Sarah, Also Known As Hannah

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More About This Book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An undercurrent of pain and grief runs throughout this account of the author's mother's journey from the Ukraine to Ellis Island in 1910. The novel opens with a father's death in the tiny town of Lisec; his widow struggles to care for their four children. An uncle in America offers to sponsor the oldest child, 16-year-old Hannah, and mails tickets for her passage. Hannah, thrilled, prepares for her voyage, but at the last minute her mother decides it would be more prudent to use Hannah's passport to send Sarah, 12, instead. Both girls are devastated--Hannah because she has lost her ``golden opportunity,'' Sarah because she feels rejected by her mother. Sarah's sense of loss and her worries about her use of Hannah's passport complicate the already fraught journey to America. In showing the darker, more mournful aspects of a classic immigration story, Ross enriches the reader's understanding of those huddled masses yearning to breathe free. But she also infects the reader with Sarah's anxiety: a note at the beginning quotes a tearful Sarah at the age of 91 (``A very sad story. My mother sent me away''), and the absence of an epilogue creates the impression of lasting, unbearable sorrow. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-When Mr. Kamornick dies in the Ukraine in 1910, his widow writes to her brother in America, asking him to take in her daughters since she cannot provide dowries for them. He replies that he can afford third-class passage for just the older daughter, Hannah. She gets her passport, but a few weeks before her departure, her mother decides that it would be better for Sarah, 12, to go instead. What follows is a straightforward account of Sarah's journey to nearby Stanislav and then by train to Hamburg, her crossing of the Atlantic, and her meeting with her aunt and uncle at Ellis Island. A pleasant, quietly told tale based on the experiences of the author's mother, this has neither the excitement nor the vivid descriptions of Evelyn Mayerson's The Cat Who Escaped from Steerage (Scribners, 1990).-Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA
Ellen Mandel
As if life weren't difficult enough for a Jewish family in the Ukraine at the turn of the century, 12-year-old Sarah's father dies, leaving his widow alone to raise four children. Knowing no other way to cope, Sarah's mother plans to send her two daughters to her brother in America, but he can pay passage only for one girl and requests 16-year-old Hannah. At almost the last minute, however, Mama decides she needs Hannah's help and income; therefore, Sarah is to go in Hannah's place. Heartsick at leaving her family, troubled to think she's a burden to her mother, and terrified by the trip she faces alone, the 12-year-old recounts her experiences on the long journey and, finally, the tentative reunion with her uncle and aunt on Ellis Island. Retelling her own mother's story, Ross has written a moving testament to the courage, resilience, and hopefulness born of desperation that motivated young immigrants such as Sarah and her mother. Cogancherry's black-and-white drawings effectively reinforce the adventure's realities.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807572375
  • Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
  • Publication date: 4/1/1994
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 550L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.25 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 0.47 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2008

    i hate it

    i don't recommend that you let your child read this nonsense I'm a teacher myself

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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