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Hold on Tight, by Heather Klassen

Probably the worst time to review a book is after you just spent twenty minutes crying over the end of it.  (Spoiler alert.)

Hold on Tight by Heather Klassen is the first novel I’ve ever ordered from Royal Fireworks Press, publisher of the Michael Clay Thompson curriculum.   RFWP has made its name publishing high quality materials for gifted and homeschooled children.  (My son’s school uses Caesar’s English for example.)  But their novels for children are harder to find.

All of the RFWP novels are available through their website of course, but not many of them are available on Amazon. ( Here’s why.)  Sadly, I couldn’t find any of the RFWP novels through our local library.

This all made a lot of sense to me when I read Hold on Tight, the story of a girl who watches her brother leave for the Vietnam War and witnesses her family change forever.  Hold on Tight is a beautiful, moving, 78 page novella with a great deal of meaning.

But this book is not very commercial.

When’s the last time you read a middle grade novella?  Or a book for kids about Vietnam?  When’s the last time a historical book for middle schoolers became a uber-best seller?  (Having “American Girl” in the title doesn’t count.)

Klassen writes with a lyrical, almost stream-of-conscious style that is very unique in children’s books these days.  I read the first two chapters with my 7 year-old at bedtime, and he loved it so much that woke up early the next morning to finish it off on his own.

Kudos to RFWP for publishing this.

They took a risk on a story worth telling.  I look forward to ordering more books from them in the future.