- ISBN-13: 9780689830266
- ISBN-10: 0689830262
- Publisher: Atheneum Books
- Publish Date: May 2007
- Page Count: 44
- Reading Level: Ages 7-10
- Dimensions: 11.24 x 8.82 x 0.44 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.11 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 60.
- Review Date: 2007-06-25
- Reviewer: Staff
In a tribute to the millions who came to America through Ellis Island, the pair behind Crossing the Delaware weaves together a historical tapestry of real-life anecdotes with the fictional, first-person accounts of two children’s visits—nearly 100 years apart—to the immigrant-processing station. The opening account (in blocky red typeface) features the thoughts of a contemporary young tourist recalling her great-great grandmother’s arrival to the island. This narrative presents much of the book’s factual content (“Children could not pass through alone. Sometimes they had to wait for days until an adult already in the country came to meet them”). In blue script, a parallel story is told through the letters of Sera, a 10-year-old Armenian immigrant, coming to America at the turn of the 20th century. She’s writing to her mother, and it’s only when Sera is almost sent back (her father is late coming to claim her) that readers realize her mother died in a massacre. “Back? Back to Armenia? But they will kill me! I will be dead like you, Mama. I scream, long and high, and turn to run.” Sera’s epistolary tale incorporates other actual events, including the sinking of the passenger ship, Mongolia. Krudop’s soft-edged, poignant gouache illustrations of Sera’s journey from ship’s rail to her father’s arms are juxtaposed with stark black-and-white archival images. Each spread’s busy layout includes photographs of and quotations from actual immigrants. Though it may require rereading several pages to follow the threads of the separate voices, the effort is worth it. Peacock has seamlessly stitched together fact and fiction and presented a composite picture of courage and hope. Ages 7-10. (June)
The doorway for a century of immigrants
My eight-year-old twins and I pored over At Ellis Island: A History in Many Voices written by Louise Peacock and illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop the night before we toured Ellis Island. It was the perfect introduction to one of the most fascinating spots in American historyand the place where my daughters' great-grandparents arrived from Ireland years ago.
This book packs plenty into its pages in a compelling way: historical photos, quotes from various immigrants and Ellis Island workers, illustrative paintings and the fictional diary of Sera, a 10-year-old girl whose mother has died, on a ship from Armenia. These different facets work well together to create an incredibly vivid, informative look at the difficulties of traveling to a strange land and experiencing the joy, confusion and fears of the Ellis Island bureaucracy.