A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Teaches about life in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY in the early 20th century, including the role of women in society and the effect of war on a country.
While dealing with serious subjects such as alcoholism, pre-marital sex, and gambling, the Nolan family displays resilience, strength, and the ability to overcome obstacles.
Positive Role Models
Francie is a smart, thoughtful girl who loves learning and school. She works hard to ensure she can continue her education. She takes care of her family, including her brother and sick father. Francie's mother shows value of hard work and sacrifice for her family.
Violence & Scariness
A man molests and kills a 7-year-old girl in Francie's neighborhood. The man then tries to molest another girl in an intense and vividly depicted scene. A man is shot in the stomach with a gun. A man dies of alcoholism. A school teacher hits boys on their naked buttocks and hits girls over their dresses. A woman is stoned by other women in the neighborhood.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mentions of sex are mostly innocent and nondescript. Francie's aunt, Sissy, is promiscuous which hurts her reputation within Williamsburg. When Francie's older, she contemplates having sex with a man she loves before he goes off to war. Francie has a frank conversation with her mother about having sex before marriage in which her mother does not condone it, but admits that having sex when in love, no matter when, is beautiful.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Some mature language: "ass," "bastards," "hell," "bitch."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Men and women drink and smoke heavily in Williamsburg. Francie's father is an alcoholic and is drunk numerous times. The book shows the devastating effects of alcohol and makes Francie contemplate her future relationship with alcohol.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant literary classic that tells the story of Francie Nolan as she grows up in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, from 1902 to 1919. The novel brings to life the world in which Francie lives, yet portrays experiences that kids of any era can relate to -- navigating sibling relationships, making new friends, and discovering first love. It also deals with more serious subjects, such as Francie's father's alcoholism, the death of a loved one, an attempted molestation, and premarital sex causing a ruined reputation. Yet, these issues are seen through the eyes of an innocent young girl and presented in an emotionally authentic way.
Is It Any Good?
A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN is a called a classic for a reason: It's beautifully written, insightful, and Francie's story is timeless. While the unfolding plot has ups, downs, twists, and turns, Francie's introspective, wise perspective makes this work the honest novel that it is. Readers will rejoice in Francie's highest highs and mourn in her lowest lows. The story also underscores the powerful impact of place on childhood.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.