Hope and Tears: Ellis Island Voices

Gwenyth Swain, Author
Gwenyth Swain. Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek, $17.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-59078-765-6
Reviewed on: 02/27/2012
Release date: 03/01/2012
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An estimated 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954. Swain pairs captivating photographs with poems that give voice to some of those individuals, along with short, descriptive essays. One poem is written from the perspective of a Hungarian girl, who arrived at Ellis Island on Christmas Eve 1919 and met “Santa” for the first time. “Oh, how I wished for a teddy bear./ But Santa Claus didn’t speak Hungarian.” Other works convey the agony of being turned away for having trachoma, an eye disease, or for being deemed an “undesirable.” A rich pairing of fact and imagination that provides genuine insight into the immigrant experience. Ages 8–up. (Mar.)
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