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We Came Through Ellis Island: The Immigrant Adventures of Emma Markowitz

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Readers witness the life of a Jewish family who move from Russia to New York City to escape persecution and starvation and to make a new life. Fact-filled narrative and historical photos plus fictional letters and journal entries from 12-year-old Emma Markowitz and her family paint a memorable picture of the typical European immigrant experience in the 1890s.

Readers witness the life of a Jewish family who move from Russia to New ...

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Overview

Readers witness the life of a Jewish family who move from Russia to New York City to escape persecution and starvation and to make a new life. Fact-filled narrative and historical photos plus fictional letters and journal entries from 12-year-old Emma Markowitz and her family paint a memorable picture of the typical European immigrant experience in the 1890s.

Readers witness the life of a Jewish family who move from Russia to New York City to escape persecution and make a new life.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This National Geographic series, "Am American," highlights key historical events through the created life of a single young person. The short but very real "soundbites" of text combined with dramatic photos make history approachable, accessible and interesting for a variety of young readers. Photos are much stronger and more compelling in their original black and white or sepia rather than in the "colorized" versions—poor, barefoot children selling strawberries at a rail station in Russia; the huddled masses on ships creaking their way into New York harbor; a grimy but obviously hard-working young boy selling Yiddish newspapers on the Lower East Side. Gare Thompson creates the story of Emma Markowitz, a Jew who fled Russia with her family in 1893. There are a few pages of background information but the story is told primarily through Emma's letters to her grandparents back in Russia and diary snippets from all members of the family, each providing a glimpse of the hope and despair that characterized immigrant life in America in the early 20th century. From Emma's older brother: "I hate factory work...The only fans are in the boss's office...I escape to the library." From Emma: "Next year I go to high school. Most girls stop then. Father has said I can go!" From Emma's father: "I saw a sign that said 'No Jews.'...Why do people hate others?...It is a different country. Not all things are good, but many are." There is a short list of interesting discussion ideas and activities (What does it mean to say the streets are "paved with gold in America?" Write an article that helps immigrants adjust to life in America). The series also tells individual stories that bring alive the history of theRevolutionary War, the Civil War, the journey west on the Oregon trail and the life of a servant to Abigail Adams. 2003, National Geographic,
— Karen Leggett
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792256823
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 6/10/2003
  • Series: I Am American
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.66 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

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