We've been away

Guess where we've been?

I had to speak at a conference in NYC last week and Hels joined me. I hadn't been to New York since I was in high school but we managed just fine.

The highlights for Hels were visiting Macy's...."it was mind-blowing, Mom" ...and visiting the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. We also went to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Chinatown, and the Museum of Natural History.

Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island

Visiting the Tenement Museum was really interesting. That, combined with Ellis Island, gave us renewed respect and understanding for the 12 million immigrants who came to America 100 years ago.

Tenement Sweatshop

Visiting Chinatown gave us respect for the continued immigrant story as we tried to speak with people who clearly knew no English. We also wondered how all those super-cheap items on the street were made and by whom.

So now we're home. I'm so happy to be back in Vermont! I like our quiet, dark nights especially.

I'm hunting up some historical fiction for Hels to read as a follow-up. Here are a few books that I've read and liked. If you know of something else, let me know!

Of course there's All of a Kind Family which she's read.

Ashes of Roses is about a 16 year old girl who survives the Triangle fire. I don't think Hels is ready for it.

is a great story about an 8-year old boy who migrates from China to California. Laurence Yep's books are great historical fiction.

Letters from Rifka
is a story about a 12-year old girl fleeing Russia.

An Ellis Island Christmas is a beautiful picture book.

I wish I knew of more fiction.

Tammy  – (January 10, 2009 at 3:18 PM)  

There is a set of 2 books in the "My America" books that are good. They are super easy to read, only a hundred pages or so each, but at the end of each book is a historical note with photos. The 2 we have are "Hope in My Heart: Sofia's Immigrant Diary" and "Home at Last: Sofia's Immigrant Diary." Both of those books are by Kathryn Lasky.

Also, there's a set of books called the "Journey to America" books. We have "Aniela Kaminski's Story: A Voyage from Poland During World War II" and also "Fiona McGilray's Story: A Voyage from Ireland in 1849." Both of those books are by Clare Pastore and are nearly 200 pages each.

NYC....I miss it so much.

Liza  – (January 10, 2009 at 9:07 PM)  

I'm so glad to see your post! Your trip sounds wonderful, and I love the books that you mentioned! I think you might have inspired me to re-read all of them over the next few weeks! What fun- Thanks! Welcome back!

Anonymous –   – (January 11, 2009 at 12:46 AM)  

Gah! Another blog friend comes to New York after we leave! :-( What a wonderful trip though. I just love the little alleys in Chinatown. I've never been able to track down a specific immigrant ancestor of mine who came through Ellis Island, but my mother did come through San Francisco! It's hard to remember that a lot of immigration to this country happened not so long ago (and of course is still happening today).

sarah p  – (January 11, 2009 at 1:13 AM)  

What a fun trip with your girl :-)

Lisa Anne  – (January 11, 2009 at 5:10 PM)  

Nice getaway! I will be down that area this week for my advanced biodyanmic training (4 days without the family!!)

Dawn  – (January 11, 2009 at 9:53 PM)  

That sounds like such a great trip to NYC. I would love to visit someday. We enjoyed reading All of a Kind Family, and my daughter liked the "My America" books that Tammy mentioned. Welcome back!

EStraiton  – (January 12, 2009 at 10:24 PM)  

too bad I didn't know - we are only 1 hour or so from NYC - next time let me know we can meet :)

Wendy –   – (January 13, 2009 at 2:34 PM)  

Check out The Orphan of Ellis Island also. My daughter loved it.

em  – (January 13, 2009 at 3:05 PM)  

I've never visited Ellis Island but would love to as my grandparents arrived there (not together though, they met in the US.)
What about Rachel Field's Calico bush - I don't how historic it is but I like it a lot.

Maribeth  – (January 14, 2009 at 1:43 PM)  

A truly wonderful book about the immigrants who came to work in the factories of the Northeast is "Counting On Grace" by Elizabeth Winthrop. The book is based on the true story of a girl working in a textile mill in Pownal, VT. I have heard Elizabeth Winthrop speak about how she went about the research for the book. Mesmerizing.

Anonymous –   – (January 16, 2009 at 9:59 PM)  


We enjoyed Water Street by Patricia Reilly Giff as part of an immigrant/early 1900s unit study last year. There are prequels and sequels also!


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