cover image --If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island

--If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island

Ellen Levine. Scholastic, $15.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-590-46134-4

Despite the book's somewhat misleading title (only two pages are devoted to the practice of changing names), Levine ( I Hate English! ; If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King ) offers a comprehensive, well organized discussion of the immigration procedures followed at Ellis Island between 1892 and 1914. One- or two-page chapters offer concise answers to questions (``What did people bring with them?'; ``What happened if you were detained?''; ``How did people learn English?''), enabling youngsters to digest easily a significant amount of information. Facts about the many rigorous routines and tests (medical, legal, literacy) that new arrivals endured are peppered with the intriguing personal reminiscences of individuals who lived through them. Sometimes sharply focused, sometimes effectively hazy, Parmenter's acrylic paintings admirably evoke the period, as well as the anguish and joy that characterized the bittersweet Ellis Island experience. Ages 7-10. (Apr.)