Most immigrants were introduced to America at the complex Ellis Island Immigration Station. In the years between 1892 and the station's closing in 1954, the efficient center processed over 17 million newcomers. Following a variety of fictional characters, readers are led through the facility and experience the sights and sounds much as the immigrants did. Through the words and observations of immigrants Anna, Heidi, Thomas the grouper, Inspector Simpson, and Joseph the interpreter, readers share firsthand their apprehension, indignity, fear, frustration and joy. The well-documented, lively text is accompanied by fascinating sidebars, photographs and diagrams. An afterward explains how Ellis Island fell into disrepair and the efforts of many to create a museum as a legacy to all who passed through its portals. 2001, Lerner Publications, $25.26. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-These series titles purport to bring historic sites to life, but tread a fine line between fact and fiction. Each book begins with the background of the particular site, and then introduces people who were or might have been associated with it. A concluding chapter brings the site up to its present restoration. Jane Addams is the first occupant of Hull-House readers meet, followed by two children who belong to clubs there; a worker who comes to hear about women's rights; and Florence Kelley, Alice Hamilton, and Julia Lathrop, who worked alongside Addams. The characters on Ellis Island include a young Russian immigrant, an immigration service worker, an inspector, a young translator, and a family leaving there to live in the United States. The time on Old Ironsides occurs during the War of 1812, and readers encounter a sailor, a former passenger, the ship's doctor, and a boy who carries gunpowder around the ship. Unfortunately, none of these characters comes to life as an engaging person, whether actual or fictional. The authors write in a dry, slightly condescending tone. The main value of these volumes will be in sparking interest that leads to further reading of either historical fiction with these settings or solid nonfiction and biographies. The books are lavishly illustrated with photographs and drawings.-Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.