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Anna & Solomon

Overview

In 1897 a young man named Solomon fell in love with and married a beautiful young woman named Anna. They lived in Russia, which was dangerous at that time for a Jewish family, so Solomon moved to the United States, where he worked and saved until he had enough money to send Anna a ticket for the  voyage across the ocean. But when Solomon went to meet Anna’s ship, Anna’s younger brother was waiting for him. Solomon took in her brother and worried and saved until he could send the money for ...

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Overview

In 1897 a young man named Solomon fell in love with and married a beautiful young woman named Anna. They lived in Russia, which was dangerous at that time for a Jewish family, so Solomon moved to the United States, where he worked and saved until he had enough money to send Anna a ticket for the  voyage across the ocean. But when Solomon went to meet Anna’s ship, Anna’s younger brother was waiting for him. Solomon took in her brother and worried and saved until he could send the money for Anna’s passage again—but this time, Anna’s older brother was waiting. When Solomon sent the money a third time and Anna’s mother arrived, Solomon wondered if he would ever see his dear wife again. Anna & Solomon is based on the true story of the author’s grandparents’ immigration.

 

A Margaret Ferguson Book

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
02/24/2014
Snyder is Bliss’s mother-in-law, and together they’ve created a wonderful retelling of a family legend. “Once—and not once upon a time, because this is a true story,” writes Snyder, a young Jewish couple (Snyder’s grandparents) were married in turn-of-the-century Vitebsk, Russia. The future looks bright: he’s handsome and a sought-after house painter; she’s a beauty with a head for numbers. But when a pogrom devastates Vitebsk’s Jewish quarter, the couple knows they must leave for America. With only enough money for one passage, it’s decided that Solomon will go first, work hard, and then send for Anna. How the couple’s reunion is postponed again and again, then finally realized, is a story of selflessness, almost superhuman patience, and love conquering all. Bliss (Bailey at the Museum) is in wonderful form; instead of sentimental sepia scenes, he gives readers a sense of emotional immediacy and a much bigger picture. Anna and Solomon are the stars of this story, but they also embody millions of others, who yearned, strived, and gambled everything on the promise of a better life. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (May)
From the Publisher
*"Bliss' easygoing, slightly cartoonish renderings capture the feel of the small Russian village as well as the crowded Lower East Side New York neighborhood where Solomon lives and effectively depict the gamut of emotions Solomon experiences . . . Young listeners will no doubt share Solomon's joy at the long-awaited happy reunion in this lovely love story." - BCCB, STARRED REVIEW

 

"Snyder and Bliss have created an immigration story with elements both broadly universal and comfortably specific." - The Horn Book

 

"Family stories don't always work for a larger audience, but this immigration tale, centered around Snyder's grandparents, will resonate for many." - Booklist

 

"An American story that is at once personal, timeless and universal. Lovely and uplifting." - Kirkus Reviews

 

"Snyder is Bliss’s mother-in-law, and together they’ve created a wonderful retelling of a family legend. Anna and Solomon are the stars of this story, but they also embody millions of others, who yearned, strived, and gambled everything on the promise of a better life." —Publishers Weekly

 

"Bliss is in wonderful form;... he gives readers a sense of emotional immediacy and a much bigger picture." -Publishers Weekly

 

 

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
This engaging tale is truly a family project. Anna and Solomon were the author’s grandparents, while illustrator Bliss is her son-in-law. Their story begins in 1897 Vitebsk (now in Belarus), at the young couple’s wedding. Their happiness is shattered when Tsarist horsemen invade the Jewish quarter, destroying homes and holy books. Solomon, a successful house painter, decides they must emigrate. Since they have very little money, Solomon will go first, get established, and send Anna money for her passage. Parting is hard, but Solomon dreams of seeing Anna soon. When he finally goes to meet her at the New York pier, Anna is not there, but who should come walking down the gangplank but her brother, Label! Anna has sent him on first. According to family legend, poor Solomon accepted two more disappointments with good grace, as Anna gave her passage money to another brother and to her mother. Readers will sympathize as a more mature Solomon waits tensely for a sight of Anna. Yes, she has come, dressed in her signature azure blue. The happy couple settles in Brooklyn, where their granddaughter grew up. Bliss’s cartoon-like pictures (he is a New Yorker cartoonist as well as an illustrator) are expressive, especially of Solomon’s patience and devotion, while a subdued palette of browns, greys, and black—enlivened by touches of bright orange, green, yellow, and blue (and cats)—captures both the poverty and the energy of a busy neighborhood. Included are family photos of the couple and Anna’s candy store in Brooklyn. For more background, young readers might compare Hyewon Yum’s immigrant story This Is Our House (Farrar Straus, 2013), also set in Brooklyn. Offering another perspective on Vitebsk is Bimba Landmann’s Marc Chagall (Eerdmans, 2006), about the art of an immigrant who never forgot his Russian city. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
04/01/2014
Gr 2–4—Anna and Solomon's story begins with their 1897 wedding in the Russian town of Vitebsk, where they lived in the Jewish quarter. Both are talented in their work, he as a house painter and she as a bookkeeper. Their life together is soon interrupted by a cruel, house-wrecking invasion by the Czar's soldiers. Snyder's true-to-life tale recounts her grandparents' history as immigrants in New York City at the close of the 19th century. Their journey to a safer country took several years to achieve as they earned money to travel one at a time. The spare tale focuses on Anna's refusal to make the trip and join Solomon until she sent first her younger brother, then an older brother, and finally her mother before her own happy reunion with her long-waiting husband. Bliss creates congenial characters and busy scenes colored in earth tones on single-page, facing views. The energetic pastiche of family and city life is a bit cluttered but also conveys a nice realism. Though the picture-book telling suggests fiction, a concluding page of photographs of Anna and Solomon reminds readers that this all happened to real people. Featuring adult concerns, the book may not draw children as readers. Teachers and families, however, can make very nice use of this well-crafted account for sparking discussion and creative work focusing on family histories, the long history of immigration in this country, and the current worldwide flow of emigrating families.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-17
A young man immigrates to America at the turn of the 20th century and works and saves so his wife can join him. Russia was not a good place for a young Jewish couple to thrive, no matter how hard they worked. The czar's soldiers attacked their town, destroyed homes and religious books, and stole their possessions. Solomon and Anna decide that he should go to America and save up money to buy Anna a ticket. He arrives in New York and works as a housepainter, and months later, he is able to send the money. But when he meets the ship, Anna's brother is there instead. They work together to send money again, and this time another brother arrives. Next time, it is Anna's mother who gets off the ship. Finally Anna arrives, and they are reunited. The whole family continues to work and grow and prosper in their adopted land of freedom and opportunity. This tale of the author's grandparents was passed down through the generations of her family. Snyder relates the events with obvious pride and love, in a conversational tone filled with descriptive details that highlight her ancestors' determination, courage and compassion. Bliss' illustrations beautifully complement the text, capturing time, place and emotions. An American story that is at once personal, timeless and universal. Lovely and uplifting. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374303624
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 5/20/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 643,774
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD850L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Elaine Snyder is the first grandchild of Anna and Solomon. She grew up a few blocks away from them in Brooklyn, New York. Ms. Snyder is an antiques dealer and lives in Westchester County, New York. Anna & Solomon is her first book.

 

Harry Bliss is the son-in-law of Elaine Snyder and the illustrator of many books for young readers, including the New York Times bestsellers A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech, Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, and A Very Brave Witch by Alison McGhee. He is also a cartoonist for the New Yorker magazine. 

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