Today’s book was easy to select because this entire column is dedicated to American Girl novels. Growing up, I never quite understood why so many girls were obsessed with these dolls, but I always found myself drawn to Kit, the short-haired blonde who seemed to have a spunky personality. I thought it would appropriate for me to learn more about who Kit really is by choosing Meet Kit as my book for this column.
Kit Kittredge is a tomboy. She likes playing baseball, writing newspaper stories on her typewriter, and loves the story of Robin Hood. She lives with her ideal family during the time of the Great Depression. Her family hasn’t really been affected by all the changes the Depression caused, but when one of the members of her mother’s garden club is no longer able to afford to stay in their home, Kit’s mother offers to let them stay with the Kittredge family. Kit must now adjust to having two new members of the household, including sickly Stirling. Halfway through the book, her father looses his job as a car salesman, and Kit’s family must adjust to the changes and figure out how to make money when there are no jobs.
This book is a great starting point for entering the historical fiction genre for 2-5th graders. The story itself is well-written and I loved that they included pictures in the margins to show objects that children may be unfamiliar with, such as when phlox flowers are mentioned. The book also includes an informational section in the back of the book to provide additional facts about the time period, which would be perfect to use as discussion at home and in the classroom.
My only gripe about this story is that I’m not sure it does justice to what families faced during this time period. The Great Depression was a difficult experience to live through, many people were homeless and went hungry. This book briefly touches on these issues, but Kit probably will not be experiencing them herself any time soon. The biggest problem Kit seems to face in the book is that she has to move into the attic to make room for strangers to live in her room.