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Children's LiteratureOur country is composed largely of immigrants, who have woven their cultures and traditions into the fabric of America. Part of the series "Immigrants in America," this beautifully written reference book reads like a story. In its first pages, the author presents the fact that the Roanoke, Virginia colony included a Jew named Joachim Gaunse, a mining engineer recruited by Sir Walter Raleigh. Pre-dating even this was Columbus, widely thought to have been a forcibly-converted Jew who fled Spain "a month ahead of schedule, coinciding with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella's banishment of all Jews from Spain." Several of his crew members were also Jews, and over the years, Jewish immigrants fleeing religious persecution eventually spread to all sections of the country as pioneers, scouts, tradesmen, doctors, financiers, statesmen and other capacities. This tiny minority has embraced the religious freedom of America by contributing to the arts, sciences, law—indeed, every human endeavor—far out of proportion to its numbers. Strict observance of Jewish traditions has often suffered in the process of becoming American, but many observances and customs (such as Bar and Bat Mitzvah, Passover Seder and Yiddish/Hebrew expressions) are well known to the general population today. Even more important, those Jews who wish to adhere to every aspect of their religion have the freedom to do so. This is a beautifully done book, crammed with photographs that will appeal to children—well-known public figures like humorist Adam Sandler, creator of Barbie dolls Ruth Handler, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It will be an excellent vehicle for school curricula. 2004, Lucent/Gale,Ages 8 to 12.