Oscar’s American Dream – Barry Wittenstein, ilustrated by Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell

 Oscar’s American Dream – Barry Wittenstein, ilustrated by Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell, Schwartz & Wade Books, 9780525707691, 2020

Format: Hardcover 

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review)

 Genre: Historical Fiction 

 What did you like about the book? Books can serve two purposes for readers. They can either help you create an imaginative world or they can help you understand the world around you through history and stories. Oscar’s American Dream does both. It is a book of hope and community. Initially you think that you are going to read about Oscar Nowicki and his life story. However, it actually is more about the store and the role it played throughout history. Through the Great Depression, Women’s Suffrage Movement, Civil Rights and even a little modern day, the building has remained a fixture in the community. However, the building also tells the stories of women, men, families, black, white and Latinx. This story reminds us all that we are all connected in some way. The illustrations use vibrant colors to depict the fun times in history and use more muted and dark colors to depict the dark times i.e. Great Depression. The illustrator also drew and colored pictures with clothing and iconic cultural images of the different time frames the book explores. 

Anything you did not like about the book? No, this was a great book especially during a time in the U.S. when we are all trying to figure out who we are to each other. 

 To whom would you recommend this book? Children ages 7 – 11

Who should buy this book? Libraries and elementary schools 

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes 

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Rose Metayer, Boston Latin School, Boston 

Date of review:  10/23/2020

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