I'm happy to share another new release by Sleeping Bear Press, Summer of the Tree Army: A Civilian Conservation Corps Story written by Gloria Whelan (who is still publishing books at 97!) and illustrated by Kirbi Fagan.
This is a fictional account of a young boy, Charlie Brightelot, who encounters the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) building cabins in the woods near his Michigan home.
When he asks his parents about the cabins, his mother says they are young men who need jobs because of the depression. His father clearly states his disdain for the CCC. "From what I hear, all they do is eat three meals a day, sleep, and sit around."
Over the summer, Charlie found the young men planting trees in a place where "dead tress rose like skeletons" from a forest fire.
Charlie invites Luke to fish with him and a friendship blossoms. He brings Luke home for a home-cooked meal and although Mr. Brightelot isn't very welcoming, Charlie's mother knows a hungry boy when she meets one.
The next day, a forest fire breaks out nearby. Charlie's father decides to go help the "city boys" and although Charlie is warned not to follow, he's a boy. So, of course he hops a ride without his father's knowledge.
When they get there, the CCC men are in the middle of fighting the fire by digging trenches. By mid-afternoon the fire dies away.
Despite himself, Charlie's father has to admit, "Those CCC boys earned their keep. The folks around here owe them a huge thanks."
The story ends with Mr. Brightelot affirming Luke's work and a sweet statement about the boys' great summer.
This book takes place in a time when boys could spend hours in the woods; Kirbi Fagan's Norman Rockwell-like illustrations reflect that time period. Both the author and illustrator call Michigan home and the book, a part of the Tales of Young American series, reflect their love for the state. This book will be a fine elementary school resource for home and classroom libraries.
If you're interested in winning my copy of this book, please leave me a comment by 6 PM on May 7. Leave your email address if you are new to my blog. For additional chances, share this post on social media or start following my blog--just let me know which you do in the comments.
This looks like a great book. Thanks for the review, Carol.
You're welcome, Lois. And your name starts the giveaway list!
This loos like a wonderful book. I have two informational fiction WsIP and am always looking for great mentor texts for this approach to story telling. Thank you for bringing my attention to this story!
Thanks, Elizabeth. I'd like to enter your name but i need your email address to notify you in case you win!
I'd love to be entered to win this - thanks!
You're in, Susan!
Growing up in Michigan, I have enjoyed the good work of the CCC. I love Gloria Whelan's writing, and I look forward to reading this book! Thank you for blogging about it!
I've seen this book before and the topic is completely new to me. And it's set in my home state, so I really want to read it. Thank you for the chance to win a copy! I follow your blog and shared on tumblr: https://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/650352425115500544/summer-of-the-tree-army-a-picture-book-review-and
Thanks Danielle and Janel. Janel--I need your email address!
Johannah Luza. I love historical fiction! Have learned so much from reading children's books to my grandkids that are historical fiction. I get as much an education from the books as they do! Would love to read your book!
Not sure who this--please leave your email address in case you win.
I think Gloria Whelan is the greatest contributor to children's historical fiction. How exciting to hear that she has a new book.
Thank you, Tamera. I'm happy to add your name to the list. Thanks for leaving your email address too!
This is fantastic. As a history geek, this is a story that needs to be shared. I had an uncle who served out west and sent his money home.
Looks like a great book. I signed up for emails:)
I heard so much about the CCC as a child when we’d see their work in parks. I’d love to share this with my grandkids. Thanks for sharing Carol.
My grandfather worked with the CCC. I remember him mentioning it and wish I had asked him more questions. Glad I found your blog!
Gloria Whelan. How amazing! The book is beautiful and this bit of history is so fascinating!
I really like this book. It is an important story. Thanks for the post. I will pass on the giveaway. I have a copy.
Thanks, Joyce. Your name is in. "Unknown" you need to leave me your name and email address in order to enter this giveaway. I'm glad you found my blog too!
It sounds like a great book full of history and lots of learning about compassion. And the writer is remarkable to be still working at her love at 97.
I lived in Massachusetts next to a watershed built during this time. The water it protected fed Boston. I liked in New Salem, Massachusetts next to the Quabbin watershed. All their stone work is very evident. They dug and blasted granite that allowed the water to flow and be pristine for two hours before reaching the Boston area. Beautiful. The watershed area became a beautiful hiking spot for many to enjoy. Unfortunately, many lost their homes to this project during the depression. But the workers really earned their keep and blessed generations to come.
Thanks for your comment, Mountainbird. You sound as if you have an intimate acquaintance with the CCC. I'd love to include you in the giveaway but I need your email and name!
I'm always interested in great nonfiction books. This one looks like a winner! Great post! I shared it on Twitter.
Thanks for sharing on Twitter, Cathy. You're in twice!
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