The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

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It’s five days before Christmas and the Vanderbeeker children — Isa, Jessie, Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney — should be dreaming about sugar plums and presents. But when Mr. Beiderman, their seriously unpleasant landlord and third floor neighbor, says they need to leave their brownstone apartment by New Year’s, there are suddenly more pressing worries. And the Vanderbeekers aren’t the kind of kids who will sit by sucking candy canes while some grouchy old man kicks them out of the home and Harlem neighborhood they love. 

While their parents bring out the packing boxes and talk about moving to the suburbs, the kids know there must be another way — convincing their landlord to let them stay. They try everything they can think of. Breakfast delivered to his door. Handmade gifts. Blackmail. But it’s harder than they thought to win him over, and there are other distractions, too. Isa and Jessie, twelve year old twins, get into a monumental fight. Oliver, age nine and the only boy, pens and sends a letter so rude even he’s ashamed. Hyacinth, six years old and the nicest person in the world, steals a kitten. And Laney, four and three-quarters years old, keeps disappearing to the second floor with her pet bunny and handfuls of cilantro.

The day of the move approaches, and packing boxes start crowding them out of the house. The kids know they need to pull it together for Operation Beiderman, and there’s nothing they won’t do to convince their grump of a landlord to like them. It’s an operation that has to succeed.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street is a contemporary middle grade novel with an old school vibe. A sequel is scheduled for 2018.

Reviews:

★ "Glaser’s love for the Vanderbeekers shines through in her prose and stick drawings. Readers will look forward to future adventures. A highly recommended purchase for all middle grade collections." - School Library Journal, starred review

★ "Few [families] in children’s literature are as engaging or amusing as the Vanderbeekers." - Booklist, starred review

". . . 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." - Publisher's Weekly

"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 of the Center for Children's Books

"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, SydneyTaylor, Elizabeth Enright, and Hilary McKay." - The Horn Book

 

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden, coming in Fall 2018!

 

Third installment of The Vanderbeekers series, coming 2019!