Feed the Children First: Irish Memories of the Great Hunger

Overview

The great Irish potato famine -- the Great Hunger -- was one of the worst disasters of the nineteenth century. Within seven years of the onset of a fungus that wiped out Ireland's staple potato crop, more than a quarter of the country's eight million people had either starved to death, died of disease, or emigrated to other lands. Photographs have documented the horrors of other cataclysmic times in history -- slavery and the Holocaust -- but there are no known photographs ...
See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $11.99   
  • New (8) from $13.11   
  • Used (3) from $11.99   
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.
Sending request ...

Overview

The great Irish potato famine -- the Great Hunger -- was one of the worst disasters of the nineteenth century. Within seven years of the onset of a fungus that wiped out Ireland's staple potato crop, more than a quarter of the country's eight million people had either starved to death, died of disease, or emigrated to other lands. Photographs have documented the horrors of other cataclysmic times in history -- slavery and the Holocaust -- but there are no known photographs whatsoever of the Great Hunger.

In Feed the Children First, Mary E. Lyons combines first-person accounts of those who remembered the Great Hunger with artwork that evokes the times and places and voices themselves. The result is a close-up look at incredible suffering, but also a celebration of joy the Irish took in stories and music and helping one another -- all factors that helped them endure.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this somber anecdotal account, of likeliest interest to students, Lyons (Letters from a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs) compiles quotations from Irish citizens on the devastating effects of the potato famine that ravaged Ireland between 1845 and 1852; during those years more than one-quarter of the population either died of starvation or disease, or emigrated, primarily to the U.S. Lyons explains that many of the reminiscences here are abridged from those collected in a book published in Ireland in 1995, which itself drew from the Irish Folklore Commission's efforts in the 1940s to collect stories about the Great Hunger. Given this time frame, some of these observations are first-hand, yet a significant number offer a more remote voice (e.g., "My grandmother told me of her experience when a girl of seventeen in those awful days"). Though the speakers describe affecting, even heartbreaking scenes, many entries use language that, however authentic, young readers are not likely to find compelling: "They lived from hand to mouth. Any failure in the crops meant great privation. Generally there was no money laid by." Period drawings, paintings and a handful of photos serve as illustrations. Ages 9-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this somber anecdotal account, of likeliest interest to students, Lyons (Letters from a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs) compiles quotations from Irish citizens on the devastating effects of the potato famine that ravaged Ireland between 1845 and 1852; during those years more than one-quarter of the population either died of starvation or disease, or emigrated, primarily to the U.S. Lyons explains that many of the reminiscences here are abridged from those collected in a book published in Ireland in 1995, which itself drew from the Irish Folklore Commission's efforts in the 1940s to collect stories about the Great Hunger. Given this time frame, some of these observations are first-hand, yet a significant number offer a more remote voice (e.g., "My grandmother told me of her experience when a girl of seventeen in those awful days"). Though the speakers describe affecting, even heartbreaking scenes, many entries use language that, however authentic, young readers are not likely to find compelling: "They lived from hand to mouth. Any failure in the crops meant great privation. Generally there was no money laid by." Period drawings, paintings and a handful of photos serve as illustrations. Ages 9-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Following a three page introduction about the causes and effects of the potato famine in Ireland in the 1840s, the reader discovers selected passages from first hand accounts. These are divided into thirteen brief chapters that, taken together, give a broad picture of the time period. Topics such as the search for food, the soup kitchens, starvation, fever and cholera, eviction from the land, and emigration show how the population of this island was depleted. Lyons has selected many heart-wrenching and emotionally difficult passages. These present the harsh realities of the conditions as they were; they are not sensationalized. The drawings and illustrations from mid-nineteenth century and photographs from the 1890s add to the reader's understanding of the conditions and the plight of the Irish in the last half of the nineteenth century. Not as detailed as Susan Campbell Bartoletti's Black Potatoes (2001), this is nevertheless a good source for information about this major historic event. It is a good companion book to Bartoletti. Lyons relates this famine to those around the world today and offers three web sites for information about combating world hunger. The bibliography is comprised of adult titles since so little has been written for children about the Irish famine. 2002, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $17.00. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo AGES: 9 10 11 12
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-This beautifully crafted work combines first-person accounts of Ireland's potato famine, the Great Hunger of 1845-1852, with artwork that recalls those times. Following a concise, informative introduction, the brief selections speak of the people and the land before the Great Hunger, the potato blight and subsequent starvation and illness, the poorhouse, soup kitchens, relief works, eviction, and emigration. They bear witness not only to unbearable suffering, but also to the humanity, dignity, and endurance of a people. Almost all are Irish voices, stories handed down through the families of survivors. Although no photographs of the Great Hunger exist, Irish newspapermen traveling through the country made sketches, and painters later used the theme; full-color reproductions of many are perfectly paired with the selections, as are a few photographs from a later famine. The attractive layout makes effective use of white space. The whole is a fine accompaniment to Susan Campbell Bartoletti's Black Potatoes (Houghton, 2001) and Patricia Reilly Giff's novel, Nory Ryan's Song (Delacorte, 2000), as well as powerful testimony to the suffering of famine victims worldwide.-Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the summer and fall of 1845, a plant fungus hit Ireland. In the following seven years, one million people died and another one-and-a-half million people fled the country. It was one of the terrible disasters of the 19th century, the magnitude of which will surprise most readers. This first-person account of the time is derived from oral-history projects such as that conducted in the 1940s by the Irish Folklore Commission, which collected stories from children and grandchildren of survivors. Unlike the photographic record of American slavery and the Holocaust, no known photographs of the Great Hunger exist. Lyons combines oral history with paintings from the period and sketches made by newspapermen who traveled the country in 1847. Young readers may be confused by the inclusion of photographs when the author states in the first section that no photographs of the period exist; however, the photographs she uses date from the end of the 19th century, when the fungus struck again. This attractive volume seems insubstantial on its own but will make a good match with Susan Campbell Bartoletti's recent Black Potatoes (p. 1419), which tells the story of the famine in greater depth. Lyons emphasizes that hunger is still a worldwide problem. In 1995, six million children under the age of five died from lack of nutritious food. As Lyons says, "The Irish famine is worth remembering when hunger organizations ask us to help them feed the children first." This will be a useful volume for library collections on Ireland, immigration, cities, hunger, and the 19th century. (Web sites, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 9-12)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442482920
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/6/2012
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 990,344
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary E. Lyons is the author of many books for children and young adults, including Roy Makes a Car, Feed the Children First, Dear Ellen Bee, Letters from a Slave Girl, and Sorrow's Kitchen. In addition to the Golden Kite Award and a Horn Book Fanfare for Letters from a Slave Girl, Lyons was also the recipient of a 2005 Aesop Award for Roy Makes a Car and a Carter G. Woodson Award for Sorrow's Kitchen. A teacher and former librarian, she lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. You can learn more about her at www.lyonsdenbooks.com.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Contents

The Great Hunger: 1845 - 1852

The People

The Houses and the Land

Potatoes and the Blight

Searching for Food

Starvation

Fever

The Poorhouse

Soup Kitchens

Relief Works

Eviction

Emigration and the Ships

Those Who Stayed

One Who Left

A Note to the Reader

Acknowledgments

Bibliography

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)