Jewish Values: At Ellis Island: A History in Many Voices

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44 p.
The Ellis Island travails of immigrants, some fictional and some real, are presented anecdotally, connected by a continuous narrative spokenin the voice of Sera, an Armenian child, who is traveling alone to join her father in America. The design and format of the book are excellent, with varied type fonts, eye-catching use of color, well-placed text and design elements, documentary photographs, and somber gouache illustrations. Quoting Ellis Island interpreters and inspectors as well as young immigrants, the text gives an account of many of the regulatory hurdles that newcomers had to face during the inspection process and imparts a sense of the hardship, fear, and often heartbreak that they experienced. For Sera, the Armenian child, the ending is a happy one because she is united with her father and shown, in a full-page illustration, embracing him with joy. Although there is no specific Jewish content to the story, it conveys a realistic picture of the experiences of many immigrants, lauds their courage, and suggests some of the desperate circumstances that propelled them to leave their homes. (Sera’s mother and other family members have been murdered—presumably by Turks during the Armenian genocide.) It is a worthwhile addition to literature about Ellis Island for children
13: 978-0-689-83026-6; ISBN-10: 0-689-83026-2.
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