Lily's Crossing



Lets readers walk in the shoes of a tweenage girl.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A beautifully done examination of a 10-year-old girl's experiences of war, loss, new friendships and loneliness. This story covers a range of emotions, but does so with care.

Positive role models

Given a key by a departing friend, Lily ventures into a neighbor's uninhabited house several times.


Albert describes what he knows about the Nazis' capture of his parents, his attempt to escape Europe with his younger sister, and their separation when his sister became ill.

Not applicable

Humorous use of a mild oath.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book, written so well it appears effortless, lets readers inhabit the world of a 10-year-old girl dealing with loneliness, a new friendship, and the impacts of war during her summer vacation.

What's the story?

In the last summer of World War II, ten-year-old Lily meets a young Hungarian refugee who's come to the Long Island beach community to be safe from the war. With delicate but authoritative writing, the author brings these two distinctive youngsters together and makes them allies against loneliness.


Is it any good?


With meticulously chosen details, Giff lets us into Lily's life -- past and present -- and makes us care about what the future holds for her. It's clear that the author, who spent her own childhood summers in Rockaway, knows her landscape; she leads readers to inhabit Lily's world: beach sand and tarry streets, hot breezes and houses on stilts at the water's edge. They feel the impact of war: rationing, radio news, censored mail, and reports of a neighbor missing in action. They feel Lily's loneliness and know why she stretches the truth.

Giff slowly and persistently connects her readers to the heroine, and, as with friendships in real life, makes the friendship that is at the core of this novel heartfelt. Young readers will recognize this honesty at once and will take to this book with devotion.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Lily deals with her situation.

  • How does she handle her frustrations?

  • How does her new friendship change her outlook on things?

Book details

Author:Patricia Reilly Giff
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:January 1, 1997
Number of pages:180
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Award:Newbery Medal and Honors

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bysazaka April 9, 2008

I am not sold on this book

I read this book because my daughter was required to read it for school. Despite the editors claim that Lily's lying would be understood by the reader - that never really happened. The fact that the author was determined to "show us" how her lying was OK - acceptable even - really bothered me. I don't know why this book won a Caldecott Award accept for it's war time setting. The writer is talented but I question the moral message here.
Kid, 12 years old September 2, 2013

Just a review

I'm 12 and chose this because it was short but I myself read books 18 year olds would read.
Kid, 11 years old April 23, 2013

A Really Good Book

Some say this book makes kids think that lying and sneaking around is ok, but it really doesn't. Lily gets and trouble for sneaking around and a life is almost lost for her lying- the author portrays that that stuff is bad! This book is wonderful and has great historical fiction- read it!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Too much swearing


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