Cover Image: The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish

The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish

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Member Reviews

I will never get enough of the Vanderbeekers! Papa's 4oth birthday is a week away and the family has planned a huge party. Then Papa gets some sad news and has to fly to the midwest. He'll be back in time for the celebration, right? While he's gone the kids research their grandfather, whom they never met, and deal with their maternal grandparents unexpected visit. This is another fun and heartwarming story in the series.
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With characteristic charm, Karina Yan Glaser again tells an engaging story about the beloved Vanderbeekers. 

As it opens, Oliver and his father are set to take a long-anticipated father-son camping trip when it has to be called off suddenly. While their father is out of town, the children spend time putting together a suitable party for their dad's upcoming 40th birthday.

Meanwhile, their mother's parents arrive for an unannounced visit. As their relationship is strained, the children struggle to find joy with the visit. However, some things feel different, and this turns into a beautiful opportunity for healing and restoration. There are hair-dyeing mishaps, tourist adventures, revealed family secrets, and frank but gentle conversations about racism and discrimination. 

I have started reading this series with my two daughters, ages 7 and 11, and while we are only on the second book, I cannot wait to continue this series with them. There is humor and goodness and delight, all at attainable and age-appropriate levels. 

(I received a digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)
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I sure do love the Vanderbeekers, and I sincerely hope Ms. Yan Glaser writes many more books in this series.

The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish is set over a period of just a few days, and the story moved quickly. I love how the author rewards long-time readers with peeks at our favorite neighbors and storylines happening behind the scenes. Papa's character was missed -- I'll admit that I hoped there would be a reunion scene at the end, but I understand why the author kept us in Harlem with the brownstone.
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Karina Yan Glaser does it again! I have loved all the Vanderbeeker novels, and this one is a lovely addition to the series.
The Vanderbeeker kids continue to delight and get up to a little mischief, all while working together to solve their problem. They have a lovely community of people around them, young and old, and a few difficult ones to deal with.

You will love their antics and their heart as much as you love them!
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Another pleasant afternoon was spent exploring the Vanderbeeker neighborhood and  their busy life.  It was great seeing other family members and for the kids to learn that what you see on the outside is not always the inside.
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This an another wonderful instalment of this beautiful series. I would highly recommend.. Fans ofthessries will not be disappointed with coming
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I love this family! These books are sweet and wholesome and make me wish I was reading them as a child. The family is so well developed and the characters are hysterical. I love the messes they make and how they are all there to support each other all the time. They read as if they are set in the past but they are definitely contemporary. Such a delight to revisit 141st Street!
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The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5)


“I have an idea.”


👍🏼 Thumbs Up:


👎🏻 Thumbs Down:

None to report!

🤓 For Readers WHO:

Are fans of middle grade or have kids in their lives who are looking for wholesome, loveable chapter books.

👉🏼 This is what’s WHAT:

It’s almost time for Papa’s 40th birthday, but he is called away from town suddenly. The Vanderbeekers must put their heads together to solve a family mystery in time to make Papa’s birthday special.

⏳WHEN I read this book:

It made me smile from ear to ear!

🚨WHERE you should watch out:

No triggers.

📍WHY you should read this book:

It is delightful. Read the whole series!

📚 HOW I read this book:

eARC from Netgalley and Clarion Books
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Thank you Netgalley and Clarion Books for the gifted book!

The latest installment of the delightful Vanderbeekers series does not disappoint. In this book, the kids are preparing to celebrate their dad's 40th birthday with a big surprise party. But when he is called out of town to help a friend, they are launched into a treasure hunt to find out more about a trip his dad planned for him, but died before he got to take him on it. And as they are hunting for more information about their deceased paternal grandfather, they are walking on eggshells and trying to avoid their maternal grandparents who showed up and have taken residence in their home for the week. 

Touching on racism as well as topics of respect and boundaries, this is a beautiful book that adds layers upon layers of charm onto the already endearing Vanderbeekers. Read this book series in order and you will fall in love with this family and all their found family as well.
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The ever-popular Vanderbeeker family is at it again, and their many loyal fans will be thrilled.  This time, the lovable family is preparing for Papa's big birthday celebration with lots of obstacles standing in their way.  A wonderful series for 4th and 5th graders who enjoy classic family tales that zero in on values and morals, the Vanderbeekers series steers clear of the graphic novel and fantasy craze by introducing young readers to timeless realistic fiction.  I wish more readers were drawn to this genre, but hopefully top-quality books like this will gain loyalty and readership in the years to come.  Thank you NetGalley and Clarion Books for this advanced eCopy.
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I received a free digital ARC through Netgalley. A new Vanderbeekers novel is a highlight of every September. This series is such a great family read aloud with timeless charm.
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Looking for a sweet middle grade story about a large family full of rambunctious characters? Well, that’s the Vanderbeekers series to a tee. Chronicling the adventures of a family of seven, Mama, Papa, Jessie, Isa, Hyacinth, Oliver, and Laney, the Vanderbeeker series spends each book centering a primary plot point that each Vanderbeeker sibling provides point of view on. In the fifth installment of this series, The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish, the siblings gather details on their family’s history to create the best fortieth birthday present possible for their father.

This book begins with plans gone awry, as Papa has to cancel the camping trip he and Oliver long looked forward to in order to help a close friend who lives in Indiana plan a funeral for their mother. Already smarting from this disappointment, Oliver is further perturbed by the unannounced entry of his mother’s parents—his only living grandparents—who never seem to be satisfied with the lives of their grandchildren. As the week wears on, each Vanderbeeker kid comes to understand a different element of their family history—on either side of their father’s Black, Harlem-born and raised or their mother’s Chinese-American heritage. Spurred to spend more time learning about their father’s family after finding a letter addressed to him from their deceased grandfather, the Vanderbeekers chase down clues to figure out what their grandfather had planned for Papa’s college graduation gift, before his untimely demise. They are assisted by their mother’s cousin, Aunt Penny, who joined their grandparents on their visit from California, and other residents of their apartment building, who we get to know more about in earlier books. After Laney follows the night time movements of her visiting grandfather, she gains insight into some family practices that she later shares with her siblings.

What sticks out most about this story is how well in tune the Vanderbeeker children are with their Harlem community and the level of independence their parents provide them because of their trust in the community and the children themselves. This dynamic makes for a very charming series where the cold reputation of New Yorkers is given a side-eye as the Vanderbeekers find warmth with nearly every person they interact with. As a New York City transplant, it is always fun to see the everyday hustle and bustle of the city residents revealed as the face we wear to make it through the day. You never know what interesting stories or helpful guidance you can expect from the people in the subway car beside you unless you engage them with inquisitivity. I also loved the reticence the Harlem-raised Vanderbeeker children held towards visiting the Brooklyn Bridge for their grandparents as interborough travel is a pain when you’ve cultivated the life and comfort you like in the area where you live. Conversely, it is the siblings’ willingness to learn the stories of their forebears and of those around them that lend to the central theme of the story—by embarking on each of these adventures and engaging with those around them, the Vanderbeekers carry the stories of their family and friends with them, long after these people are no longer around. 

I recommend this series and book for anyone—child or adult—who loves the feeling of being drawn into a sprawling family with limited means but a lot of heart (and pets). This is a quick read that is sure to bring a little joy to its reader.
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I just adore the Vanderbeeker family! I was really excited for this book, but had no idea it would hit as close to home as it did. I lost my grandfather a few months ago, so immersing myself in the story of the Vanderbeeker kids learning more about the grandfather they never knew while also coming to appreciate their living grandparents was extra emotional for me (but still balanced perfectly with humor and lightheartedness as all of the Vanderbeekers books are). Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for access to an early digital copy! I can't wait to add this one to my shelf!
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First I want to start by saying I am a big fan of the Vanderbeeker series. I have loved every single book in this series. This Harlem family is so relatable and so much fun. Their misadventures are exciting and they work so hard to achieve their goals. I love the Vanderbeekers!

One of my favorite elements in these books is getting inside the heads of all five Vanderbeeker siblings and this book does that so well. Isa, Jessie, Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney all have their own distinct personalities and interests. While they are definitely siblings, they are very different as well. Glauser transitions between their voices seamlessly. I always know just whose head we are in and how they feel about what's going on. I love seeing the same scene from several points of view as the action unfolds. And I find all five perspectives so likable and endearing. The Vanderbeekers feel like a real family who make mistakes, celebrate big moments and love each other through it all.

I really enjoyed the added dimension of family history in this book and the importance of knowing who you come from. As the Vanderbeekers gather stories and clues to their grandpa's (Pop Pop) life and plan a spectacular 40th birthday surprise for their Papa, they learn so much about their heritage. I loved meeting the people that were important to Pop Pop and learning their stories with the Vanderbeekers. I wish I could learn to build a boat with Laney and Yardsley or shoot hoops with Jamal. As they learn about their lost grandfather, they also come to appreciate the grandparents that they do have. At first, I couldn't believe how critical their grandmother was and how silent their grandpa remained. No wonder their relationships were not good! But the ending of this book is absolutely beautiful as they find healing and reconciliation with them. This is such a beautiful message about the power and importance of family -- both those that live close and far, those that you're related to by blood and who you adopt as your own. 

The New York City setting is vibrant and so vivid throughout this book. I have only been to New York City once with my family. And now I would love to experience the Vanderbeeker's parts of the city. There are so many details that pulled me into their world. Their library with the librarian who knows them by name. Castleman's Bakery for croissants, apple turnovers, and all the sweet treats. A hole in the wall pizzeria with the best pizza in New York. Mama's Cat Cafe for her delectable cookies. The Brooklyn Bridge on bikes which sounds like such a fun memory! Even just meeting the friends that become family in their brownstone. It was so fun to catch glimpses of some of my favorite characters from previous books like Miss Josie, Mr Beiderman, Orlando and more. I love their neighborhood and the love they feel there. It makes me want to create a similar place for my kids to grow up and I think we are doing that now.

I loved this 5th installment in the Vanderbeeker series. The characters are as endearing and adventuring as ever. The plot is so excited with several twists I did not see coming. I would have liked to read Papa's reaction to the big surprise (perhaps in book 6? ;) ) The themes of kindness, understanding and the importance of family are beautiful. One of my favorite books in the series!
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Every time I read a new Vanderbeekers book I am enveloped in a feeling of nostalgia. It's like rewatching a sitcom you used to cherish from when you were younger. You feel comforted and safe, sharing in the lives on this fictional family which feels like they belong just to you. Karina Yan Glaser never disappoints. Each book is better than the last. 

The newest, The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish, is all of that. When Papa's sudden trip to support an old friend in need coincides with the Vanderbeekers' maternal grandparents' visit, it's the making of a bad week. Grandma is overly critical of everyone and everything, while Grandpa remains quiet in the background. Mama's swamped at work, which leaves the entertainment of the relatives squarely on the shoulders of the Vanderbeeker kids. 
Coincidentally, while going through some of their father's belongings they begin to learn about Papa's father, a man they never knew. Will solving the mystery about one grandfather help their relationship with their other grandparents?
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*happy sigh* Every time I read a Vanderbeeker book. I feel like I always end it with that happy sigh feeling. I don’t think I truly understood what a feel-good book meant until I read this one. The characters are lovely and compelling, and the book tackles real issues with so much heart and grace. And I am so grateful that Ms. Glaser never forgets that she is writing from the perspective of kids and for kids. The children act and think realistically, sometimes very childishly because they’re children! She incorporates issues like racism and grief with a light touch, so children can understand it. But she never loses the light heartedness and hope that’s infused in her story.
The Vanderbeekers are ready for another summer full of fun and laughter starting with Papa’s fortieth birthday party. But then Papa has to leave to help a friend and Mama’s overcritical parents arrive at the Vanderbeeker’s doorstep. While the Vanderbeekers spend more and more time with their grandparents, they miss their Papa’s father even more. Can they learn more about the grandfather they lost and come to appreciate the grandparents they still have while making sure their papa has the best birthday ever?
I loved the storyline in this one, and how we get introduced to new characters! Mama’s parents were definitely interesting, and I loved seeing along with the Vanderbeekers how they weren’t as horrible as it first seemed. They had a lot of hardship in their lives especially because they were immigrants. As an Asian American, I am so grateful that Ms. Glaser shared some of the racism Asians face everyday. And I loved that it was done in such a beautiful way where it didn’t overtake the story. One of my favorite things about the Vanderbeeker books is that being Asian isn’t the only thing about them. They are allowed to be full characters who are Asian, and I think that’s an important distinction. I’m grateful for more authors who are showing that Asians deserve to have their own story on the pages of books. Aunt Penny was a ton of fun too, and I can’t wait to see where her relationship with Beiderman goes!
I enjoyed learning with the Vanderbeekers about their other grandfather too! It was so much fun to see how much this man had touched their community. I loved the message of honoring and remembering the generations before you. I think really for me what sums this series up is that it is full of joy. The problems are real and important, but the book doesn’t make you stressed or sad. It is a joy to read! I would totally recommend this book to elementary schoolers and up. Even though it is technically a kid’s book, I think everyone could enjoy it.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.
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This was fun!   I mean, it's still pretty obvious plotwise but the family is entertaining and I always know things will work out for them in the end, because it's middle grade, and I needed a comforting book to read at this time.  I'd recommend it to anyone.  In fact my Mom has been following the series so I lent her my digital arc to read as well right after I finished it.  Thanks to netgalley for the free book to read and review.  :-)
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I really love this series, and I read this book pretty much in one day.  If you are a Vanderbeeker fan, I think you'll enjoy this, although Grandma was a bit much. There's a bit of a time skip and the twins are getting well into their teenage years. I am curious where the next book will go as they are getting a bit old to get roped into the Vanderbeeker shenanigans that make this series such a delight. But the family relationships (both by birth and found families) continue to develop and grow and it's fun to see the kids growing up.
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This series is perfection. Please, please, please keep writing a new chapter in the Vanderbeeker story each year, Karina Yan Glaser! I look forward to my time in Harlem with this family each year. This year the kids are preparing to celebrate their dad's 40th birthday. After discovering a letter that was written by their grandfather (Pop-Pop)to their father, they are inspired to plan a trip for him. They need more information and a treasure hunt of sorts begins. As they track down people who knew Pop -Pop, their plans start coming together. Complicating life is the fact that Mama's parents have come early for the party and they are not the most compliant of guests. Taking the grandparents to see some of the sights gives us the chance to go along.  I especially loved the Brooklyn Bridge adventure. Mama's Treehouse Bakery and Cat Cafe' is still going strong. Sounds like a lovely place to visit. Spend some time with the Vanderbeekers. If you haven't met them yet, what are you waiting for?!

Thank you to Clarion Books and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.
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The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish is the 5th in the series about this very unique and lovable family. The kids are excited for a surprise birthday party for their Papa and are trying to plan the best gift to give him. They agree that their gift has to be epic considering it’s their papa’s 40th birthday. Plans go awry when papa leaves home to help a friend in need, days before his surprise party. In addition, their mama’s parents arrive a week ahead of the party and seem intent on staying the whole time. Mamas parents seem cold and reserved and grandma has a tendency to a bit critical about everything. Aunt Penny visiting with them  is a shining light given the gloomy  circumstances. Before leaving papa mentions his dad, Pop-pop , as he’s cleaning out an ancient looking suitcase which belonged to Pop -pop. The children are intrigued they never met their dad’s dad  and know very little about him. Their curiosity is further peaked when they discover something that was intended for their papa from their Pop-pop. This starts the children on a quest to find answers to the mysteries surrounding the best gift they can think about getting their papa. By the end of this book I was in tears. I love how the author paints such vivid pictures and characters that draw you into the story and make you believe that you are part of the family. Even though the Vanderbeekers are not a perfect family, they learn and grow with each other forgiving one another, accepting each other’s differences and overall enjoying life together.
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