I WAS DREAMING TO COME TO AMERICA by Veronica Lawlor

I WAS DREAMING TO COME TO AMERICA

Memories from the Ellis Island Oral History Project
Age Range: 10 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Fifteen memories of Ellis Island--taken from interviews with immigrants who arrived in the early 1900s--add up to the American dream come true. With few exceptions, these simple accounts come from ordinary people (brief biographies on each appear in the back of the book). They got married, became citizens, worked as salesmen, dressmakers, real estate agents. But in each one the first sight of this new land, so strange it was like ``going to the moon,'' inspired eloquent and moving reflections. Ellis Island is described in its enormity, like ``a whole city in one building,'' but also as a place where the children were given warm milk twice a day ``in small little paper cups.'' There is music and camaraderie in steerage; permanent separations from family back home (``you don't have no mother no more''); and a reunion with a somehow familiar- looking stranger (``I didn't know he was my father''). Perfectly matching the selections of her first book, Lawlor's cut-paper collages, like dreams in flight, celebrate the only country where ``you're not a stranger because we're all strangers,'' and a time when America's sacred promise of freedom from fear and want could be held out to all. (Picture book/nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-670-86164-2
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1995




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