Maggie's Amerikay

Overview

“In Amerikay,” Maggie’s da has told her, “we will start anew.”

It’s 1898, and Maggie McCrary and her family have just crossed the ocean to settle in New Orleans. America is the answer to her father’s dream of books and proper learning. For her

mother, it offers the chance to buy land. But living in a crowded tenement watching her neighbors work hard all day, Maggie isn’t sure she likes Amerikay. Then Maggie discovers kinship in Nathan, an ...

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New York 2006 Hardcover First Edition; First Printing New in New dust jacket 0374347220. First Edition New book. It's 1898 and McCrary and and her family just crossed the ... Atlantic Ocian for America.; 0.5 x 12.1 x 9.1 Inches; 40 pages. Read more Show Less

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Overview

“In Amerikay,” Maggie’s da has told her, “we will start anew.”

It’s 1898, and Maggie McCrary and her family have just crossed the ocean to settle in New Orleans. America is the answer to her father’s dream of books and proper learning. For her

mother, it offers the chance to buy land. But living in a crowded tenement watching her neighbors work hard all day, Maggie isn’t sure she likes Amerikay. Then Maggie discovers kinship in Nathan, an African American boy, and hope in the ragtime music he plays – music that seems to shout: Free! Free! I choose who I will be!

Striking illustrations pull readers into the rich mix of people that make up New Orleans in the 1890s and into the story of one young girl’s quest to find her own place in America.

Maggie's Amerikay is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This handsome picture book reveals the plight of immigrants at the turn of the century while paying tribute to the city where jazz was born." —School Library Journal

"With deft dialogue and well-chosen phrases, Russell enlivens the period." —Kirkus Reviews

"With New Orleans so much in the news, this book will draw children to the city's vibrant history and music." —Booklist

Children's Literature
The year is 1898. Maggie and her family have just immigrated from Ireland to New Orleans. Her father sells his wares from a street cart, and the family is struggling to buy a home. Dad insists that his daughter go to school, but Maggie's not sure why she had to leave her homeland and certainly is not pleased to be in this new place. Yellow fever, the street scenes, and the musicians all come to life with Jim Burke's distinctive style. His wonderful muted illustrations depict Maggie being teased as she carries her books to school and Mam's worry as she cares for baby Bessie. The text follows perfectly, and the story comes alive with Russell's perfect ear for the first person narrative. Maggie befriends a young African-American boy who leads her to an "old man propped up in bed" who pays her to write for him. The unusual setting of New Orleans during this time period provides a different perspective for young people to learn how families coped with the hardships of immigration and with intolerance that crosses racial lines. 2006, Farrar Straus Giroux, Ages 6 to 9.
—Augusta Scattergood
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-The year is 1898, and Maggie McCrary has recently moved from Ireland to New Orleans, where her father hopes to one day buy land. To this end, he spends his days walking the streets with his pushcart. He befriends a young Negro boy who yearns for the old cornet on the barrow. The kindhearted man, sensing a kindred spirit and true musician, gives the child the instrument. Meanwhile, Mam stays home, sewing piecework to make ends meet. When the baby gets yellow fever, Maggie is determined to help out, even though her father disapproves of her working. At first, she rolls cigars after school for 50 cents a week. Then, Nathan tells her of a job as a scribe for Daddy Clements, an old man who tells her stories about being taken from Africa to America, fighting in the Civil War, and his people's fight for freedom. Maggie listens and learns, but also teaches him that her people had similar struggles. Rich with experience, accomplishment, independence, and two dollars, the solemn girl finally claps and dances to Nathan's cornet and his band of ragtime musicians. Burke's realistic paintings are dark with a muted palette, capturing the period as well as the characters' sentiments. This handsome picture book reveals the plight of immigrants at the turn of the century while paying tribute to the city where jazz was born.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An Irish immigrant family scrimps to earn its place in New Orleans in 1898. Because of her peddler father's belief in education, narrator Maggie stays in school, despite their poverty. When baby Bessie contracts yellow fever, Mam forgoes her sewing work to nurse her. Maggie searches for work, first rolling cigars with other girls for 50 cents a week. A little black boy, to whom Da gave a used cornet, repays her with a job. In Storyville, Maggie writes the dictated memoirs of ex-slave Daddy Clements, and at week's end, with Bessie recovering, she has two whole dollars to give Da. In another encounter with Nathan, she peeks from the street as he (evoking the young Louis Armstrong) sits in with ragtime musicians, blowing his heart out. Burke's paintings depict both crowded streetscapes and the emotions of Maggie and those she encounters. In dimly lit compositions, details-shadows cast by pigeons on a wall; steam rising from a bowl of hot water-mesh with the spare yet nuanced text. With deft dialogue and well-chosen phrases, Russell enlivens the period, when the poor competed for jobs, death in childhood was more common than anomalous and a vibrant city gave birth to jazz. (historical note) (Picture book. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374347222
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 4/18/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.26 (w) x 12.18 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

BARBARA TIMBERLAKE RUSSELL's The Remembering Stone

was a commended title for the Americas Award. She lives in

Atlanta, Georgia. JIM BURKE's many illustration awards include a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators. He lives in

Brooklyn, New York.

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