A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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“I didn’t want to be angry but sometimes it was the only emotion I understood. I missed my father singing to me at bedtime and the earthy smell of his coat before he left for work each morning. Sometimes, he snuck a kiss from my mother when he thought no one was looking and it always made me giggle. I even missed Dominic. The way he used to tease me and hide my dolls and jump out from behind corners to scare me – those were good memories now.”

Nielsen, Jennifer A. A Night DividedScholastic Press. 2015. 317 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-0-545-68242-8

What would you do if you woke up one morning and found a fence dividing your country? That’s exactly what happened to Gerta. The East German government built a fence in the night to divide East Germany from West Germany. If that wasn’t bad enough, Gerta’s dad and brother Dominic were in West Germany looking for an apartment and a job so that the family could move. Now, they can’t get in and Gerta, her mom and brother, Fritz, can’t get out. Fast forward four years.  Times are not good. There is a food shortage. The Stasi, a secret police force, have bugged Greta’s house and have files on her and Fritz. Fritz is going to be forced to join the military. But what can they do? Those who have attempted to cross the fence have died trying. One day, Greta spots her brother, Dominic on a viewing platform on the other side of the fence. Later her father appears. He’s acting out a song he used to sing to her when she was young. He is emphasizing the digging part. What is he trying to tell her? Will this be the answer Greta and her family have been looking for? Read to find out. I think you will like this book. I did!


Link to WorldCat .org listing 

Link to Amazon.com listing (Available in Hardcover, paperback, Kindle and Audible)

Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

Jennifer Nielsen’s Website


  • 2016-17 Tome Society List
  • Top 2015 Mighty Girl Books for Teen and Tweens List
  • 2015 AML Finalist
  • 2015 double Whitney Award winner for Best Middle Grade book and for Best Overall Youth Novel.
  • State List nominations: California Young Readers Award (17-18); Illinois Rebecca Caudil Award (17-18); Maine Student Book Award (16-17); Maryland Black-eyed Susan Book Award (17-18); Missouri Truman Award (17-18); Nebraska Golden Sower Award (17-18); New Hampshire Great Stone Face Award (16-17); Oregon Battle of the Books (16-17); Texas Lone Star (16-17); *South Dakota Young Adult Readers Award (16-17); *Utah Beehive Book Award (16-17); Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award (16-17); Middle School Virginia Readers Choice (17-18); *Wyoming Indian paintbrush Award (16-17) *Winner
  • 2016 ILA-CBC Children’s Choices List

When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin




“You’d have to be nuts to trust a magician. I learned that lesson the hard way. And then, if you can believe it, I actually became a magician’s assistant. That part was the Rainbow Girl’s fault, but the rest of it I blame on a little dog named Flip.

Griffin, Paul. When Friendship Followed Me Home.  Dial, 2016. 247 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-0-8037-3816-4

I loved this story – for a lot of reasons. First, it had a dog in it. I absolutely adore dogs and Flip is special. He can listen when kids read books to him – and he actually looks interested. Second, the story shows that when bad things happen, you can still survive, that there are always options. A good attitude goes a long way to help. Third, it made me laugh out loud. Ben Coffin is one funny guy and his friend Halley (like the comet) is equally entertaining. Ben and Halley are the kind of people who keep a positive attitude even when things aren’t looking so good. Another reason I love this book, one of the good guys in the story is a librarian who keeps homemade chocolate chip cookies on her desk and she’s pretty cool. I’m a librarian and I love cookies so I have lot in common with her. Plus, she’s Halley’s mom and I’m a mom so I can relate. Most likely, if you’re reading this, you’re a kid, and I think you just might relate to Ben and Halley and all that they are experiencing. This book will make you laugh and it will make you cry. I highly recommend it. If you want to know more, watch the book trailer below created by Heartland Media Center. They did a great job book talking this book. Enjoy!

Want to watch a book trailer for When Friendship Followed Me Home?

Link to Amazon.com (available in Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle versions, and Audible)

Link to Worldcat.org

 Paul Griffin





© Chris Peeler 2013