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Looking for Me Hardcover – April 17, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Rosenthal's spare writing superbly captures the emotional growth of a girl on the cusp of adolescence, despite its specific historical context."--School Library Journal

"The overall tone is one of solidarity in spite of difficulties."--Booklist

"This would serve as an excellent class readaloud as well as appealing to fans of both poetry and memoir."--Bulletin

About the Author

Before she began writing children’s books, Betsy Rosenthal was a lawyer for a national civil rights agency. She left that career behind to raise her three children and concentrate on her writing. She is the author of three picture books: My House Is Singing, It’s Not Worth Making a Tzimmes Over!, and Which Shoes Would You Choose? Looking for Me is her first novel.Ms. Rosenthal has also had many essays published in national and local newspapers and magazines.  To learn more about Ms. Rosenthal, you can visit her at www.BetsyRosenthal.com.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1130L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 054761084X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547610849
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,637,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Betsy Rosenthal is the author of several children's books. Her first book, My House Is Singing, is a collection of poetry all about things in and around the house. It's Not Worth Making a Tzimmes Over!, is a story inspired by her son Joel's baking mishap and the feisty grandmothers Betsy plays badminton with regularly. Her newest book, Which Shoes Would You Choose? follows a little boy named Sherman who tries to figure out which shoes are the right ones for each of his activities. Should he wear tennis shoes in the bathtub? Or roller skates to a fancy restaurant?

In addition to her books for children, Rosenthal has had many essays published in newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, Mothering magazine, The Jewish Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, California Monthly Magazine, and Working Writer.

Rosenthal was a lawyer before leaving that career behind to raise her three children and concentrate on her writing. When her fingers aren't glued to the computer keyboard, she keeps busy helping students with their college admissions essays, walking with a group of friends up the hills in her Los Angeles neighborhood, playing badminton, reading, traveling and chauffeuring her youngest son around to his various activities.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This collection of poems and vignettes tells the story of Edith who is child number four in a large family in Baltimore circa 1936. Edith is the mother of author Betsy R. Rosenthal who has been able to instill on her daughter the texture and soul of that time and place for a working class Jewish family.

Family, food, traditions, births and deaths are presented with unadorned reality as seen through the eyes of a young girl. There is pathos and humor but all enfolded in a close knit household where the common thread is love. There is a short piece that tells of Edith's father going to his mother's house, Bubby Anne, on Tuesdays for the gefilte fish that may be a little boney. The family lives on a street with mostly Catholics so there is a short verse on how difficult it can be to keep Kosher with all the bacon, shrimp, crab and pickled pig's feet being offered when Edith visits friends after school. When her friend Eunice offers a kielbasa or a ham sandwich and Edith must refuse she expounds that she's "a picky eater". In reality Edith doesn't want her eating rules to get in the way of play.

As the family grows Edith must work harder and harder to maintain her autonomy. There is a description of sharing the tub; back to school clothes she describes as hand-me-down down down down downs, her desire to sleep "one to a bed" and not waking with feet in her face; her wish to spread her arms wide and not be told she can't. Each small poem highlights a slice of life in the days and times of long ago Baltimore for a little girl who we can't help but admire.

The book ends with Edith being fearful that her family won't attend her school achievement ceremony where she will be getting an award.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While I was reading Looking For Me by Betsy Rosenthal today several teachers commented on how good this book looked. If covers are any indication of a book's excellence, this one would get five stars.
Even better then that this book was totally enjoyable. Rosenthal's novel in verse covers life in the mid 1930s as Edith and her large family (12 children in all) grow up. Edith is the fourth in her family of twelve, looking for her place in life. She can quickly identify her siblings - her three brothers that hang out together, her baby sister, an older sister who doesn't ever stop playing- but Edith isn't quite sure who she is yet. However, she is aware of how their clothes are always hand me downs -as are their shoes, how there are too many people in the family to be invited somewhere for supper, and how they must sleep three to a bed. Times are tough, and the fact that they are Jewish further sets them apart.
Rosenthal bases this book on her own mother's childhood growing up in a large family. She has listened to the many stories of her aunts and uncles and her mother and managed to transform them into this amazing story. This is a fast read- I began this afternoon and finished just after supper. Students will easily relate to Edith and the stories of her youth. The text is easily accessible making it a perfect read for elementary students.
I'm adding this one to my school library's collection as soon as it comes out in April.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Maybe because it's written in verse, but I found this short novel immensely affecting. I connected emotionally with Edith right from the beginning, and I had a hard time putting this book down. By the end, I was distraught over some of the tragedies that hit her, and keenly felt her pain and determination. This book packs a powerful punch. I can't wait to share it with my daughter, but I know I'm going to have to pre-warn her about some of the things that happen to Edith, so she is not taken off-guard like I was. I know she will strongly identify with Edith: even though she comes from a much smaller family, she is still the middle child and I know she has felt many of the same emotions.

I should say that although it made me immensely sad, it is not a "downer" of a book. After a dreadful (but realistic) tragedy, the story moves forward and pulls out an optimistic ending, and the Afterword reinforces the sense that it all worked out okay.

As historical fiction, this is really top-notch. Without being overly obvious, Looking for Me teaches about life in the Depression and specifically Jewish American life. The poems are not difficult and the book is a quick read, but it communicates a wealth of experience. Fantastic read.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The narrator for this story is Edith Paul. At the time the story opens, she is eleven, almost twelve, and growing up in Depression-era Baltimore. She is the fourth of twelve siblings in a Jewish family that owns a diner.

This story, in free verse, tells of all the goings-on in Edith's life in one year - her feelings about being fourth in such a large family, her days at school and her affection toward her teacher, the way this teacher sees a good future for Edith, love, loss, mischief, her twelfth birthday, and so much more.

These poems are spot-on in voice and tone for a girl of Edith's age. Readers will laugh, cry, be angry, be confused, all the emotions, right along with Edith.

The back matter contains a helpful glossary of terms appropriate to the time and place and Edith's Jewish faith, as well as photos of Edith and her family. This work is about a real person, and the photos and glossary make it even more real and make it easier for the intended audience (about ages 9 through 12) to understand.

This is a fairly short work that I enjoyed immensely, and I believe that the intended audience will enjoy it as well.
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