Gittel's Journey: An Ellis Island Story (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

The year is 1900. At the last minute Gittel’s mother is not allowed by a health inspector to immigrate to America. Nine year-Gittel must travel alone and this is her story. Kind strangers help Gittel find her family in America. This is a moving tale of immigration based on Leslea Newman’s family and friends. Included in the book is an author’s note with family history and photos, along with a glossary of Yiddish words. The watercolor illustrations are lovely and eye-catching. Beautiful borders and endpapers enhance the wonderful design of the book.

Grades 2 to 5

— From Joan's Picks

About the Author

Lesléa Newman is the author of 70 books for adults and children. Her literary awards include a National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellowship, the Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Award, and the Massachusetts Book Award. She lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Amy Bates is the illustrator of Bear in the Air, Minette’s Feast, and The Dog Who Belonged to No One. She lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Praise For…

"Mixed-media images by Bates (The Big Umbrella), washed in yellows and browns and framed by woodblock motifs, give readers a vivid sense of the historical context while infusing the story with a timeless emotional immediacy. Newman (Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed) skillfully modulates her narration, capturing her protagonist’s feelings of excitement, loneliness, and fear. The ending, handled with both restraint and warmth, relies on one of those improbable twists of good fortune that define so many immigrant stories—and it’s based on a real event."

— Publishers Weekly

"Beautifully designed and illustrated . . . The watercolor illustrations artfully capture an era and people."

— School Library Journal

"Newman's spare yet evocative text works well as a read-aloud, and the solution to Gittel's problem . . . is both clever and true . . . She [Bates] employs Old World style decorative frames throughout (setting off both art and text), appropriate to the story's turn-of-the-century setting."

— Booklist

"The illustrations are beautiful . . . Classroom teachers can use as an example text showing one child’s story of immigration. An excellent addition to a library collection."

— School Library Connection

"Newman tells Gittel’s story with sympathy and tenderness, incorporating Jewish phrases (italicized) and customs and placing within it facts about that time and place. Gittel’s every emotion is felt in Bates’ soft, earth-toned, framed illustrations reminiscent of old-time sepia photographs . . . A heartfelt, lovely evocation of one facet of the immigrant experience."

— Kirkus Reviews
Product Details
ISBN: 9781419727474
ISBN-10: 1419727478
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Publication Date: February 5th, 2019
Pages: 48
Language: English