The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

Author: Karina Yan Glaser
Reading Level: Ages 9-12

The novel follows the five Vanderbeeker children in the weeks leading up to the New Year. Their landlord has decided not to renew their lease, and they must now pack up their belongings during the holiday season, and move out of their beloved home. Well the Vanderbeekers are determined to succeed where their parents have failed — convincing their scary landlord to let them stay!

Why I liked it:

This novel has adventure, camaraderie, and mystery. It’s set over the holiday season, so the spirit of giving is prominent, as is neighbourly love. The idea of a neighbourhood where all your friends live down the street from you, and where both adults and children recognize you at your neighbourhood haunts appealed to me a lot. I think this novel has a lot of offer to a young reader, especially as the Vanderbeeker children between the ages of 4-12. Each child has strengths and weaknesses, and they work together to achieve their goals. To showcase individuality so successfully in such a short novel, getting readers to feel the joy and sorrow the children feel, is incredible and the author should be very proud.

Glaser has published two subsequent novels on the Vanderbeeker family — The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden (2018) and The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue (2019).