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Streets Of Gold

Overview

A Polish girl comes to America at the turn of the century in this fast-paced historical novel about the immigrant experience. It's 1901. Marisia and her family flee Poland ahead of the czar's soldiers. But when they arrive at Ellis Island, Marisia's younger sister is diagnosed with tuberculosis and she and her parents are turned away. Now, with only her wits and her courage to guide her, Marisia and her brother Stefan must find their way in the New World alone. Streets of Gold is Marisia's story--the story of a ...
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Streets of Gold: A Novel

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Overview

A Polish girl comes to America at the turn of the century in this fast-paced historical novel about the immigrant experience. It's 1901. Marisia and her family flee Poland ahead of the czar's soldiers. But when they arrive at Ellis Island, Marisia's younger sister is diagnosed with tuberculosis and she and her parents are turned away. Now, with only her wits and her courage to guide her, Marisia and her brother Stefan must find their way in the New World alone. Streets of Gold is Marisia's story--the story of a spirited young girl who dreams of becoming an artist. Can she overcome the hardships of immigrant life on New York's Lower East Side, the struggle to find work, and the tyrannical views of those who stand in her way? If one dream dies, can she find another dream to live by? Deftly written, rich with historical detail, and illustrated with period photographs, Streets of Gold "will carry [you] to another time and place....Readers won't want the story to end" (Diana Pardue, Ellis Island Immigration Museum).

Marisia, a Polish teenager, comes to America at the turn of the twentieth century and must fend for herself on New York's Lower East Side.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Streets of Gold is based on actual historical events. It tells the story of the Eastern European immigrant experience in the early years of the 20th Century. Fourteen-year-old budding artist Marisia Bolinski and her older brother Stefan make the choice to stay in America as their parents, younger brother, and ill sister are turned away at Ellis Island. From Czarist-occupied Poland to the cramped tenements of New York's Lower East Side, we are treated to a richly descriptive account of Marisia's struggle as an adolescent who must make a difficult decision and face adult responsibilities. Marisia learns about the loyalty of friendship, the work ethic, and the value of staying true to one's own beliefs and convictions as she traverses the paths from oppression to freedom, youth to adulthood, and ultimately, dependence to independence. This intriguing and enriching book, illustrated with period photos, is not only a fine interdisciplinary supplement for a lesson on the immigrant experience within our nation's history, but also a tool for a comparative study alongside America's current immigrant issues. 2001, Persea Books, 216 pp., Bullock
KLIATT
Readers of the Dear America series, especially the fictional diaries of young immigrants, will especially like this historical novel about a Polish girl, 14 years old, who comes with her family to Ellis Island in 1901. The family is escaping the tyranny of the Russians who occupy their country, and especially the forced induction of young men into the Russian army. Marisia's brother Stefan has deserted the Russian army and will be executed if he remains in Poland and is discovered. So the family makes a perilous trek into Germany, evading the border guards, to board a boat to America from Hamburg. On the boat, Marisia makes friends with a girl named Sofia, slightly older, who is exquisitely beautiful and guarded carefully by her father. This friendship is pivotal. When the family arrive at Ellis Island, Marisia's little sister is turned back because she has tuberculosis and Marisia must make a quick decision whether to remain in New York with her brother Stefan, working as a maid in Sofia's family, or whether to leave with her parents and return to Germany. She chooses to stay. Most of the story concerns her experiences in New York, trying to protect her friend Sofia from marriage with a rich man she hates, nursing Stefan when he is injured on a dangerous job, trying to find a way to learn English and to draw—which is her passion. The title, Streets of Gold, is of course ironic, since Marisia, Sofia, and Stefan struggle against terrible odds just to survive and find some happiness in their new country. Small, inserted b/w photographs of the immigrant experience—the kind found at the Ellis Island museum—enhance the authentic feel of this novel. Certainly the reader comesaway from the story with a strong understanding of the perils of the immigrant journey, the low status of women at that time, the appalling working conditions immigrants faced, and the drive for freedom and success that helped them survive. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2001, Persea, 216p. illus. 21cm. 00-066892., $9.95. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; KLIATT , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 4)
VOYA
Hoping for a better life, fifteen-year-old Marisia and her family escape Poland in 1901 and board a ship headed to America. At Ellis Island, it is discovered that Marisia's little sister, Katrina, has tuberculosis. While their parents and two younger siblings are forced to return to Germany, Marisia and her older brother, Stefan, remain in the United States, struggling to find proper housing, working a variety of jobs, and sending money to their parents until the family is finally reunited after Katrina's death. There is a lot to like about this book. The narrative is full of exciting action, and the characters are realistic to the time. Although the author presents a grim picture of the difficulties that new immigrants faced, she skillfully allows the characters' optimism and determination to dominate the story. Marisia is a plucky girl, with a boldness that helps her to survive. For example, on board ship, she disguises herself to gain access to the upper decks to steal food for her hungry companions in steerage. Stefan allies himself with those anxious to start a labor union, and through him, readers gain an understanding of the danger and difficulties that the newcomers encountered and how their efforts changed life in America for the better. Readers who enjoy the Dear America series or Joan Lowery Nixon's Ellis Island books should find this novel a welcome progression from those middle grade series. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Persea Books, 224p, $9.95 Trade pb. Ages 11 to 18.Reviewer: Chris Carlson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892554003
  • Publisher: Persea Books
  • Publication date: 5/17/2001
  • Pages: 226
  • Product dimensions: 0.63 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

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