This post probably contains spoilers
As the dePaola's listen, along with the whole country, to the radio announcer talking about the attack on Pearl Harbor, Tomie's mother says to her family, "Things will never be the same."
Unlike Things Will Never Be the Same, which covers a whole year, Book 6, I'm Still Scared, diary entries only cover one month, December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1941, but is is a powerful month for second grader Tomie. Not quite understanding what has happened and the implications of war, Tomie is a scared little boy and to make matters worse, no one really wants to explain what's going on to him. Luckily for him, after listening to Roosevelt's speech on the radio, the family go to visit Tomie's grandparents and his grandfather, Tom, takes some time he talk to him about his fears. But life had indeed changed. At school, there were air raid drills, and at home, an air raid shelter had to be created in the basement just in case. And Tomie had to contend with being called the ENEMY because of his Italian heritage. War was everywhere. Even at the movies showing a children's feature, the newsreels showed London in the Blitz, and Tomie realized it was the first time he had seen what war was like. At the end of December, young Tomie is still scared.
The 26 Fairmount Avenue series is an extraordinary group of chapter books recalling Tomie dePaola's early life living in Meridan, Connecticut. For the most part, they are a series of vignettes told in great detail and include whimsical illustrations by Tomie thoughout the books. Much of what Tomie writes is funny, charming, sad and so typical of kids that age. Though I haven't reviewed for first four books here, I would really recommend the whole series to anyone who is a Tomie dePaola fan. My only gripe is that we are left hanging about Buddy and the diary key.
And if you are a Tomie dePaola fan, be sure to read Lee Wind's interview with him:
Part 1 can be found here
Part 2 can be found here
Part 3 can be found here
These books are recommended for readers age 7+
Things Will Never Be the Same was borrowed from the Children's Center of the NYPL
I'm Still Scared was borrowed from the Yorkville Branch of the NYPL
Why? was borrowed from the Morningside Heights Branch of the NYPL
For the Duration was borrowed from the Bank Street College of Education Library
Nonfiction Monday is hosted this week by Tammy at Apples With Many Seeds