March 20


Lily’s Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff Reviewed By Suzanne Gibbs

What an incredible story this is, written by Patricia Reilly Giff. Having seen a plethora of books written by her for younger readers, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. However, with that shiny sticker on it I was pretty sure it was safe!

We get to know Lily initially as a spunky girl who is not afraid to disobey and sneak around, although her grandmother diligently attempts to keep her in line.  She’s precocious and loves spending lazy summers at her grandmother’s house on the ocean. She is especially adept at anything having to do with water and lying – about anything. Much of her summer life has been spent with her best friend, Margaret, but because of World War II, Margaret’s family must move to Detroit where her father will go to work for a company that builds equipment for the war. Lily’s mother had died years before, and her father joins the military, leaving Lily in the company of Albert, who is serious and annoys Lily to no end. Albert is staying with another family on the island, and Lily tries her best to not like him.

Patricia Reilly Giff tells this story beautifully, weaving in details about how families had to make adjustments due to the wartime situation in such a way that the reader is pulled in completely. I found myself empathizing easily with that generation and appreciating the sacrifices they made in order to rid the world of many atrocities.

I loved the way Lily grew throughout the story, especially through the losses of old relationships and new ones that came to be, naturally unfolding much like they do in our own lives. She struggled – and grew – in her outlook on life and in her relationships. Patricia created genuine people with real problems and answers that were not always black and white. I found myself wishing for a sequel. I want to keep up with Lily.

Thankful to my Nerdy friends for also recommending Ms. Giff’s equally beautiful story,Pictures of Hollis Woods, I couldn’t go to sleep last night until I had read the final page. I now have not one, but two unforgettable stories to share with my students!

Suzanne is a fourth grade teacher at Warner Elementary in Michigan. She has a wonderful, supportive husband, two beautiful daughters, and the best dog in the world. You can find her @Suz_Gibbs and at