LETTERS FROM RIFKA by Karen Hesse

LETTERS FROM RIFKA

Age Range: 10 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Beginning in Russia in 1919, this epistolary novel, based on experiences of the author's great-aunt, tells how 12-year-old Rifka Nebrot and her family fled the anti-Semitism of post-revolutionary Russia and emigrated to the US. The letters, each prefaced by a few telling lines of Pushkin, tell of the fear, indignities, privation, and disease endured as they traveled through Poland and into Belgium, where Rifka had to be left behind for several months because she was unacceptable as a steamship passenger: she had ringworm. Finally reaching Ellis Island, she was held in quarantine because the ringworm had left her bald--making her an undesirable immigrant because it was thought that she'd be unable to find a husband to support her. Eventually, Rifka talked her way into the country; her energy, cleverness, and flair for languages convinced officials that she wouldn't become a ward of the state. Told with unusual grace and simplicity, an unforgettable picture of immigrant courage, ingenuity, and perseverance. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-8050-1964-2
Page count: 148pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1992




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