Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

A Novel

Karen Hesse; Illustrated by Chris Sheban

Feiwel & Friends




Karen Hesse has achieved many honors for her more than twenty books over the course of her award-winning career: the Newbery Medal, the Scott O'Dell Historical Fiction Award, the MacArthur Fellowship "Genius" Award, and the Christopher Medal. Her novels burn with intensity, and keenly felt, deeply researched, and are memorable for their imagination and intelligence.

So it is with great pride and excitement that we present Karen Hesse's first novel in over five years: Brooklyn Bridge.

It's the summer of 1903 in Brooklyn and all fourteen-year-old Joseph Michtom wants is to experience the thrill, the grandeur, and the electricity of the new amusement park at Coney Island. But that doesn't seem likely. Ever since his parents—Russian immigrants—invented the stuffed Teddy Bear five months ago, Joseph's life has turned upside down. No longer do the Michtom's gather family and friends around the kitchen table to talk. No longer is Joseph at leisure to play stickball with the guys. Now, Joseph works. And complains. And falls in love. And argues with Mama and Papa. And falls out of love. And hopes. Joseph hopes he'll see Coney Island soon. He hopes that everything will turn right-side up again. He hopes his luck hasn't run out—because you never know.

Through all the warmth, the sadness, the frustration, and the laughter of one big, colorful family, Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse builds a stunning story of the lucky, the unlucky, and those in between, and reminds us that our lives—all our lives—are fragile, precious, and connected.
Brooklyn Bridge is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Sydney Taylor Award, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, ALSC Notable Children's Recordings, Library Media Editor's Choice, AudioFile Best Audiobooks


Praise for Brooklyn Bridge

“This well-told tale--about a Jewish immigrant family in New York in the early 1900s--is fascinating and full of suspense.” —The Washington Post

“Alternating with this story line is a parallel narrative devoted to abandoned children who forge a life for themselves under the shelter of the Brooklyn Bridge. Readers will have a hard time putting down this compelling story.” —School Library Journal

“Inspired by facts surrounding the inventors of the teddy bear, Newbery Medalist Hesse (Out of the Dust) applies her gift for narrative voice to this memorable story set in 1903 Brooklyn.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The narrative includes tightly interwoven elements of multiple genres--adventure, romance, comedy, ghost story, and family drama--without ever compromising the authenticity of the plot or the characters.” —Horn Book

“Rooted in the Jewish immigrant experience in early-twentieth-century New York City, this story weaves together one boy's immediate personal narrative with a community's historical struggles….the plot reveals intricate connections, up to the very last chapter, that will make readers return to the beginning of this gripping story and see everything in a new way.” —Booklist

“It's such a relief to be able to count on an author time and time again.” —Elizabeth Bird, School Library Journal

“In this tale of Dickensian contrasts in kindness and cruelty, Brooklyn comes alive with the details of time and place, but it is the shadow of pain and transcendence cast symbolically by the bridge that haunts and compels. Another work of enduring excellence from Hesse.” —Kirkus, starred review

“Hesse is a masterful writer, of course, winner of the Newbery Medal for Out of the Dust, and she shows her enormous skill as the story unfolds in Brooklyn Bridge. I would imagine it will be seriously considered as part of the curriculum in middle schools throughout the greater New York region. As she has done so successfully in previous books, Hesse gathers the disparate parts of a story together so the ending is especially satisfying.” —Claire Rosser, KLIATT

“This intimate novel, written in stanza form, poetically conveys the heat, dust and wind of Oklahoma. With each meticulously arranged entry Hesse paints a vivid picture of her heroine's emotions.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review for Out of the Dust

“What Copeland created with music, and Hopper created with paint, Hesse deftly and unerringly creates with words: the iconography of Americana, carefully researched, beautifully written, and profoundly honest.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review for Witness

“Deep, literary, and soulful, Ms. Hesse once again holds us in her spell as she reconstructs the past at an intense time in United States history . . . The tapestry of plot and subplot is woven with brilliant craftsmanship.” —Children's Literature for A Light in the Storm: The Civil War Diary of Amelia Martin

“Sparkling with humor, poignancy and adventure . . . Hesse's impeccable research buttresses the narrative with a wealth of detail . . . an author's note and extensive glossary round out this compelling volume.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review for Stowaway

In the Press

Read the Kirkus Review of BROOKLYN BRIDGE . An immigrant family's tale, Impressionistic glimpses of street children living under the Brooklyn Bridge and vintage newspaper excerpts braid themselves together to form this spellbinding novel. - Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Karen Hesse; Illustrated by Chris Sheban

Karen Hesse is the author of many books for young people, including Out of the Dust, winner of the Newbery Medal, Letters from Rifka, Phoenix Rising, Sable and Lavender. She has received honors including the Scott O'Dell Historical Fiction Award, the Christopher Award, and the MacArthur Fellowship "Genius" Award, making her only the second children's book author to receive this prestigious grant. Born in Baltimore, Hesse graduated from the University of Maryland. She and her husband Randy live in Vermont.

Karen Hesse

Karen Hesse

Chris Sheban

From the Publisher

Feiwel & Friends

Latest on Facebook