All the Greys on Greene Street is middle grade historical fiction (and since when did the 1980’s become historical fiction?) set in New York. There is no doubt that this is top-notch children’s literature with the emphasis on the “literature” part. It also addresses an over-looked and neglected theme of how the mental illness of a parent affects the child or children in their life. This is the type of book that the Newbery committee loves and that makes for great discussion material.
On the flip side, it is not the type of book that usually grabs a middle-schooler. There is a lot of description of painting, art, and feelings and the pacing is restrained and measured until the very end. This novel likely won’t have wide appeal to the masses, but it really is quite a lovely book with rich characterization, an important message, and a hopeful ending.
Review of an Advance Reading Copy received from the Publisher
Profanity/Language: 4 religious exclamations.
Violence/Gore: Character remembers when she was a kindergartener and teased a friend until he punched her; students are learning about Egypt so there are some references to mummification processes, rituals, etc. (brief); a girl hits a boy because she is angry; extended scene involving fire and resulting in injuries; reference to someone who is doing a starvation protest.
Sex/Nudity: A character’s father has left with another woman and this is referred to several times; reference to “boobs” on a picture; a boy tells his friend that he thinks his dad is staying at a hotel and not coming home some nights (vague reference).
Mature Subject Matter:
Mental illness (clinical depression), separation/marital infidelity, ethics.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adults drink wine and beer on various occasions; adults smoke.