If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island

If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island

3.3 3
by Ellen Levine, Wayne Parmenter

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If your name were changed at Ellis Island
--Would everyone in your family travel together?
--How long would you stay at Ellis Island?
--Would your name be changed?

This book tells you what it was like if when Ellis Island was opened in 1892 as a center for immigrants coming to live in America.
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If your name were changed at Ellis Island
--Would everyone in your family travel together?
--How long would you stay at Ellis Island?
--Would your name be changed?

This book tells you what it was like if when Ellis Island was opened in 1892 as a center for immigrants coming to live in America.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Despite the book's somewhat misleading title (only two pages are devoted to the practice of changing names), Levine ( I Hate English! ; If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King ) offers a comprehensive, well organized discussion of the immigration procedures followed at Ellis Island between 1892 and 1914. One- or two-page chapters offer concise answers to questions (``What did people bring with them?'; ``What happened if you were detained?''; ``How did people learn English?''), enabling youngsters to digest easily a significant amount of information. Facts about the many rigorous routines and tests (medical, legal, literacy) that new arrivals endured are peppered with the intriguing personal reminiscences of individuals who lived through them. Sometimes sharply focused, sometimes effectively hazy, Parmenter's acrylic paintings admirably evoke the period, as well as the anguish and joy that characterized the bittersweet Ellis Island experience. Ages 7-10. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Vicki Foote
The introduction of this nonfiction book explains that it tells the stories of the immigrants who came through New York Harbor from the 1880s until 1914, when the great migrations ended. Part of a series of historical nonfiction, it is "new and updated." The book is written in a question and answer format, beginning with "What was Ellis Island?" and continues with questions and answers concerning the reasons people chose to come to America, the ocean trip, the processes at Ellis Island, and many other pertinent issues. Most of the questions are answered in one or two pages. Realistic and interesting acrylic paintings add visual information. Many facts are interspersed with stories of individuals who had particular problems, such as the girl who could not read but had to show that she could read in order to pass the literacy test. The inspector, knowing that she was religious, gave her the Lord's Prayer to "read" so she could pass the test. Another girl in the Ellis Island restaurant had never eaten a banana, and ate the skin and all. Serious issues are discussed, such as the conditions on the ships and the extensive examinations that were given before the immigrants could be admitted to the country. The closing pages give information about visiting Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty along with a Web site, address, and telephone and fax numbers. It is all written in a style that is clear, informative, and relevant to the interests of the young reader, and should be a great addition to social studies curriculum.

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
If You.
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 7.30(h) x 0.20(d)
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

How did people escape on the Underground Railroad? What was it like to land on Ellis Island?How did it feel to travel the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon? Ellen Levine has revealed worldsof fascinating adventure with her nonfiction books for young readers.

Although Ellen Levine enjoys reading and writing fiction, most of her books for young readershave been nonfiction. “Writing nonfiction lets me in behind the scenes of the story. I enjoylearning new things and meeting new people, even if they lived 200 years ago.”

“Real heroes,” Levine says, “aren't necessarily on TV or in the news. They can be ordinarypeople who are willing to take risks for causes they believe in. Nonfiction offers a way tointroduce young readers to real people who have shown tremendous courage, even when facedwith great danger. All of us have the potential. And one doesn't have to be a grown-up,” sheadds.

When she's not writing, Levine likes to share the excitement of research and the importance ofaccuracy with young readers. “Many young people think research is dull; you go to anencyclopedia, copy information, give it a title, and call it a report.” Using her books asexamples, Ellen explains how to get other, more interesting information. “I may not mention theexact words, but I talk to young people about primary and secondary sources. If I'm speakingwith third graders, I ask them, 'Where would I go if I wanted to find out what it's like to be athird grader?' Most will say, 'Read a book.' But when they say, 'Ask a third grader,' I knowthey've understood what I mean by a primary source of inspiration.”

For If You Were an Animal Doctor, for example, Ellen witnessed an emergency operation on acow. While doing research in Wyoming for Ready, Aim, Fire!, her biography of Annie Oakley,she got to hold the gun Ms. Oakley is believed to have shot in the presence of the Queen ofEngland. “It gave me such a strong feeling about this person,” she says. “That's part of research,too.”

Ellen Levine is the author of many acclaimed books, both fiction and nonfiction. Among them:If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon, If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island, I Hate English!, If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King, and Secret Missions. Her recent book, Freedom's Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories, was named one of the Ten Best Children's Books of the Year by The New York Times, and Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association.

Ellen divides her time between New York City and Salem, New York.

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