The Peach Pit Parade: A World War I Story (Tales of Young Americans)

by Shana Keller (Author) Margeaux Lucas (Illustrator)

The Peach Pit Parade: A World War I Story (Tales of Young Americans)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

When Polly's father goes overseas to fight in World War I, her whole world changes. Though the war is in Europe, its effects are felt on American soil.

There are food, fuel, and other supply shortages everywhere. Even something as simple and enjoyable as a family Sunday car ride isn't possible anymore. Everyone must do their part to help the war effort. Victory gardens are planted and scrap metal is collected. "It's the biggest event in our history. And it involves every single adult, every single boy, and every single girl," says Polly's teacher. As Polly struggles to make sense of the war, she wonders how she can contribute. When the government puts out a notice requesting peach pits to be used in gas mask filters, Polly knows how she can help.

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Kirkus Reviews

 Lucas' bright illustrations depict loving middle-class Black families, a Black Scout troop, and a mostly Black community all eager to do their patriotic best for their country. While children of all races can imagine themselves taking on a similar role, Black children will see themselves as important agents of history.

Publishers Weekly

When Polly's father goes to fight in WWI, the African American child wonders what she can do to help. After Polly's teacher tells the class about chemical warfare and the need for peach pits to make charcoal filters for gas masks, Polly has the idea to organize a parade among her Black-presenting community to collect peach pits for the troops, and the result is a success. Bookended by historical photos of pit mounds, Lucas's largely domestic illustrations include a basic gas mask graphic. Their age-appropriate realism echoes Keller's matter-of-fact storytelling, which balances Polly's fictional experiences with historical facts. Info about the science behind charcoal gas masks, an author's note about segregation, and the story's basis in history help make this a unique introduction to the Great War and related scarcity measures. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 7-8. (Apr.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Sleeping Bear Press
Publication date
April 15, 2022
Tales of Young Americans
BISAC categories
JUV016080 - Juvenile Fiction | Historical | Military & Wars
JUV039140 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JUV016150 - Juvenile Fiction | Historical | United States - 20th Century
JUV014000 - Juvenile Fiction | Girls & Women
Library of Congress categories
United States
Historical fiction
World War, 1914-1918
Gas masks
Chemical warfare

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