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Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story



by
Deborah Hopkinson
illustrated by
Steven Guarnaccia

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Penguin
Imprint
Putnam’s
ISBN
9780399252419

Awards and Honors
Booklist Top 10 Books for Youth 2013: Crafts and Gardening
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None
$6.00   $5.00
SEE MEMBER PRICE
QTY
Out of stock

JLG Category

Easy Reading Plus

Mikey doesn’t want to knit socks for soldiers in the Great War—knitting is for girls! But when his girl classmates challenge him, he forms the Boys’ Knitting Brigade. Author’s note. Resources. Full-color illustrations created with pen and ink, and then painted with watercolors.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

32

Trim Size

8 1/2" x 11"

Dewey

E

AR

2.8: points 0.5

Lexile

570L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

2

JLG Release

Apr 2013

Book Genres


Topics

World War I (1914-1918). New York State. Knitting. Gender roles. New York City history, 1898-1951.

Standard MARC Records

Download Standard MARC Records

Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

When his father leaves for World War I, Mikey wants to do something big to help. His teacher tells the class about a Knitting Bee in Central Park where volunteers will make hats, scarves, and socks to send to soldiers. At first Mikey dismisses the idea as too girly and too insignificant, but then pours his enthusiasm into the project when the effort becomes a competition between the girls and the boys. He becomes frustrated when he has trouble learning the stitches, but realizes that no contribution is too small when he meets a soldier who has lost a leg and gives him the one sock he has managed to finish. The story is a wonderful expression of emotions. Mikey’s face is determined and funny at the same time, and his perseverance and the positive attitudes shown by all the children are timely reminders about the satisfaction to be had in reaching beyond oneself. The old-fashioned look of the pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations is well suited to the narrative. The warmth and humor found in the pictures lighten the tone and keep the story from becoming too serious. Combine this book, Mac Barnett’s Extra Yarn (HarperCollins, 2012), and a fiber art project to make a thoughtful and cozy winter storytime session.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher’s School, Richmond, VA

Horn Book

Hopkinson provides readers with a glimpse into life on the World War I home front. When his father goes off to war, young Mikey wants to “do something big to help.” His mother and sister are knitting socks, hats, and mufflers for the troops, but when asked to join them Mikey proclaims: “No way! Boys don’t knit.” At school, Mikey’s teacher encourages all the students to participate in the Central Park Knitting Bee, and Mikey, spurred by the girls’ taunts (“I bet you’re scared you can’t learn”), enlists his fellow boys to take up the challenge. No, they don’t become world-class knitters; during the contest, Mikey knits his best sock ever but drops a stitch before completing its pair. He then meets a wounded warrior who has lost his left leg and who encourages Mikey to keep at it: “if we each do a little, it makes something big.” Clearly we have a recipient for Mikey’s single sock, but also a reminder of the real costs of war. The illustrations’ muted hues, heavy on olive and khaki, indicate times past, but Guarnaccia also capitalizes on white space, giving readers room to consider the times and themes presented here. Hopkinson’s appended author’s note provides more information about WWI and brings the war-relief effort into the twenty-first century, noting places that today accept knitted items for soldiers. betty carter

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

When his father leaves for World War I, Mikey wants to do something big to help. His teacher tells the class about a Knitting Bee in Central Park where volunteers will make hats, scarves, and socks to send to soldiers. At first Mikey dismisses the idea as too girly and too insignificant, but then pours his enthusiasm into the project when the effort becomes a competition between the girls and the boys. He becomes frustrated when he has trouble learning the stitches, but realizes that no contribution is too small when he meets a soldier who has lost a leg and gives him the one sock he has managed to finish. The story is a wonderful expression of emotions. Mikey’s face is determined and funny at the same time, and his perseverance and the positive attitudes shown by all the children are timely reminders about the satisfaction to be had in reaching beyond oneself. The old-fashioned look of the pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations is well suited to the narrative. The warmth and humor found in the pictures lighten the tone and keep the story from becoming too serious. Combine this book, Mac Barnett’s Extra Yarn (HarperCollins, 2012), and a fiber art project to make a thoughtful and cozy winter storytime session.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher’s School, Richmond, VA

Horn Book

Hopkinson provides readers with a glimpse into life on the World War I home front. When his father goes off to war, young Mikey wants to “do something big to help.” His mother and sister are knitting socks, hats, and mufflers for the troops, but when asked to join them Mikey proclaims: “No way! Boys don’t knit.” At school, Mikey’s teacher encourages all the students to participate in the Central Park Knitting Bee, and Mikey, spurred by the girls’ taunts (“I bet you’re scared you can’t learn”), enlists his fellow boys to take up the challenge. No, they don’t become world-class knitters; during the contest, Mikey knits his best sock ever but drops a stitch before completing its pair. He then meets a wounded warrior who has lost his left leg and who encourages Mikey to keep at it: “if we each do a little, it makes something big.” Clearly we have a recipient for Mikey’s single sock, but also a reminder of the real costs of war. The illustrations’ muted hues, heavy on olive and khaki, indicate times past, but Guarnaccia also capitalizes on white space, giving readers room to consider the times and themes presented here. Hopkinson’s appended author’s note provides more information about WWI and brings the war-relief effort into the twenty-first century, noting places that today accept knitted items for soldiers. betty carter

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