Pages: 68 pages
Finished: July 5, 2010
First Published: 1980
Publisher: Puffin Books
Genre: children, non-fiction, history
In the years around the turn of the century, immigration to America reached an all-time high.
Acquired: Bought and own a copy.
Reason for Reading: Read aloud to my son as part of his history curriculum.
Russell Freedman is an award winning author with an extensive backlist and I've always been confident when seeing his name on a book. This is an over-sized book, profusely illustrated with contemporary photographs. Sometimes the photograph will take up more page space than the text and many times a whole page is devoted to the photograph. The text concentrates on 1890s-1900s immigration, coming into Ellis Island and living in New York City. The children are the focus and each chapter takes a look at a specific aspect of their live work, play, school. The book is peppered here and there will actual quotes from people who were once the children this book speaks of.
The photographs are wonderful and the book can be enjoyed simply by looking through the pictures and reading the captions. It is the photos that make this book. Unfortunately, we were not very impressed with the text. It had no cohesiveness, told no one's story, just randomly gave out information, which was interesting per se, but neither of us had any connection with the author's style of imparting that information. Rather a disappointment from a book authored by Russell Freedman. I recommend getting this book out from the library and looking at the photographs as they are definitely worthwhile.