Antoinette Truglio Martin

The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers

Children - Fiction - Ages 9-12

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Lily has to do EVERYTHING. She bakes Daily Bread, minds her thumb-sucking little sister, hangs laundry on the roof, and keeps up with home chores her big sisters list. She even fetched a nurse from the Henry Street Settlement to save Mama and the new baby. Now the bossy public health nurse, who visits each day to attend to somber Mama and the bawling baby, sends Lily on errands throughout the Little Italy streets. Things turn around when Lillian Ward, the Henry Street Settlement head nurse, hears Lily's powerful voice, she invites Lily to sing in the Children's Choir. Lily sneaks to the choir and the forbidden play yard with tag-along Gigi on Wednesday afternoons. Her schemes unfold when she needs permission to sing with the choir at the New York Highlanders Fourth of July baseball game at Hilltop Park. The Yanks need a morale booster, and Lily and the choir may be the ticket to keep fans cheering and buying beer, Cracker Jack and ice cream. More trouble arises when a mean girl wants Lily's solo, and the "Black Hand" terrorizes the neighborhood.

Another excellent read. Great historical fiction should take the reader back in time and let the story unfold as if the reader is there, worrying about every challenge and sharing the joy of every success. It should be a vivid representation of the time, allowing the reader to learn just by enjoying the story.The characters should be as real as any normally flawed good or bad person might be.

As a homeschool father, I would put The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers into the hands of my children and teens. Just like the first book, The Heart of Bakers and Artists, the story depicts what it was like living through the time of the story while developing a great love of reading. The imagery of the story can so easily settle into the readers' DNA and become almost as real as any other memory.

Gary A Wilson, Author

In The Dreams Sluggers and Singers, nine-year-old Lily Taglia has a secret. The child of Italian immigrants, she's discovered a paradise in the lower east side tenements of 1911; a place where she can sing her heart out and her little sister Gigi can play in safety, the Henry Street Settlement. When the opportunity to perform with the chorus in public presents itself, Lily has to find a way to get her parents' permission and risks losing the dream of her lifetime.

As in its predecessor, The Heart of Bakers and Artists, the author uses rich description and well-researched details to bring the dangers and challenges of Lily's world on the lower east side to life. It is a story of hardships, hopes and growing up.

Jacqueline Goodwin, MFA Author