- Age Range: 7 - 10 years
- Grade Level: 2 - 5
- Lexile Measure: 810 (What's this?)
- Series: The Vanderbeekers (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (October 3, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0544876393
- ISBN-13: 978-0544876392
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 144 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street Hardcover – October 3, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Glaser's pitch-perfect debut novel set in Harlem introduces the endearing biracial Vanderbeeker family. Twins Isa and Jessie, along with siblings Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney (ranging from ages four-and-three-quarters to 12), plus a dog, a cat, a bunny, and their parents, all live together in a brownstone on 141st Street. Unfortunately, cantankerous landlord Mr. Biederman refuses to renew the lease. They have the five days before Christmas to change his mind or they will have to move out of the only home they have ever known. Each child has a plan and a distinct personality to match; the neighbors and friends all do, too. Glaser's detailed line drawings of the block's brownstones emphasize that this book is not just about one family; rather, it encompasses the stories of an interconnected community. Jessie creates a Rube Goldberg contraption that makes music while watering the building garden. Elderly Miss Josie and Mr. Jeet live above the Vanderbeekers and count on their support. A school dance, sibling rivalry, and preparing just the right gifts for Christmas are all subplots that Glaser deftly uses as a tool to both develop the characters and engage readers in the family's entertaining daily chaos. Glaser's love for the Vanderbeekers shines through in her prose and stick drawings. Readers will look forward to future adventures. VERDICT A highly recommended purchase for all middle grade collections. Fans of Sydney Taylor and Jeanne Birdsall are sure to be satisfied by this contemporary urban update of the family-centered novel.—Eva Thaler-Sroussi, Glencoe Public Library, IL
★ "Few [families] in children’s literature are as engaging or amusing as the Vanderbeekers." —Booklist, starred review
"...[Karina Yan Glaser’s] contemporary family narrative preserves the winsome tone and innocence of the aforementioned classics while updating them with a rich, modern diversity of characters, settings and problems....Glaser’s warmhearted story highlights a cold truth: What is often missing in the busy lives of today’s plugged-in, checked-out families is a sense of community. In the vast village of New York City, she suggests, what it takes to raise a child can still be found on one square block." —The New York Times Book Review
"A heartwarming story about family and community that will appeal to readers who also enjoy an old-fashioned feel." —Kirkus
"With rich dialogue and detailed descriptions of the neighborhood, the text provides a humorous and heartwarming story about siblings uniting to save their home. Through the Vanderbeekers, Glaser provides a portrait of the splendors of Harlem and the sense of community that can be built among neighbors of all backgrounds. . . This will draw fans of rollicking family stories, and while it’s centered on Christmas, it would be enjoyable any time of the year." —Bulletin
". . . Uplifting. . . Readers who enjoy a cheery story that’s simultaneously old-fashioned and of the moment in its sensibility will enjoy this introduction to the Vanderbeekers and look forward to their future adventures." —Publishers Weekly
"Glaser’s third-person narration weaves individual characters’ plot threads and a palpable sense of place through the larger family story in the tradition of Jeanne Birdsall, Sydney Taylor, Elizabeth Enright, and Hilary McKay." —Horn Book
“The Vanderbeekers join the Melendys, the Cassons, and the ‘All of a Kind’ Family on my list of favorite book-families. I’m in love with every single Vanderbeeker! Their story is utterly enchanting: I did not want it to end. More, please?”
—Linda Sue Park, Newbery medalist
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Thank you, Karina Yan Glaser
When the Vanderbeekers receive notice that they have to move out of their beloved New York apartment right after Christmas, the children take action. They decide to befriend the mysterious and curmudgeonly landlord, Mr. Beiderman, in hopes of inspiring him with a change of heart.
What I loved so much about this story is the sense of community that is tangible. Everyone wants to live in a neighborhood like this one. But even more, it is the reminder that streets like 141st Street don't just happen. It takes action. It takes looking beyond first appearances. And it takes loving people who might truly seem unlovable. Our world could use a few more stories like this one.
I read this book over my winter break, and it was absolutely the perfect timing. Karina Yan Glaser’s novel, The Vanderbeekrs of 141st Street, takes place entirely during the week before Christmas. You feel the gearing up for the holidays taking place in the setting of this story, especially the nostalgia that we all feel for our childhood homes during the holidays. The nostalgia runs deep for the Vanderbeeker children, and now that is all suddenly at risk to be coming to an end.
The Vanderbeekers are losing their family home, or the bottom floor of their apartment building. They have just been given notice that their landlord, the old, grumpy Mr. Biederman, has refused to allow the Vanderbeekers the opportunity to renew their lease. The Vanderbeeker children are devastated at the thought of leaving their Harlem neighborhood, and they hatch a plan to convince grumpy Mr. Biederman to let their family stay.
All five of the Vanderbeeker children join forces and add their individual spins, talents, and personalities to the efforts to win over Mr. Biederman. Naturally, things go all wrong for the children, and their sweet efforts to help save their home may actually be adding fuel to Mr. Biederman’s desire to have them gone for good. However, like true holiday books, the spirit of home, holidays, and families may just prevail in the long run.