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Class set order code: 4894S
Eleven-year-old Eleanor has moved to Baltimore with her family so that her father can do work to help the Allies during World War I. Uprooted from her Indiana home, she finds herself navigating a new city, a new school, and an unexpected array of new friends. As the war drags on and the Spanish flu strikes, Eleanor discovers that the only thing that might be stronger than her loyalty to her country is the loyalty among her friends.
Eleven-year-old Eleanor and her family have moved to Baltimore so that her father can do work for the Allies against Germany during the Great War. Eleanor is thrust into a strange new city, and she is grateful when she meets and befriends the African American girl who cleans her apartment house. Maggie quickly becomes Eleanor’s closest confidant, and when Eleanor goes to school in the fall, she makes other good friends. Unfortunately, she also unwittingly makes some enemies as well.
Together, the friends do their best to navigate not just the perils of schoolyard bullies but also the frightening realities of the war, of news of family members never to return home again, of the deadly Spanish flu that’s sweeping the world, and of the injustices of the racial divides of 1918 Baltimore. They are bound by friendship and a sense of patriotism to do their part to help the world—whether the small one in their corner of Baltimore or the wider one that spans the globe—to become a place of justice and peace.
Author Robert Black created this novel out of his grandmother’s memories of growing up in wartime Baltimore, and he paints a visually vibrant canvas of the period. The characters are authentic and sincere, and the story accurately portrays several important events surrounding the final months of World War I, including an erroneous French report of armistice that spread worldwide over the wire services, leading to a jubilant celebration that was immediately followed by a crushing realization of the truth. The novel also delves into the terror caused by the 1918 influenza pandemic, which ultimately killed more people than the war did. Readers will appreciate young Eleanor’s efforts to be worthy in every way of the sacrifices that so many are making for her—and of the liberty that we all hold so dear.