Lily's Crossing (Newbery Honor Book)

by Patricia Reilly Giff

Hardcover, 1997



Local notes

Fic Gif




Delacorte Books for Young Readers (1997), 182 pages


During a summer spent at Rockaway Beach in 1944, Lily's friendship with a young Hungarian refugee causes her to see the war and her own world differently.


Nebraska Golden Sower Award (Nominee — 2000)
Boston Globe–Horn Book Award (Honor — Fiction — 1997)
Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2000)
Audie Award (Finalist — Children's — 1999)
Sequoyah Book Award (Nominee — Children's — 2000)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — 1999)
Sasquatch Book Award (Nominee — 2000)
Cardinal Cup (Honor — 1998)
Newbery Medal (Honor Book — 1998)
Nēnē Award (Nominee — 2001, 2002)
Golden Archer Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2000)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

182 p.; 5.92 inches

Media reviews

Hazel Rochman (Booklist, February 1, 1997 (Vol. 93, No. 11)) With wry comedy and intense feeling, and without intrusive historical detail, Giff gets across a strong sense of what it was like on the home front during World War II. Lily makes up stories about her involvement with spies, submarines,
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and anti-Nazi plots in her small seaside town in 1944, but underlying her melodrama and lies is grief for her dead mother. When Lily's father has to leave to fight in France, she is so hurt and furious that she refuses even to say good-bye to him. As she gets to know Albert, an orphaned Hungarian refugee, she learns about his secret anguish: he is guilt-stricken about the younger sister he left behind (he, also, didn't say good-bye), and he is determined, somehow, to cross the ocean and find her. The happy ending, when Lily's father finds Albert's sister in France, is too contrived, but the reunion scenes at home are heartbreaking. The friendship story is beautifully drawn: both Lily and Albert are wary, reluctant, and needy; they quarrel as much as they bond, and in the end, they help each other to be brave. Category: Middle Readers. 1997, Delacorte, $14.95. Gr. 5-8.
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Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1997
CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1997) Although Lily generally looks forward to spending the summer at her family's vacation home in Rockaway, the summer of 1944 is different. For one thing, her best friend Margaret has moved away for the summer and, for another, her father has
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gone to fight in the War. Left with just her stern grandmother for company, lonely Lily tries to make friends with the only person close to her own age: Albert, a Hungarian refugee spending the summer in Rockaway. Lily initiates the friendship with a lie by telling Albert she is planning to swim to a ship that will take her to Europe so that she can find her father. She promises Albert that he can join her. As their friendship grows throughout the summer, so, too, does the lie and Lily simply doesn't know how to stop it before it leads to tragedy. Details of time and place are skillfully interwoven into a story that features well-rounded, believable characters. Throughout, Giff provides plenty of dramatic tension by contrasting Lily's private thoughts with her public actions, until she is ultimately able to merge the two in Lily's powerful crossing into adolescence. CCBC categories: Fiction for Children; Historical People, Places and Events. 1997, Delacorte, 180 pages, $14.95. Ages 9-14.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member Whisper1
Lily loves to lie. The lies flow fast and easy. Each time she vows not to lie, another one slides right on out of her mouth. Lily just cannot help herself.

The setting is Rockaway, NJ where Lily, her grandmother and father spend idyllic summers. But the summer of 1944 is different and lives are
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changed because of WWII. Lily's best friend moves to Detroit where her father can build bombs, the seaside boardwalk is empty and Lily's father is going oversees to fight in the war.

Having lost a mother in childhood, Lily knows the fear of abandonment and loneliness. When a young Hungarian refugee arrives, Lily learns the unspeakable things Albert experienced in losing his family during Nazi occupation.

Slipping into her habit of pathological lying seems harmless until one places Albert's life in jeopardy.

This 1998 Newbery Honor book is highly recommended. The themes of loss, grief, friendship, the impact of war and the repercussions of actions are all packed into a mere 180 pages.
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LibraryThing member jkennedybalto
In limited point-of-view third person, but protagonist Lily comes through as clearly as in first person. Giff shows excellent craft that helps young readers: simple sentences, short paragraphs, no lapses into adult complexity. Lily is wonderfully alive, steadily more aware of her flaws, sensitive,
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and bratty. She slowly discovers adults are sensitive people too, and she is keenly heroic when someone in need appears on the scene. Context is key: It's 1944 and EVERYONE'S life is affected deeply and daily by the war, even in east coast America where bombs aren't dropping. I love the author afterward note. She appears to want to explain why she wrote this "serious" book, since her readership was used to something else.
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LibraryThing member brittgeorge
Lily’s Crossing is a story about a young girl and a young boy that are brought together in World War II. It is a story about friendship, secrets and lies, all of which are life threatening things during this time. Lily is left alone when her best friend Margaret moves away and her father goes
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overseas to fight in the war. That is until Albert, a refugee from Hungary, arrives. Lily and Albert go on a journey together to find their loved ones, and a lie tears them apart.

This book tests the boundaries of trust and the meaning of friendship. It shows how far a lie and secret can take someone, and how a bond between two people can grow so quickly. It describes a multicultural friendship between these two young kids, both of whom are on a similar journey, helping and betraying one another, and learning important life lessons on the way.
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LibraryThing member DuffieJ
Lily's Crossing, by Patricia Reilly Giff was originally published in 1997. It tells the story of a memorable summer at Rockaway beach after her father has gone to Europe as an army engineer during World War II. She meets a Hungarian boy, Albert, who has escaped from Europe and is staying with
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extended family in America. The two strike up an easy friendship after various fits and starts and bond over their similar situation: missing loved ones because of the war. The story centers on quirky Lily's interactions with the quiet, serious Albert. They rescue a cat, and contemplate swimming out to a boat headed to Europe (an outrageous lie invented by Lily) so that they can reunite with members of their family. The action heats up in the climax when Lily makes a daring attempt to rescue Albert when he does somethign very dangerous based on a lie told to him by Lily.
The book has an emotional weight despite the recommended age range: late elementary school/early middle students. There is humor as well as a deep sadness running throughout the book. Grief at missing a loved one and the joy of making new friends mingle in this excellent piece of historical fiction. This book could be used along with a study into the plight of Jews durning WWII as well as general history abotu the war and the time period surrounding it. A fantastic, poignant book!
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LibraryThing member rvolenti
I "read" this book during my long runs, so it took a while to finish it since I read it off and on. I finally finished, and I loved it. It was sweet, heartwarming, suspenseful, and fun. Giff did a great job of making the characters come alive, especially Lilly, and the historical details give
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credence to the work. It is a great book for pleasure reading or for use in a classroom.
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LibraryThing member mlboliver
"Lily's Crossing" by Partricia Reilly Giff is a story about a little twelve year old girl that spends every summer in Rockaway, but this sommer is differnt because Lily's father has been sent to war, the year is 1944. Also, Lily's best friend in Rockaway has left because of the war leaving her to
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have a no one in Rockaway. While living in with her grandmother on the beach, her grandmother's friend that lives down the street who has a family of Hungarian refugees. There is a boy Lily's age, but she doesnt seem to like him until they find a stray kitten and begin to take care of the cat together. Both of them find themselves wanting to find their loved ones and Lily convinces Albert to get in a boat and go forth during the war. Albert almost drowns and Lily realizes that her lies and leading Albert on could have cost him his life.

This particular book made me feel for those children who have to undure while their loved ones are away at war. Lily would wait to her from her father daily, and what is sad is the only means of communication back then was letter writting. Also, there is a lesson to be learned here. Friendships can bloom when one least expects it and friendshi is very important. Moreover, lying can have dangerous conscequences.

This book could be used as a book that could help children relate to what life is like when a parent or loved one is off to war.
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LibraryThing member bcowie
Lily always spends the summer in Rockaway with her father and her grandmother. Lily's father, however, enlists in the Army as an engineer and goes to Europe during World War II. While in Rockaway, Lily meets Albert, a Hungarian refugee. Together, Lily and Albert become friends and help each other
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through their pain.

I enjoyed this book, but not as much as others I have read about this time period. Lily was realistic, but not entirely relatable. Perhaps I'm too old, but I thought that she came across as a brat rather than a hurt little girl.
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LibraryThing member KWROLSEN
I enjoyed this book. It was a quick read with enough action to keep my attention. The short chapters and paragraphs would help reluctant readers read this book through to completion. I wasn't the biggest fan of Lily, the protagonist, but I'm sure her feelings of loss were similar to the feelings of
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many children that lived during WWII.
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LibraryThing member JanaRose1
Set during World War II, Lily, her father and grandmother leave New York City for their summer home in the Rockaways. A few days after arriving, Lily’s Dad tells her that he has enlisted in the army and is leaving the next morning. Lily faces the prospect of a lonely summer, until Albert, a
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Hungarian refugee, moves in next door. The two children rescue a kitten from the sea and Lily teaches Albert how to swim.

Ultimately the book is about friendship through good and bad times. A bit-slow paced, I had trouble getting into the story. I thought the children appeared extremely young for their age and the times. Overall, I was a bit disappointed and would only rate this book a three out of five.
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LibraryThing member juliehrbacek
Lily, her widowed father and grandmother have gone to spend the summer at Gram's house at the beach for as long as she can remember. She's had the run of the town and the same good friend for almost as long. In the summer of 1944, WWII has changed everyone's lives, yet Lily has hardly noticed. She
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feels the first effects when her friend Margaret learns her brother is MIA and her family has moved away. Lily finds herself without a best friend until a skinny little boy from Hungary shows up to live with his distant relatives. He has managed to be smuggled out of his country to the safety of the U.S. after his parents are both killed. Albert and Lily begin a special friendship that lasts all summer. When Lily's own father has to go the war-torn area as an engineer, they both dream of going overseas to find what little family each of them has. Their big plans are bolstered by lies told by each of them, and lost when each has to confess their own truths. As true best friends, Lily and Albert share their deepest secrets and solidify their relationship. As the summer ends, they go their separate ways, missing each other and fearing they will never see each other again. When the war is over, Lily's father brings news of Albert's happy ending with him from Paris. Will she ever be able to share her own happy ending with her very best friend?

This book could be read during the study of World War II, tying in the setting and events of the book with the facts from the war.
It would be interesting to compare the life that Lily led to the lives children lead today. I would be a great writing assignment to compare seeing WWII through Lily's and Albert's eyes, with the affects that children today feel from war.
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LibraryThing member rbelknap
This book is a good example of a historical fiction novel because it takes place in a historic time and place but the characters and their specific stories are fictional. It followed the criteria of a historical fiction but overall I thought the book was a little slow.
This novel is about Lily a ten
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year old girl from New York City who is spending her summer vaction with her grandma because her father is away in France fighting in the war. While she is vactionaing by the ocean with her grandma Lily meets Albert. Albert is from Hungrey where his parents were shot by Hitler's forces.
Age Appropriateness: Late Intermediate, Middle
Media: None
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LibraryThing member sharletkanehl
In 1944, World War II is taking place and Lily Mollahan is spending another summer at her Gram’s summer house in Rockaway. Lily’s father, Poppy, and her summer friend Margaret Dillon are both going away because of the war. Lily’s life is about to change forever with the help of an
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orange cat, a boy named Albert, World War II, and a lie. “Lily’s Crossing,” is a story about family, hope, love, and how a friendship can blossom even in times of war.
Personal Reaction:
I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but this book made me cry. The whole story was so touching and realistic that I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. I really enjoyed reading every page of this book.
Extension Ideas:
1. This book would be a great tool to help explain WWII to my students. I can explain the events that took place and using a worksheet my students could put each one of the events in sequential order.
2. In the classroom, I can show my students pictures and maps that feature the places that were mentioned in the book. They can draw pictures of what they would look like if they were in each one of the places on the map.
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LibraryThing member kathy8997
This is a story about Lilly who lives in NYC, and vacations on the ocean with her grandmother during World War II. Lilly's father is an engineer, and goes to war in France. Lilly's best friend during the summer moves away to Detroit. Lilly befriends a young boy who has escaped from Hungary. His
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parents are assumed dead--they were revolutionaries and printed newspapers opposing the Nazis. The boy (Albert) doesn't know if his sister survived. He left her in France. Lilly and Albert save a drowning kitten. That's where their friendship begins. Albert wants to get back to France to rescue his sister. Lilly tries to help him.
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LibraryThing member kelseymajor
Lily, an eleven-year-old girl with a life full of happiness, is living through the tough times of World War II. Her father has to move away to help strengthen America in the war. Every summer Lily goes to the beach with her friends but not the summer that her father leaves. Lily's best friend has
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to go away with her family because her family has to help out with the war. Just when Lily thinks that her life is ruined, she suddenly meets a boy named Albert.
 This book shows how important friendship can be. Lily is an amazing girl who shares her wonderful world with everyone. Her story can help many people during rough times with because she teaches people to never give up. When Lily realizes that her best friend must move away, she feels miserable. The war helps Lily grow closer to her friends and family during difficult times
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LibraryThing member ashoemak
World War II changes Lily’s life the summer of 1944; her father is sent to Germany, her best friend moves away, and Lily is left to spend her summer without them. While dealing with the loss of her father and friend, Lily finds solace in an unlikely friend, Albert a refugee from Hungary. Together
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they deal with their losses and fears and in the process form a bond that lasts a lifetime.
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LibraryThing member GlitteratureGeek
This was one of my childhood favorites. Lilly's Crossing provides a young girl's perspective of WW II--making it a nice leisure read for kids studying or interested in learning more about WW II. The story and character dialogue is entertaining, yet informative and educational.
LibraryThing member OliviaGarcia
Nice book about friendship.
LibraryThing member Nancy.Castaldo
Beautiful, timeless story of friendship!
LibraryThing member Climbing-books
Good chapter book to include in a lesson on World War II. Provides different perspective from what students are used to seeing/reading about.
LibraryThing member tarallen14
this book hasa point of view of a lonely child (girl) during world war 2 who has to find a friend and get thru the summer in her beach house with her very grumpy grandmother
LibraryThing member pennykaplan
Young Lily, mother less and her father drafted to serve in World War II, spends the summer before sixth grade with her grandmother in Rockaway. An independent spirit she comes to terms with her lying and finds a good friend in a Hungarian refugee boy. Good sense of time and place.
LibraryThing member kathleenandrews
Story of a motherless young girl (companion story to Willow Run) during WWII whose father heads off to war. Lily must remain behind with her grandmother and endure the summer (even her best friend has left town for the summer). Lily makes a new friend and demonstrates courage and integrity.
LibraryThing member fingerpost
Lily goes with her father and grandmother to their annual summer home at the coast, but World War II is raging and Lily quickly sees that this summer will not be like those in the past. Her father, an engineer, heads to Europe to help with the recovery after the Allies reconquer France. Her one
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friend at the summer home leaves early on. She is left looking forward to a boring summer with her irritating grandmother and no friends.
But then Albert shows up. Reluctant at first to befriend this odd boy, who is a refugee from Hungary, they soon become good friends. The only problem is Lily's habit of lying to have something interesting to say. She tells Albert that they can row a boat out to a troop ship, climb aboard, and get to Europe to find her father and his sister.
A nice story of a friendship that develops during difficult times under strained circumstances.
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½ (205 ratings; 3.8)
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