Lea Wait

Finest Kind
Back to Novels for Young People

Simon and Schuster
Margaret K. McElderry Books
ISBN 1416909524

It is 1838; the Panic of 1837 has taken Jake’s father’s money and job, and 12-year-old Jake and his family have moved from Boston to a small, run-down, farmhouse on the outskirts of Wiscasset, Maine, to start over, bringing with them a deep family secret. When his father’s new job at the lumber mill takes him away from home, Jake’s mother tells him, “I’ll have to depend on you.” But how can Jake find food and prepare for the dangerous cold of a Maine winter when he’s never even chopped wood? How can he protect his mother – and the family secret they brought with them? A job at the local jail, and friendship with a neighbor girl who is also struggling with a family secret, helps. But as the pressures of their new life begin to pull his parents apart, Jake realizes he must also bring his family together to face the future – and their past.

- Student Choice Award Nominee in Missouri
- Children's Book Council Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
- Lamplighter Award Nominee
- On Horn Book "recommended American Historical Fiction" list
- Maine Humanities Council “100 Favorite Maine Books”

Kirkus Reviews: “Through hard work and the help of a colorful cast of characters, Jake learns that, despite their hard circumstances, life in Maine can be the ‘finest kind’, the best of the best. Well-written with loving detail about life in coastal Maine and a lesson clearly taught about the importance of friends and community, this is a story that will linger in the hearts of readers.”

Lexile: 680L       Accelerated Reader Points: 7.0

Teachers and Librarians: For details on the themes in Finest Kind, how they relate to Common Core Standards, and questions for classroom discussions, see Educators’ Page: Finest Kind. 

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