The Vanderbeekers: Book Review

” Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” -Mason Cooley

I am a reader, I love reading. I love that feeling when you open a book and you just instantly connect. I know that it is a good book when I finish the first few pages and I just have this smile on my face, and then I just can’t put the book down. Oh, how I love that feeling.

The Vanderbeeker series, I connected with instantly. I found out about this series last winter through The Read-Aloud Revival. I told my parents I wanted these books for Christmas, and then on Christmas morning I got them. I was so excited, I started them right away and I finished them in two days.

There are only two books in the series so far. The author of these incredible books is Karina Yan Glaser. These books are middle grade novels, meaning they are meant for ages eight and up. But really these books are so good, anyone would enjoy them.

The books are about five kids named, Jessie, Isa, Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney. The first book is called “The Vanderbeekers On 141st Street” and is personally my favorite, here’s the description from Amazon below.

“The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It’s practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home.”

The second book in the series is called “The Vanderbeekers And The Hidden Garden” and is just as good as the first book. Here is the description below.

“While Isa is off at sleepaway orchestra camp, Jessie, Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney are stuck at home in the brownstone with nothing to do but get on one another’s nerves. But when catastrophe strikes their beloved upstairs neighbor, their sleepy summer transforms in an instant as the Vanderbeeker children band together to do what they do best: make a plan. They will create the most magical healing garden in all of Harlem.”

  Ms. Karina is coming out with a new Vanderbeeker book this September called ” The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue!” I just can’t wait until this book comes out. You can pre-order this book on Amazon today! Here is the description below for this new book.

“NYT Bestselling series! Harlem’s favorite family returns in the third installment in the Vanderbeerkers series, wherein the Vanderbeeker kids find themselves racing to save their mother’s baking business from city closure. Illustrated with delightful black and white illustrations.”

Photo: Corey Hayes

Here is a little more about the author:
“Originally from California, Karina came to New York City for college and has stuck around for nearly twenty years. She has had a varied career teaching and implementing literacy programs in family homeless shelters and recruiting healthcare professionals to volunteer in under resourced areas around the world. Now as a mother, one of her proudest achievements is raising two kids who can’t go anywhere without a book. She lives in Harlem with her husband, two daughters, and an assortment of rescued animals.
Karina is a contributing editor at book riot, the largest independent book media company in North America,  where she writes the weekly The Kids Are All Rightnewsletter as well as children’s book recommendation posts.”

I’ll say it again, I love these books! It’s not just me who loves them, all over the United States people are in love with the Vanderbeekers. And once you read them you will love them too!

Links mentioned: Read Aloud Revival: The Vanderbeekers On 14st Street: The Vanderbeeker And The Hidden Garden: The Vanderbeekers To The Rescue:
Book Riot:

Lemon Sugar Cookies

These delicious, soft, cookies are very similar to regular sugar cookies, the only difference is that there is lemon in it. It’s not in overwhelming lemon flavor like you may think, but there’s just enough that it makes you want to eat the entire batch. I think these cookies are better than regular sugar cookies, and I think once you try them you will too! The cookies are also so perfect to have for dessert, or even in the morning with a cup of coffee.

These cookies are so very easy to whip up. If you like thinner, crisper, cookies then I would recommend warming up your butter, because when your butter is warm then your cookies spread more. Now if you like thicker, fluffier cookies then I would definitely have your butter be at room temperature. It is also very, very, important that you use only the yolks of the eggs and not the entire egg. If you do not separate the eggs, then your cookies will not turn out.

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Yields: 24 Prep Time: 10 Cook Time: 15 Total Time: 35

1 1/2 Cups of All-purpose Flour

3/4 Tsp. of Baking Soda

1 Tsp. of Baking Powder

1 Cup or 2 sticks of Salted Butter

1 1/4 Cups of Granulated Sugar

3 Egg Yolks

1 Tsp. of Vanilla

Zest from 2 Lemons

1 1/2 Tbsp. of Fresh Lemon Juice

1/4 Cup of Granulated Sugar (for rolling)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. 2. Whisk together the Flour, baking Soda, and Baking Powder in a medium sized bowl and and set aside. 3. In a large bowl using an electric or stand mixer, cream together the Butter and Sugar until combined. 4. Add the Egg Yolks, Vanilla, Lemon Zest, and Lemon Juice. Mix until combined. 5. Add the Flour mixture and mix. Do Not Over mix! 6. Using a cookie scoop, or Ice cream scoop scoop balls about 2 Tablespoons each. Roll in the sugar, and place on prepared baking sheets. 7. Bake for 10-15 min, immediately take off of the pan with a spatula so they don’t continue cooking. Let them cool, Enjoy!

This Recipe was adapted from

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