Michigan In Books reviews The Sideroad kids

The SideRoad Kids: Tales from Chippewa County by Sharon M. Kennedy

Review by Tom Powers, Michigan In Books

This fine collection of short stories focuses on a group of 6th grade friends in the 1950s living near Brimley, in the U.P. I was a kid in Flint in the 1950s, and if I had read stories like these when a 5th- or 6th-grader I would have been taken aback by the differences in these U.P. kids’ lives and mine. Most of the stories are evocative slice-of-life pieces, some are humorous, and quite a few serious and thought provoking. The stories are honest, believable, sometimes painful, and all capture time, place, and culture with near perfection.  A clutch of well-defined, likeable and interesting 6th-grade characters reappear throughout the stories and bind the book together as a whole.

In one of the stories that moved me the most a 6th grade boy faces life with crossed eyes, an alcoholic mother, and a father who deserted his family. Yet the kid is optimistic and considers himself good looking. In another story I may never forget a girl who wrote a story for English class in which she imagines God as Jackie Gleason who with his fist closed and fury in his face threatens to send Alice to the moon. When Daisy asks if she can read it in class the teacher, without looking at it, throws the story in the waste basket.  It was a stunning realization that one of the most popular comedy shows on TV in the Fifties repeatedly made a joke out of the threat of physical spousal abuse. I can’t stop wondering how women who were being physically abused thought of those scenes and the audience laughter that followed.

If I don’t know how upper elementary children will react to the book, I do know adults will find it find it enjoyable and a fascinating depiction of children facing life in the Fifties.

The SideRoad Kids-Book 2

A Summer of Discovery
In stock
Product Details
UPC: 978-1-61599-771-8
Brand: Modern History Press
Binding: Paperback
Audiobook: Audible, iTunes
Edition: 1st
Author: Sharon M. Kennedy
Pages: 186
Publication Date: 10/01/2023

The SideRoad Kids Book 2: A Summer of Discovery takes place throughout the summer of 1958 in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Readers familiar with The SideRoad Kids: Tales from Chippewa County will be reacquainted with their favorite twelve-year-old characters and their discoveries. Blew learns who his father was. Flint discovers why Uncle Leo is mean. Shirley shares her fears with Katie. Elizabeth has a change of heart towards her step-brother, Ronnie. Squeaky falls in love. Fenders joins the Army. Candy makes Flint a promise she may not keep. Johnny's devotion to Katie increases, much to her delight or dismay. The SideRoad Kids have fun, but they also tackle serious issues and learn that adults do not always tell the truth.

"Kennedy's prose deftly straddles that age where kids are discovering things about the world. The SideRoad crew learns about all the things that are part of what 'being a grownup' is about, and Kennedy shares these stories in a way that kids and the adults they've now become can connect with." --Brad Gischia, U.P. Book Review

"The SideRoad Kids Book 2 is an engaging read that includes details that harken back to a life that included campfires, riding bikes or horses, working hard, girls baking cakes and people listening to Roy Rogers's songs. I highly recommend this as a teen, parent and grandparent read-together to spark family memory discussions." --Carolyn Wilhelm, Midwest Book Review"

"Once again, Kennedy whisks us into the rural past of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Each evocative story, complete in itself, is also linked to the whole through beautiful prose and memorable characters. The stories run from heartrending to hilarious. I felt as if I were visiting my own childhood - the secrets, joys, mysteries and problems." --Sue Harrison, national bestselling author of The Midwife's Touch

Learn more at AuthorSharonKennedy.com

Save this product for later


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.