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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
That's How It Was: Operation Finders Keepers is an incredible tale of past meets present. Written by Hazel Pacheco and illustrated by Katie Risor, it takes the reader on a journey of a family who visits with the family matriarch, only for one curious child to find a hidden treasure - her father's old diary. As Grandma starts to tell wonderful tales of Randy Ray when he was a child, Sarah finds pages that are written as letters to future generations to come. Instead of wondering what it would have been like to go back in time and see how things looked through her father's eyes, Sarah is able to read it all in his own words and see exactly how the world brought joy, sadness and created history just as Randy Ray saw it happen. All of her father's memorable moments are brought to the forefront of Sarah's mind and she is able to get to know her father as closely as she wishes she had before that day's reading journey had begun... and how times have truly changed.
I was unable to stop smiling throughout reading That's How It Was: Operation Finders Keepers. Many memories of my own childhood and the years growing up flooded my mind, and I was able to picture myself in the shoes of Randy Ray, watching the world change as I grew. Not only could I relate to so many visiting family members flicking through old photo albums and reminiscing over stories of "Do you remember when...," it also reminded me of how happy those years so long ago were before adulting came into view. The innocence of childhood was rekindled as I turned each page. Keeping journals of life's experiences can bring stories to many generations to come, and I feel that each reader of Hazel Pacheco's tale will encourage many people to start tracking their own daily lives for future potential readers. I thoroughly enjoyed That's How It Was: Operation Finders Keepers from beginning to end and believe it would be much enjoyed by readers aged from 12 to 100, as it also brings back the joys of youth, as well as bringing thought to future generations. This is definitely a book not to be missed.