Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming

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Simple seeds of friendship grow into something extraordinary

After World War II there is little left in Katje's town of Olst in Holland. Her family, like most Dutch families, must patch their old worn clothing and go without everyday things like soap and milk. Then one spring morning when the tulips bloom "thick and bright," Postman Kleinhoonte pedals his bicycle down Katje's street to deliver a mysterious box – a box from America! Full of soap, socks, and chocolate, the box has been sent by Rosie, an American girl from Mayfield, Indiana. Her package is part of a goodwill effort to help the people of Europe. What's inside so delights Katje that she sends off a letter of thanks – beginning an exchange that swells with so many surprises that the girls, as well as their townspeople, will never be the same.

This inspiring story, with strikingly original art, is based on the author's mother's childhood and will show young readers that they, too, can make a difference. Boxes for Katje is a 2004 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

About Candace Fleming

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Candace Fleming is the author of Gabriella’s Song. She lives in Mount Prospect, Illinois.Stacey Dressen-McQueen lives in Portland, Oregon. This is her first book.
Published September 12, 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 36 pages
Genres: Travel, War, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A letter from Rosie is also in the box expressing her wish that “these gifts brighten your day.” A pen-pal exchange begins with Katje’s thank-you letter and gradually develops into an American small-town effort to donate basics to their European counterpart over the course of a year.

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Publishers Weekly

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Inspired by actual events, Fleming's (Ben Franklin's Almanac, reviewed below) engaging story of post-WWII Holland serves as a potent—and merry—lesson in generosity.

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