Sam’s new home is Gramps’ apartment in Brooklyn, New York. Can he get used to Brooklyn? Can he get used to Gramps?


This book was chosen for the following lists:

Bank Street Book’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2000

NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, 2001

New York Public Library’s Children’s Books 2000—100 Titles for Reading and Sharing


This book was also nominated for the following awards:

South Dakota Prairie Pasque Children’s Book Award – 2003

Georgia Children’s Book Award, Grades 4-8, 2002-2003

West Virginia Children’s Book - Award 2002-2003

Brooklyn, Bugsy, and Me

It's 1953, and nine-year-old Sam's mom is out of a job. So they move from West Virginia to Brooklyn to live with his grandfather. Sam's not happy about leaving everything he loves and squeezing into Gramps' small, noisy, and hot apartment. It’s not at all what he’s used to. And to make things worse, Sam's sure Gramps doesn't like him. And Sam doesn't like Brooklyn.

Then Sam meets Tony, and discovers stickball and egg creams, and a new kind of fishing. He also discovers Gramps is liked by everyone except him. Sam eventually realizes first impressions can be misleading.


From Publishers Weekly

"....."Don't step on your father," warns Sam's mother in the book's opening line. Right away readers know that she does things a bit differently, including talking to his father's ashes (kept in an urn; he died in WWII) as if she expected an answer. …..Bowdish peppers the narrative with descriptions of August days in the city when kids could still play stickball in the streets, pause for the occasional passing DeSoto and break for an egg cream. The author subtly weaves in the boy's growing insight into Gramps….. This quiet tale of adapting to a new home will likely offer comfort to readers faced with unexpected change."

Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

"...Sam's introspective voice rings true for his age and background. His mature understanding of his mother's situation as well as the 1950s setting give this beginning chapter book a slightly sophisticated tone. Bowdish includes many period details, which are reinforced by Carpenter's frequent black-and-white illustrations. An excellent choice."

Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries, NE
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

"In a first-person narrative filled with wry humor, Bowdish delivers life lessons on adjusting to personal loss and the disruptions caused by moving......Pictures by Nancy Carpenter add a nice touch to this funny and touching chapter-book retake on Brooklyn in the 1950s."

Connie Fletcher
Copyright Booklist

From Kirkus Reviews

"Bowdish.....brings an early-1950s setting to life with a few well chosen details in an easy-reading episode......In the end,..... Sam finds that Brooklyn's brownstones have taken on a rosier glow. Carpenter's realistic sketches artfully capture Sam's anxiety, as well as the look of the neighborhood."

Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From The Horn Book

".....Sam is a likable narrator, whose discovery of new territory--both geographic and emotional--will involve readers in this perfect candidate for the 'skinny books' collection: it's short, easy reading that is both well-developed and satisfying."

Copyright The Horn Book

Selected Works

For Middle Graders
Short stories about sports by a variety of well-known writers.
In 1953, Sam has to get used to his new life in Brooklyn, NY, as well as a grandfather who doesn't seem to like Sam at all.
Fully illustrated and simply told story of the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

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