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Threads and Flames
     

Threads and Flames

4.4 5
by Esther Friesner
 

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It's 1910, and thirteen-year-old Raisa has just traveled alone from a small Polish shtetl all the way to New York City. It's overwhelming, awe-inspiring, and even dangerous, especially when she discovers that her sister has disappeared and she must now fend for herself. She finds work in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory sewing bodices on the popular shirtwaists. Raisa

Overview

It's 1910, and thirteen-year-old Raisa has just traveled alone from a small Polish shtetl all the way to New York City. It's overwhelming, awe-inspiring, and even dangerous, especially when she discovers that her sister has disappeared and she must now fend for herself. She finds work in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory sewing bodices on the popular shirtwaists. Raisa makes friends and even-dare she admit it?- falls in love. But then 1911 dawns, and one March day a spark ignites in the factory. One of the city's most harrowing tragedies unfolds, and Raisa's life is forever changed. . . .

One hundred years after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, this moving young adult novel gives life to the tragedy and hope of this transformative event in American history.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jeanne K. Pettenati J.D.
Young Raisa journeys alone from a small village in Poland to New York City at the turn of the century. She is searching for her beloved older sister, her only surviving blood relative. During the transatlantic trip, the mother of a fellow traveler dies, and Raisa takes responsibility for the little girl. Together they make it through Ellis Island, and are almost swallowed up in the sea of people and languages surrounding them. After some unlucky breaks, Raisa finds them a place to live and a job as a seamstress. She is a clever girl and works hard at learning English. Raisa is a strong, likable female protagonist. Readers will find themselves immersed in her world, sharing her successes and hardships alike. Raisa's story is set against the backdrop of the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. A well told piece of historical fiction, readers will be outraged to learn that the greedy Triangle Factory bosses locked exits to stairwells to prevent stealing, which resulted in many avoidable deaths on that awful day. Workers mobilized after this tragedy so that it might never happen again; however, the guilty bosses were never brought to justice properly. Well written and engaging, this novel will educate and entertain readers. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101445389
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
11/24/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
861,015
File size:
322 KB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Nebula Award winner Esther Friesner is the author of more than 30 novels and 180 short stories. She lives in Madison, Connecticut.

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Threads and Flames 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Lawral More than 1 year ago
I think the best thing about Threads and Flames is that Friesner provides oodles of information and context without ever making me feel that I'm reading a book about the plight of immigrants or factory girls and how the injustices they faced lead to the tragedy of the Triangle fire. I was simply reading an engaging story about Raisa's new life in America, complete with a little bit of mystery, a little bit of (the cutest without being the least bit saccharine) romance, and a whole lot of my-gumption-is-both-my-greatest-flaw-and-my-greatest-strength. And yet I finished the book knowing a lot about how the ill-treatment of immigrants in general and factory girls in particular created the perfect storm of awfulness that caused so many deaths in the fire. While the book is undoubtedly about the Triangle fire, Raisa doesn't even start working at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory until at least halfway through the book, maybe more. Usually, this delay of the "point" of the story would drive me batty, but in this instance, I didn't mind the wait. Raisa is such a fun character; she's so headstrong and determined to do what is right for her sisters, both Henda and Brina. It never occurs to her that she shouldn't take responsibility for Brina, even though she can barely take care of herself. I was rooting for her before she even got to Ellis Island. Raisa's little romance with Gavrel is also handled beautifully. When you're reading about Raisa who is on her own and working more than full time to make enough money to cover room and board for two people, it's easy to forget how young she is. Her relationship with Gavrel, however, with all of Raisa's do I or don't I feelings, constantly reminded me that she's just in her early teens. Their romance had all the little flutters of any middle grade romance, but with the added seriousness of two people, no matter how young, who work full time and both immediately start working even more when they "get serious." That's why they're both in the factory on the Saturday when it catches fire. The fire itself is gruesome. The rush for the elevators after finding all the doors locked, the description of girls jumping from the windows rather than dying the flames, the display of unclaimed bodies that Raisa must search for Gavrel afterwards. The broken families who either found bodies to claim or were left with nothing. It's all so harsh. We see it all through Raisa who is still so determined to do what's right, who finds another job right away, and who becomes the strength and stability that Brina and Gavrel's family need in the fire's aftermath. Watching her continue on was possibly just as, if not more, heartbreaking as the fire itself. Slightly spoilery: When the ending was happier than I would have expected, it did not feel like a cop-out on Friesner's part. I was just happy Raisa got a little bit of what she deserved. End spoiler. There was recently a request on the yalsa-bk list-serv for fiction books that teach the reader something. I wish I had finished reading this book in time to suggest it! Threads and Flames is so informative, but it's still great fiction too. I highly recommend it! Book source: Philly Free Library
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont know how to describe this journey through the book.... its just sooooo wonderful. Thos story will remain in my heart forever :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book in a bargain basement store. I wasn't sure if it wasgoing to be anygood,but boy,was I surprised. This story allows you to live the immigrant experience through the eyes of a young girl who is forced to grow up quickly. This book is among my favorites.
TexasStarVA More than 1 year ago
...than about the Triangle fire. The story is about the journey of a young girl who leaves her Fiddler On The Roof village, goes through Ellis Island and arrives in America speaking no English. After many, many struggles and obstacles, eventually she manages to get a "good" job with the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, but by that time, it's just one more daily struggle instead of the unspeakable horror Triangle has become infamous for. Excellent book for a young person interested in immigration, Ellis Island, and NYC tenement life, but sometimes I got exhausted just reading about it.
JoanofArcreader More than 1 year ago
Speechless. It's all I can say. Fighting for sisterhood. Fighting for a life with your sister, one you haven't seen in a long time.