Grape Thief

by Kristine L. Franklin and Paul Lee

Poverty and promise are at the core of this novel set in the Pacific Northwest in... read more

Poverty and promise are at the core of this novel set in the Pacific Northwest in 1925. Twelve-year-old Slava Petrovich knows how to cuss in every language he hears in Roslyn, Washington, where immigrants have settled from all over Europe. And while his “gift” has come in handy in the schoolyard, Slava hopes his talent for languages and learning will take him far. Slava loves school, and he can’t envision a life working in the coal mines like most of the men—and many of the older boys—in his town. But Slava’s older brothers must leave town because of their connection to the accidental death of a gang member involved in bootlegging. Without their financial support, Slava, his mother, and younger brother can barely get by. Slava’s dreams of staying in school begin to fade, until the intervention of a priest with a gift for delivering charity hand-in-hand with dignity. Kristin Franklin based this novel in part on her own Croatian American family history. Her richly detailed writing creates a vivid portrait of an immigrant family where old country traditions are honored but also adapted to meet unexpected challenges and changes. (Ages 10–14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2004

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