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Island of Hope: The Story of Ellis Island and the Journey to America

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The moving story of immigration to America as told through the passionate voices and stories of those who passed through Ellis Island.

On January 1, 1892, a fifteen-year-old Irish girl named Annie Moore made history when she became the first person to be processed at a new immigrant station at Ellis Island in New York Harbor. In the next 62 years more than 12 million other immigrants would follow. Many of these newcomers would be "pushed" into America--fleeing religious ...

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Overview

The moving story of immigration to America as told through the passionate voices and stories of those who passed through Ellis Island.

On January 1, 1892, a fifteen-year-old Irish girl named Annie Moore made history when she became the first person to be processed at a new immigrant station at Ellis Island in New York Harbor. In the next 62 years more than 12 million other immigrants would follow. Many of these newcomers would be "pushed" into America--fleeing religious persecution, political oppression, or economic harships in their native lands. Millions of others would be "pulled" into the United States by the promise of new opportunities.

Once they arrived at Ellis, they were put through the traumatic experience

Relates the story of immigration to America through the voices and stories of those who passed through Ellis Island, from its opening in 1892 to the release of the last detainee in 1954.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This winning history of Ellis Island relies wherever possible on the voices and recollections of the immigrants themselves, giving a personal tone to the writing. Sandler (The Story of Photography) ably captures the lure of America (both real and exaggerated), the hardship and sacrifice required for the journey, as well as the arduousness of navigating the circuitous and sometimes arbitrary bureaucracies of Ellis Island (including the handing back and forth of the currency required to enter, humorous stories behind some of the infamous name changes, and agonizing decisions about who to send back if a family needed to separate). He also describes the often disappointing and challenging experiences of immigrants once they landed in America, from tenements to child labor to westward expansion. As one immigrant recalled, "We thought the streets were paved with gold. Most weren't even paved. We paved them." Black-and-white photographs support the text and compelling sidebars delve more deeply into such topics as beloved New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, who worked at Ellis Island, mail-order brides and child labor laws. The narrative also emphasizes the role of children and teens, who often learned the language and customs more quickly than their parents and assumed great responsibility in families. Like Veronica Lawlor's I Was Dreaming to Come to America and Linda Granfield's 97 Orchard Street, this is an inspiring portrait of a seminal generation of Americans. Ages 8-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Sandler is a master at blending pictures and the tales of people to reveal historical stories. He succeeds once again in his latest book. It was inspired by his grandfather, a Polish immigrant whose broken English at first embarrassed young Martin. But when Sandler, as a youth, interviewed his grandfather, he saw him as a hero, who like millions of others "risked everything they had to build new lives for themselves and their children." Martin tells his readers that, "It is estimated that more than 40% of all American citizens can trace their ancestry to those who came through Ellis Island." If this fact does not spark interest, the vivid black and white pictures and individual accounts will. The text and photographs create a distinct picture of the disparity between first class and steerage passengers and the difference between life in famine-filled Ireland and life later in America. The most powerful part of the book comes when Sandler points the lens of his historical camera directly at life at Ellis Island. His focus is clear and precise. His details and examples portray the poignancy of the place, the time, and the people. Personal stories show the fear immigrants felt about the dreaded eye disease or about being turned back for lack of money. They found the new language, the new money, and the new food confusing. The author includes compassionate stories of people who were kind to detainees and of happy reunions at a landmark called the "Kissing Post." The book's strong emotional quality is complemented by surprising statistics. For example, for a time, the Ellis Island hospital was the largest medical facility in the world. During sixty years of operation some 350 babies weredelivered there. 2004, Scholastic, Ages 10 up.
—Susie Wilde
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-The author seamlessly blends factual information with the moving words and stories of those passing through Ellis Island during its years of operation, 1892-1954. A magnificent tribute to those immigrants, the book tells why they came, their experiences in transit, the various inspections they endured upon arrival, what happened to detainees, and, finally, setting out to establish new lives. Expressed here are the hopes, heartaches, and even the humor of the immigrant experience: one Swedish detainee, served bread and a bowl filled "with red stuff," told her sister dinner was "bread and blood." She had never seen tomato soup before. Frequent black-and-white illustrations, primarily photographs common to other works on Ellis Island, have been cropped at corners to resemble photographs in an album. Boxed text provides additional information on such topics as picture brides, various individuals, and the West Coast's immigrant processing center, Angel Island. The only jarring note: it was in 1965, not 1954, that Ellis Island was added to the Statue of Liberty National Monument. This lucid, well-composed work should be in basic immigrant collections to serve both browsers and report writers.-Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Depending on how you fared, Ellis Island was the Island of Hope or the Island of Tears. Twelve million immigrants entered America through its portals, but 250,000 were sent back home to the starvation or political oppression or pogroms they thought they had escaped. It was the greatest human migration in history, as millions were either pushed out of their countries or pulled by the "promise of America" and the lure of jobs, land, and a better life. Sandler's writing is clear and full of fascinating details. Ellis Island, for example, had the largest hospital and the largest dining hall in the world. Immigrants expected to find streets paved in gold and mistook skyscrapers for mountains. The immigrants' own words tell much of the story, and well-selected archival photographs supplement the text. Clearly a labor of love and an ode to Sandler's grandfather Louis Sage, the volume is a fitting tribute and a fine resource. (introduction, author's note, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 8+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439530828
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2004
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 7 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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