The Art of Keeping Cool

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Atheneum Books for Young Readers, May 1, 2002 - Juvenile Fiction - 256 pages
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The War At Home
Fear permeates the Rhode Island coastal town where Robert, his mother, and sister are living out the war with his paternal grandparents: Fear of Nazi submarines offshore. Fear of Abel Hoffman, a German artist living reclusively outside of town. And for Robert, a more personal fear, of his hot-tempered, controlling grandfather.
As Robert watches the townspeople's hostility toward Hoffman build, he worries about his sensitive cousin Elliot's friendship with the artist. And he wonders more and more about the family secret everyone seems to be keeping from him -- a secret involving Robert's father, a bomber pilot in Europe. Will Elliot's ability to detach himself from the turmoil around him be enough to sustain him when prejudice and suspicions erupt into violence? And can Robert find his own way to deal with the shocking truth about his family's past?

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Moving, Sad, but still, a Well Written Book

User Review  - Book Worm 411 - Borders

I chose to read this book for a book report. At first, it was hard to get into, but as I progressed into the story, I enjoyed it more. It was awfully sad though. Almost as if there was no happy ending ... Read full review



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About the author (2002)

Janet Taylor Lisle’s books for young readers have received the Newbery Honor Award (Afternoon of the Elves), the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction (The Art of Keeping Cool), Holland’s Zilveren Griffel, and Italy’s Premio Andersen Award, among other honors. A graduate of Smith College and former journalist, she lives in Rhode Island and often draws on Rhode Island history in her work. Visit her online at

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