Sunday, July 13, 2014


Amy Gordon
Holiday House
Ages 8 - 12

In this eloquent middle-grade novel, which takes place over the summer of 1965, thirteen-year-old Holly and her cousin Ivy accidentally discover family secrets no one has spoken of since World War II

Holly and Ivy have always been close, but this summer at the annual month-long reunion at the Greenwood family lake house the girls seem to be growing apart. Although they spend hours together painting an old row boat the colors of the rainbow, they don't talk about things that are important . . . until they begin to find letters and pictures relating to a Japanese boy named Kiyo. Uncovering the mystery of this ghostlike boy leads the girls to the many subjects no Greenwood adult will discuss, such as their Uncle Jesse's death during the war.

In this insightful and expressive novel about complicated family dynamics, two girls show their elders that with honesty, courage, and empathy, even old wounds can be healed.


Cousins Holly and Ivy spend every summer with their grandparents at Otter Lake in New Hampshire, but this year they make uncovering the mystery surrounding their uncle’s death during World War II and his connection to a Japanese boy named Kiyo a priority. Thanks to clues such as a journal and some letters, the girls break down painful barriers and misunderstandings that have divided their family for years.

Painting the Rainbow explores the fear and racist attitudes that resulted in thousands of Japanese Americans being incarcerated during World War II. Though a story about the dark side of our nation’s past, the issues are still, sadly, relevant today. Gordon masterfully weaves the story of Kiyo in 1943 with that of the Greenwood family in 1965. Part historical novel, part mystery, Painting the Rainbow is a touching tale of about standing up for what is right. A perfect summer read for any age.


Profanity:  None
Violence: Mild
Sexuality:  None

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