Author: Leigh Shearin
Publication Date: October 27, 2014
Recommended Ages: 9+
John Bloom and the Victory Garden is the rollicking tale of 3 boys at the dawn of America’s involvement in WWII. John Bloom, and his best friends Joe and Chewie live, play, and get into adventures in 1940’s era Appleside, NJ. Because children are generally joyful and tend to put more importance on the goings-on of their own worlds than those of grown-ups, the events of the war are woven into the boy’s daily lives. Along the way, a bitter and cynical old man is drawn into their hijinks, and contributes his own joy to the lives of these 3.
Chapter One invites the reader to join John and his friends in Appleside, NJ on the afternoon of December 6th, 1941. Through newspaper headlines and radio bulletins, the boys learn about the incredible events of the war- beginning with the attack on Hawaii by the Empire of Japan. As the story moves along, John and his friends learn that everyone- not just soldiers- can make a difference. They learn that commitment leads to ultimate success and that taking a seemingly insurmountable task one step at a time will make that task simple. John, Joe and Chewie learn about where their food comes from, and how important good food is to the Allies overseas.
John Bloom and the Victory Garden is not just a story of Homefront USA during WWII. Its about faith, endurance and sturdy values that transcend time and cultural differences. It’s about accepting tough times, struggle and adversity and overcoming them anyway. It’s about seeing the humor in life, and helping others to see the humor too.
But mostly, they just have a gut-busting great time!
I received a free ecopy of this book for an honest review.
John Bloom and the Victory Garden is historical fiction for children. It occurs in 1941-1942 right before and after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It explains how the United States got involved in World War II and how these events affected three 10 year old boys. Leigh Shearin also does a good job at depicting that era: listening to the radio in the evening, the typical foods people ate, most moms staying home to take care of their families, etc.
John, Joe, and Chewie are typical boys. John is the more responsible boy of the group and Joe is the most mischievous with Chewie somewhere in the middle.
John Bloom and the Victory Garden isn’t action packed but it is a good story and presents history in a way that children will enjoy reading about it. It also brings up issues such as men enlisting to fight in the war, some things people at home did to support the soldiers and the war, and how Jews, Germans, and Italians were put into camps for national security.
There is a map at the beginning of the book that shows the locations talked about. At the end of the book are recipes that were mentioned in the book. What fun it would be to cook some of the recipes that you just read about!
About the Author: Leigh Shearin
I earned a B.A. in Studio Art from Maryville College in Maryville, TN, and worked as a Graphic Artist and Photographer before earning my A.A.S in Culinary Art. I’ve worked as a Chef, Baker and Culinary Art Instructor. Most recently, my husband and I have bought rural land and are developing our own small, sustainable farm, Winter’Rest Farm in north Central New York. Through it all, I’ve written stories and poems, some published, some tucked away. The older I get, the more the stories stalk me, so I hope to move into full-time writing in the very near future.