The Art of Keeping Cool Audiobook, by Janet Taylor Lisle Play Audiobook Sample

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The Art of Keeping Cool Audiobook, by Janet Taylor Lisle Play Audiobook Sample
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Author: Janet Taylor Lisle Narrator: Charles Carroll Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Audio Length: Release Date: October 2012 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781620645406

Publisher Description

It’s World War II, and fear permeates the Rhode Island coastal town where Robert, his mother, and sister are living out the war with his paternal grandparents. It is fear of Nazi submarines offshore; fear of Abel Hoffman, a German artist living reclusively outside of town; and for Robert, a more personal fear, of his hot-tempered, controlling grandfather.

As Robert watches the townspeople’s hostility toward Hoffman build, he worries about the friendship that his sensitive cousin Elliot has with the artist. And he wonders more and more about the family secret everyone seems to be keeping from him—a secret involving Robert’s father, a bomber pilot in Europe. Will Elliot’s ability to detach himself from the turmoil around him be enough to sustain him when prejudice and suspicions erupt into violence? And can Robert find his own way to deal with the shocking truth about his family’s past?

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  • “Engrossing, challenging, and well-paced, the novel holds up a mirror to society—for those who dare to look.”

    - Horn Book (starred review)
  • “As apt at writing historical fiction as she is at penning fantasy, Lisle weaves together an intriguing web of family secrets and wartime fears while encapsulating the wave of patriotism sweeping the nation in the 1940s. The intimate first-person narrative brings universal themes of prejudice and loss to a personal level as the boys and their artist friend discover the destructive power of war on the home front.”

    - Publishers Weekly
  • “Two stunning tragedies are at the center of this story of the WWII home front. Lisle deftly uses the first two chapters to introduce characters and setting…Surrounding the two tragedies, which are never far from the surface, is a finely woven web of secrets, suspicions, prejudice, and fear…Characters are interestingly developed…Briskly plotted, emotionally complex, brutal in incident yet delicately nuanced in the telling, a fine historical fiction.”

    - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • “Hidden family secrets are the main theme of this novel set during WWII in a small Rhode Island town on the Atlantic…Worry over Robert’s father provides a steady amount of suspense. There are several main themes that will appeal to readers: understanding a gifted artist, the home front during WW II, fathers and sons, family secrets. Lisle writes with skill and intelligence, obviously familiar with the setting of this novel.”

    - Kliatt
  • “Despite a misleading title (the word ‘cool’ does not conjure up the 1940s), this is a well-drawn story that is part coming-of-age, part mystery…This is a heartfelt story about family dynamics and the harmful power of prejudice and hatred.”

    - School Library Journal
  • “Lisle recreates wartime America, from Rosie the Riveter to early impressionist art with a truly subtle prose. The novel should attract a diverse readership, from mystery and art lovers to fans of World War II fiction. All libraries will want this book on their shelves.”

    - VOYA
  • “This a powerful story of World War II at home, told by a young teenager who comes to question both friends and enemies and finds the dark inside himself… Lisle weaves together the thrilling war action and the spy mystery with the battles in Robert’s family and Robert’s personal struggle with anger, jealousy, guilt, and betrayal. There’s nothing reverential about the portrait of the gifted ‘crackpot’ artist; in fact, all the characters are drawn with subtlety and depth (except, perhaps, the demonized Grandpa). Like Abel’s expressionist art, Lisle’s story shows and tells what’s behind the appearances of things, the ‘hidden feelings and memories, terrors and passions…everyone knows are there but cannot speak about.’”

    - Booklist
  • “No happy ending here, but the reader will find a believable and satisfactory resolution.”

    - Children’s Literature
  • “Lisle’s novel deftly explores the themes of resentment, prejudice, and secrecy in this historical portrait of a child’s life in wartime. The fears and questions Robert faces are still relevant today. Charles Carroll’s narration is quietly understated, allowing the rhythm and mystery of the author’s prose to carry the story. Also included is an author’s note, which is not found in some print versions. Along with books by Christopher Paul Curtis and Richard Peck, this novel is a solid addition to historical fiction collections.”

    - School Library Journal (audio review)
  • “The naval guns sent to coastal Rhode Island in 1942 may have been enormous, but the issues about to face cousins Elliot and Robert are equally monumental…Charles Carroll takes on the role of the adult Robert recounting the events during these war years. He’s even voiced, letting layers of the various familial and town relationships reveal themselves and letting listeners draw their own conclusions. A German painter and a bullying grandfather, both with secrets, impact each boy dramatically. At the climactic moment when the eleven-year-olds and the painter confront paranoia, hatred, and horror, Carroll’s voice takes on strength and resonance. Listeners will have much to ponder.”

    - AudioFile


  • Winner of the 2001 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction
  • An ALA Notable Book for 2001
  • A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book for 2001

Customer Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " another young adult book that deals with adolescence during WWII while dad is away fighting. "

    - Jennifer, 2/11/2014
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Engaging story of a boy living on the Rhode Island coast during World War II and the German painter in his area who faces persecution. All of the relationships are well drawn, and the protagonist is flawed without being too annoying. Pretty intense reading for a sixth-grader (suicide), but suspenseful and thought-provoking (for kids who haven't read much about discrimination and taking sides before). "

    - Jessica, 2/10/2014
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " I taught this book to my enriched English class. This book is well written and has many themes that are great for further discussions in a middle school classroom. This novel takes place during World War II in a small New England town. The local German artist becomes the target of the town's prejudice and suspicion due to his nationality. We read this shortly before we read Anne Frank. It was a great lead in to the idea of judging someone superficially (something middle schoolers tend to know a lot about!). It was worth a read even if it hadn't been for academics. "

    - Lynelle, 2/9/2014
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " I LOVED this book!!! Read it my Junior year of high school for my own pleasure and found it really enjoyable. I am a huge fan of historical fiction and young adult coming-of-age stories and this one was one of the best I ever read. I admire one of the primary characters, Elliot, for his devotion to his love of drawing and the risk he took in seeking the German artist's help in drawing. He was taking a dangerous one, which his cousin Robert advised against even. Both boys find their own ways of keeping cool during the WWII period. They're both tested and pulled between their own ways of staying calm in such tense circumstances and what they want. For anyone interested in fiction stories set in WWII, coming-of-age, deception and mystery- this is a book you should definitely read. "

    - Marc, 2/6/2014
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " 1942 on the East coast where there is fear of German invasion and u-boats. Prejudice and lots of family secrets make this an interesting, though sometimes frustrating, story. Read the other reviews for more insight. "

    - Elaine, 2/2/2014
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " a wonderful wwii book for kids. It deals with the subjects of lost loved ones, espionage, prejudices and courage to stand up for what is right. We read this book as part of wwii history unit. "

    - Michelle, 1/31/2014
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " OH MY GOD!!! this is a great book if you want to read about world war 2! "

    - Claire, 1/17/2014
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " good book if you like historical fiction this is one you should read "

    - Mason, 1/17/2014
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " This was a great historical young adult novel about life in the 1940s. I hate the prejudice against an innocent German artist, but it was typical of that time period. "

    - Dana, 12/18/2013
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " The Rhode Island setting is not all that makes the story wonderful. The many twists and turns add to the excitement. "

    - Leigh, 12/15/2013
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " It was just...ok. Not overly suspenseful or exciting or historically detailed. A fairly easy read for kids and adults I suppose. "

    - the, 12/7/2013
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Wonderful story about growing up during the beginning of WWII and the worry over Germans landing on our shore and a side story of a family with secrets "

    - Lori, 11/29/2013
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " A sad, dramatic story filled will horror and misunderstanding, made me cry... "

    - Michael, 11/29/2013
  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

    " it was interesting not one of my favorites but is was ok i guess "

    - Lauren, 11/11/2013
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " Good youth historical fiction. "

    - Colleen, 9/16/2013
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " An original look on the holocaust. The characters were well fleshed out, and there was some great character growth going on. There were some parts where the story didn't really grip me, and I wasn't as involved as I could have been, but overall, a great book. "

    - Wendy, 8/27/2013
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " This WWII novel set in the US east coast uses lots of historical detail to enhance a good story of a boy growing up. I've put off reading it for too long, and I'm sorry I did. "

    - Chris, 6/22/2013
  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

    " tis book was a very lame book and i dident really like it. but janet taylor lisle is a very good author and she has some amazing books to read. because it dident have much action to it and i did not really like it "

    - Brick, 1/5/2013
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " It took me a little while to get into the story but once I did, I enjoyed it. "

    - Marie, 12/20/2012
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " Liked the illuminating information about the nature of "art" and the history of what the Nazi's did to the art community. "

    - Pam, 12/2/2012

About the Author

Janet Taylor Lisle is the author of several acclaimed novels for young readers, including The Art of Keeping Cool, winner of the Scott O’Dell Award, and these five School Library Journal Best Books of the Year: Sirens and Spies, The Lampfish of Twill Forest, A Message from the Match Girl, The Lost Flower Children, and Afternoon of the Elves, a Newbery Honor Book. She lives with her family on the coast of Rhode Island.

About the Narrator

Charles Carroll is an actor and voice-over artist residing in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. He is an avid film buff and stays active in the local film community.