I Was Dreaming to Come to America: Memories from the Ellis Island

Overview

In their own words, immigrants recall their arrival in the United States. Includes brief biographies and facts about the Ellis Island Oral History Project.

In their own words, coupled with hand-painted collage illustrations, immigrants recall their arrival in the United States. Includes brief biographies and facts about the Ellis Island Oral History Project.

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Overview

In their own words, immigrants recall their arrival in the United States. Includes brief biographies and facts about the Ellis Island Oral History Project.

In their own words, coupled with hand-painted collage illustrations, immigrants recall their arrival in the United States. Includes brief biographies and facts about the Ellis Island Oral History Project.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lawlor's debut, a picture-book collection of pieces culled from the Ellis Island Oral History Project, is visually and emotionally stunning. In 15 carefully chosen excerpts, immigrants from various ethnic backgrounds recount their reasons for coming to America and describe their feelings about leaving their country, about making the trip or about arriving on a foreign shore; all but two of the narrators were under 20, one only six at the time of their voyages. Whatever the circumstances, each vignette reflects a strong sense of hope. Lawlor's handpainted paper collages are equally powerful. Their haunting images are strikingly set against ecru-colored pages that bear faintly printed motifs from the pictures they border. Spare details-a girl floating past Lady Liberty, a figure literally putting down roots in two lands-capture these travelers' turbulent emotions. This selection gives credence to the reminiscences of an Ellis Island inspector: "In those days there were crying and laughing and singing all the time at Ellis Island." Ages 12-up. (June)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Handpainted collages by Lawlor grace these short yet moving glimpses into the lives of immigrants who braved the sea voyage to America. They were all children when they arrived, and their memories are the things a child remembers: a mother's treasured high-top shoes; being hungry, yet feeding a breakfast of strange American oatmeal to the birds; and leaving Ellis Island decorated with identification tags. This is an affecting little book that should help all of us remember the grit and hope that formed our nation. 1997 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Begun in 1975, the Ellis Island Oral History Project is an informal collection of interviews with individuals who immigrated to the U.S. through Ellis Island. Short selections-each 1 or 2 paragraphs long-from 15 of those interviews are reprinted here. The subjects were for the most part children when they arrived in the period 1900-1925. One was future Israeli leader Golda Meir. Many of the selections describe the facility itself; others talk of family and feelings. Opposite each remembrance is a striking, childlike, hand-painted collage; both are superimposed on a beige-toned reproduction of the collage picture. This is an attractive offering, but beyond mere browsing it may lack an audience. Other books geared to specific immigrant groups, such as the Hooblers' The Irish American Family Album (1995) and The Italian American Family Album (1994, both Oxford) contain similar information quoted more extensively.-Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA
Hazel Rochman
nger for reading aloud. "Going to America then was almost like going to the moon." Distilling the experience of the 12 million European immigrants who came through Ellis Island, this small picture book draws on the oral histories of people who remember how it was. Each left-hand page quotes one or two paragraphs from personal interviews: people talk about what they left behind, the journey to America, what they expected, their first impressions, and what they found. For example, a former immigration official describes the "Kissing Post" on the island, where loved ones embraced after their long separation. On the right-hand page, facing the words, are framed collage folk-art pictures whose playful fantasy expresses the energy, the dreaming, and the dislocation of the immigrant experience. One picture shows the brown high-top shoes that a woman has kept all these years because her mother wore them when she first set foot on American soil. Appended is a brief biography of each person quoted. As Lawlor says, this account is the "melting pot" view of American immigration. Use it with books such as Allen Say's "Grandfather's Journey" (1993) and Jacob Lawrence's "The Great Migration" (1993) to extend the account and to help kids seek out their own family stories.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780613028431
  • Publisher: Demco Media
  • Publication date: 8/28/1997
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 40
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.16 (h) x 0.36 (d)

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