prepares to relocate from their two family home to their own house in the country, ten-year-old Allie does not want to go. She lives next to her best friend Ruthy Greenberg and Allie enjoyed the time she spent with the friendly Greenbergs' home. But when Allie hears that their new home will is called Strawberry Hill, she pictures a beautiful home surrounded by strawberry plants and begins to look forward to their new home.

As Allie and her younger brother Danny explore their neighborhood, they are quick to make friends. Her next door neighbor Martha is her age, a hopscotch whiz, and quite friendly. But Martha's best friend, the wealthy banker's daughter Claire, is not half as likable. Allie is willing to put up with Claire to spend time with her favorite new friend Martha. Nine-year-old Mimi lives next door also befriends Allie, but Martha and Claire find Mimi strange and look down on her with the cruelty that comes easily to ten-year-old girls. But Allie feels bad for Mimi - she isn't as bad as Martha says. When Danny and Mimi hit it off, Allie finds that she enjoy spending time with Mimi. As Allie makes her way through the challenges of Strawberry Hill, she finds her true friends.

When I first started Strawberry Hill, I had to put it down. I started to feel uncomfortable once it was clear that Martha made fun of Mimi and Allie was willing to avoid Mimi to stay on Martha's good side. I just didn't want to read about the bullying that goes on among young girls. But it was good that I came back to the book because it's much more than bullying - the is about standing up for yourself and sticking by your friends. It's heartwarming and I recommend it highly.

Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers (July 1, 2009), 240 pages.
Courtesy of the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of her website:

Mary Ann Hoberman was born on August 12, 1930, in Stamford, Connecticut to Dorothy (Miller) and Milton Freedman. She attended the Stamford public schools, where she wrote for her school newspapers and edited her high school yearbook. In 1951 she received a B.A. in history from Smith College and, thirty-five years later an M.A. in English Literature from Yale University. She married Norman Hoberman, an architect and artist, in 1951. They have four children, all in the arts - Diane, Perry, Chuck, and Meg - and five grandchildren. The Hobermans have lived in Greenwich, Connecticut, for almost fifty years in a house that Norman designed.

Mary Ann Hoberman has taught writing and literature from the elementary through the college level. She co-founded and performed with both “The Pocket People”, a children’s theatre group, and “Women’s Voices”, a group giving dramatized poetry readings. But ever since her first book was published in 1957, her primary occupation has been writing for children. She received a National Book Award in 1983 and the 2003 Poetry for Children Award of the National Council of Teachers of English. In 2008 the Poetry Foundation named her the Children's Poet Laureate. Learn more on Mary Ann Hoberman's website at

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