A Coal Miner's Bride: The Diary of Annetka Kaminska, Lattimer, Pennsylvania, 1896 (Dear America Series)

Overview

Meet Anetka, a 13-year-old Polish girl who comes to America as a promised bride to a Pennsylvania coal miner. Her fascinating diary entries give readers a personal glimpse into what life was like in a coal-mining town during a tumultuous time in our country's past.

A diary account of thirteen-year-old Anetka's life in Poland in 1896, immigration to America, marriage to a coal miner, widowhood, and happiness in finally finding her ...

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Overview

Meet Anetka, a 13-year-old Polish girl who comes to America as a promised bride to a Pennsylvania coal miner. Her fascinating diary entries give readers a personal glimpse into what life was like in a coal-mining town during a tumultuous time in our country's past.

A diary account of thirteen-year-old Anetka's life in Poland in 1896, immigration to America, marriage to a coal miner, widowhood, and happiness in finally finding her true love.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
This is a really good book, very real, yet not exaggerated to the point of becoming boring. A girl from Russian-occupied Poland comes to America as part of an arranged marriage in this tale of courage, hard work, and determination. It's a slice of American life in the Pennsylvania coal-mining country. A good gift choice. Part of the "Dear America" series. 2000, Scholastic, Inc., $10.95. Ages 10 to 12. Reviewer: A. Braga SOURCE: Parent Council, September 2001 (Vol. 9, No. 1)
VOYA
When thirteen-year-old Anetka Kaminska purchases a blank book with the money she earns from selling black pig bristles to the local cobbler, the gypsy seller tells her that the purchase is unfeminine. Anetka wants to write her own thoughts in Polish, an act forbidden by the czar's army occupying her country in 1896. Bartoletti clearly establishes her heroine as a hardworking, intelligent girl able to discover herself despite a father who arranges her marriage to secure his family's passage to America and a government that denies her expression. Leon Nasevich, a young soldier and ultimately her true love, rescues Anetka from a Russian sergeant trying to take advantage of her. He accompanies Anetka and her little brother to America, establishes himself as a mule driver and union organizer in the coal mines, and finally marries Anetka, when at fourteen years old, she is widowed with three stepchildren. Leon's and Anetka's patience, hard work, and independence carve their fates in an exciting and dangerous world. Bartoletti constructs this entry in the Dear America series with the facts and inspiring spirit of her two previous nonfiction books, Growing Up in Coal Country (Houghton Mifflin, 1996) and Kids on Strike! (Houghton Mifflin, 1999/VOYA February 2000), with similar details of daily life and insight into the workers' growing feelings of independence. The book also explains the Pennsylvania coal strikes that united multi-ethnic communities. Anetka Kaminska, forced to marry for duty before she can figure out love, will fascinate the young female audience. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined asgrades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2000, Scholastic, 219p. PLB . Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Lucy Schall SOURCE: VOYA, April 2001 (Vol. 24, No.1)
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
The fictional account of a thirteen-year-old Polish girl's immigration to America in 1896 is based upon the political and social turmoil in Poland and the economic and social hardships of the coal mining life in Lattimer, Pennsylvania. The difficulties faced by Anetka Kaminska are told in an immediate, poignant story put down in the girl's diary. She buys the blank book though it is considered frivolous and even dangerous since she plans to write in Polish, a language now forbidden by the Russian Czar. Motherless and living with a young brother and grandmother in Sadowka, she expects her father to return to Poland from the coalmines of Pennsylvania. His letter calling for her to come and marry a coal miner is a shocking turn of events. How Anetka copes during and after the loveless marriage is particularized in telling detail. The diary ends soon after the Lattimer massacre of 1897 and with Anetka and Leon Nasevich, her true love, finally united. Photos and drawings of Lattimer and Poland, a Polish glossary, a recipe for potato dumplings, a coal mining song, maps, and notes from the author are all included. This is par of the "Dear America" series. 2000, Scholastic, Ages 12 up, $10.95. Reviewer: Carol Raker Collins
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-A vivid and compelling look at the lives of Pennsylvania's immigrant coal miners and their families at the turn of the last century. Anetka, a resourceful Polish girl, is ordered by her father to come to America and marry a man she has never met. At 14, she becomes a miner's wife and the stepmother of three young daughters. The hardships and dangers of life in a mining camp, recorded in diary format, are balanced by the tenderness, friendship, and romance touching Anetka's life. Details of beekeeping and never-ending household chores will win readers' respect for the homemakers of 100 years ago. A glossary of Polish words, maps, music, period photographs, and a staple of recipes add substance to the setting. An "Epilogue" chronicling the characters' lives after the story's close may confuse children, particularly since it's followed by a historical note that describes the characters as fictional. Still, Bartoletti paints an accessible and evocative picture of life in a harsh era.-Valerie Diamond, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, MD Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Bartoletti has added a nuanced tale to the Dear America series with this diary of a 14-year-old from Sadowka, Poland,1896. Annetka lives with her beloved grandmother and small brother; her mother is dead, and her father has gone to Pennsylvania to work in the anthracite mines. She loves the place where she is, but all that changes when her father says she will come to America to be a bride for one of his co-workers. Annetka goes, in the company of a rakish young fellow named Leon who gets her and her brother out of the country. Annetka's diary continues through the backbreaking labor of the coal miner's wife, for she discovers her new husband is a widower with three small children. The struggles of laundry, cooking, baking, and making ends meet in Lattimer, Pennsylvania are clearly delineated, along with Annetka's joy in beekeeping, in making scented oils, and in coaxing her three small stepchildren to love her. Leon and others urge the workers to strike as they fight not only the filthy and dangerous mines but also the vilification of those who call them foreigners and worse. The story culminates in the Lattimer massacre of September 10, 1897 where unarmed workers were fired upon and at least 19 died. The whole is full of Annetka's spirit, her vivid use of language in snatches of her native Polish as well as her wonderful English metaphors, like kisses "to stick her feet to the floor." (glossary, historical photographs, maps, recipe) (Historical fiction. 9-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439053860
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2000
  • Series: Dear America Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.84 (d)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 74 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2006

    I've reread so many times

    I loved this book. Anetka deserved her happy ending after suffering through her hardships and tragedies. This is a wonderful coming of age story of a girl growing and maturing as she deals with the many obstacles life keeps throwing her way. This book gave insight to the dream an immigrant has upon coming to America. Though I could never imagine being married at thirteen, I could relate to the feelings she so vividly describes, such as the desire to feel loved and appreciated. The hint of romance rounds out the book and completing it. I enjoyed the ending, thinking Anetka deserves the happy ending that she does eventually receive.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2006

    This book is great

    My favorite character is Anetka because she is the main character . I liked the time my character helped a fighting guy after her husbend died. Her husbend died in the mine cave-in.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2006

    Amazing.

    As a granddaughter of Polish Immigrants when ended up in Hazelton, I felt a special connection to this book before I started reading it. I was not dissapointed, the boko was amazing! The characters were perfect, and the Polish phrases added alot. Best Book ever!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Coal Miner`s Bride

    This book is about a 13 year old girl named Anetka. She lives in Poland with her brother Jozef and her grandmother. Her Tata lives in America and wants his daughter (Anetka)to marry this man Stanley which she has never met.Stanley is 26 years old. Anetka doesn`t like the idea very much but her Tata is very much in favor of this arranged marriage because Stanley is willing to pay the passages for Anetka, Jozef,and her grandmother. When Anetka marrys Stanley she doesn`t know what to expect. She and her friend Stefania always thought that they didn`t want an arranged marriage like their ancestors before them. Stanley never really falls in love with Anetka because he still misses his other wife who pasted alway and just uses Anetka to care for his three young daughters Voilet,Lily,and Rose. Stanley dies while working at the mines and Anetka is left taking care of his daughters which in the end call her mama.Then in the end of the book does Anetka marry again but to this Polish man named leon who truly did love her for who she was.

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  • Posted June 25, 2009

    great!

    this book is amazing i cried so much when i read this book. i read this book about 6 times and everytime i learn something new!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 7, 2009

    OMG I loved this book!!

    This is my 1# top fave Dear America book! It's about a 13-year-old Polish immigrant,Anetke, fleeing from Russia with her younger brother, Jozef, and a good "friend", Leon. Her father had came to America 2 years earlier, he just sent a paid passage to them under one condition.. Anetka must be married to a coal miner, Stanley. AND he already has three young girls; Violet, Rose, and Lily. From the beginning Viloet makes it very clear to Anetka that she doesn't want her to be her new mother. Stanley's first wife, Sophie, had died a few years earlier. Can she cope with being a young wife, learning to deal with new ways in America, and be a loving mother?

    I love this book because in the end, Anetka finally gets her happy ending that she deserves. A Coal Miner's Bride has romance, excitement, comedy, and adventure. If you like historical-fiction, have read some Dear America books or just need a great book to read you MUST READ this book!!! You'll love it like I did. You could find it at your local library. Enjoy!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2008

    one of my favorites

    i read this book when i was younger and continue as i'm older i dont think it really has a age limit. it is a timeless book and one of the best i've ever read. i think i've read it atleast ten times and it never gets old its amazing and i recomend it to everyone

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2008

    Best book ever

    This book was so good, I read it in 1 day because it was so good! It was sad and romantic at the same time. I would recommend this book to 10 to 14 year olds because don't think young ones would understand. Anyways this book made me cry a lot. READ IT!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2007

    My favorite in the series by far

    I first read this book when i was 12, i read right through it and when it ended I couldn't stop crying (good crying though). This book is definetly in my top ten, although I'd probably be too old for it now. Anika's story was so well told and moving and amazing that I was sooo happy with this book. It doesn't matter how old you are, you will DIE when you finish this book. I think this book is great, the series is great and everything both stand for is exceptional. If your over 5 years old and can read you MUST read this.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2006

    Loved It!!!!!!!

    I have read almost every Dear America book and this is one of my favourites ever! It is such a great story!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2006

    wow!!!!!

    i loved it it's the best out of the dear america series you must read it!!! a great love story!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2006

    Favorite Book Ever!

    This is my favorite book ever!! I love how Anetka remains strong throughout the whole book and finally when she has suffered so much, she gets what she truly deserves. I also love the afterword, read it to find out. I recommend it to anyone who has ever suffered in life and found love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2005

    I LOVED this book!

    I have read most of the Dear America books and i have to say that this is by far my favorite one. I have read it multiple times and it never gets dull. Annetka's story has so much drama and it is like a cinderella story, she lives happily ever after.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2005

    LOVED IT!!

    OMG, I LOVED this book sooo much!! I love how Leon is CONSTANTLY teasing and infuriating Anetka, the whole book is wonderful!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2005

    It was wonderful

    I loved this book so much! It never seems to get old. All there really is to say about this book is outstanding!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2005

    Love It

    I am 14 and can rally relate to anetka. The thought of being married at forteen is dumbfounding. I have read this book over 10 times and still enjoy reading it. It is my ultimate favourite!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2004

    One of my favorite books!!

    A coal miners bride is a great story about a high spirited 13 year old who travels to America in the 1890's to join her father and the man she must marry. Her life takes some unexpected turns and this story will keep you guessing right up to the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2004

    Brilliant

    It is simply a perfect demonstration of a girl grown into a woman. That woman is Anetka, and she is finally able to get her one fantasy, that stayed in the back of her head from Poland to America, answered. Her dream and wish was of a marriage filled with love and happiness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2004

    The second best diary of all time.

    Oh my god its like sad and happy at the same time!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2004

    great

    this book i thought was a great historical book.Its about a young girl whom has to marry at a very young age.You have to read the book to find out more.

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