Stories of Immigrants: Coming to America

As Americans, most of us are descended from immigrants who were always thankful, and often extremely lucky, to reach the New World. We have published many novels about people who are immigrating and about the process of assimilation to American values and an American way of life. The immigrants in our novels are from many lands, including Norway, Ireland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, China, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Rwanda. The promise of a better life and of religious and political freedom brought millions here, as did the need to escape imminent danger. The streets might not have been paved with gold, but the bounty of America is great; already by 1776 Americans had the highest standard of living in the world, and although that bounty was not always shared equally, those lucky enough to reach the New World had much to be thankful for. With this series of books, we remember our immigrant past and are reminded of how thankful we should be for those of our forebears who risked so much to come here.

In addition to the books below, you may also be interested in the Homesteaders series, about immigrants from Norway who settle in North Dakota to start a new life. 

As Americans, most of us are descended from immigrants who were always thankful, and often extremely lucky, to reach the New World. We have published many novels about people who are immigrating and about the process of assimilation to American values and an American way of life. The immigrants in our novels are from many lands, including Norway, Ireland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, China, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Rwanda. The promise of a better life and of religious and political freedom brought millions here, as did the need to escape imminent danger. The streets might not have been paved with gold, but the bounty of America is great; already by 1776 Americans had the highest standard of living in the world, and although that bounty was not always shared equally, those lucky enough to reach the New World had much to be thankful for. With this series of books, we remember our immigrant past and are reminded of how thankful we should be for those of our forebears who risked so much to come here.

In addition to the books below, you may also be interested in the Homesteaders series, about immigrants from Norway who settle in North Dakota to start a new life. 

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A Bit of Irish Earth

Author: Shanley, Paul

Subjects: History; Civil War; Immigration; Irish-Americans

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

ISBN: 0-88092-179-X

Order code: 179X

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 179XS

A Bit of Irish Earth Cover

This is wonderful historical fiction novel with roots in Irish tradition and lore and the American Civil War. Some of the story is biographical; the rest is wishful blarney.

John Shanley migrated from Ireland and joined the Union Army. He was wounded in the second battle of Bull Run and was later captured and sent to Richmond, probably to Libby Prison as a prisoner of war. He died in Richmond on January 17, 1864.

Author Paul Shanley is a distant relative of John's through John’s oldest son. He visited Libby and was so moved that he felt he had to recreate John Shanley’s trek from Ireland to a better life in the United States. He has rewritten family history a bit, superimposing possible adventures, an escape from Libby, and a life in Boston and Bangor. John Shanley is given the life he could have had, and readers are treated to the person he most probably would have become because of his personal convictions.

Surely, Irish eyes are smiling on the older Shanley’s enhanced daring do’s and the younger Shanley’s sensitivity to his story. The atmosphere and mood are accurate.

This is wonderful historical fiction novel with roots in Irish tradition and lore and the American Civil War. Some of the story is biographical; the rest is wishful blarney.

John Shanley migrated from Ireland and joined the Union Army. He was wounded in the second battle of Bull Run and was later captured and sent to Richmond, probably to Libby Prison as a prisoner of war. He died in Richmond on January 17, 1864.

Author Paul Shanley is a distant relative of John's through John’s oldest son. He visited Libby and was so moved that he felt he had to recreate John Shanley’s trek from Ireland to a better life in the United States. He has rewritten family history a bit, superimposing possible adventures, an escape from Libby, and a life in Boston and Bangor. John Shanley is given the life he could have had, and readers are treated to the person he most probably would have become because of his personal convictions.

Surely, Irish eyes are smiling on the older Shanley’s enhanced daring do’s and the younger Shanley’s sensitivity to his story. The atmosphere and mood are accurate.

A Bit of Irish Earth Cover

Journey to a New World

Author: Saturen, Myra

Subjects: Social Studies; American History; Jewish History; Immigration

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8

ISBN: 978-088092494-8

Order code: 4948

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4948S

Journey to a New World Cover

Myra Saturen based her novel on the notes that her grandfather, Joseph Hyman, wrote in pencil on little tablets of paper about his family’s immigration to the United States from Russia in the early 1900s.

The novel tells the story of Joseph and Ruth, and also of Nathan and Frieda. In the late nineteenth century, their parents made the difficult decision to leave Russia and come to America to Cincinnati. During the period before the outbreak of World War I, many Jews left their homes in Poland and Russia and migrated to America.

The Goodman family was part of this migration; their adventures are at once unique and compelling and at the same time very like the experiences of millions of other families. More than anything else, the family stuck together, depended upon the children working to make ends meet, and paid a huge price in so many ways for the freedom and prosperity they found in America. Together, the experiences of the Goodman family and so many like them form an essential part of the making of modern America.

Myra Saturen says that on reading her grandfather's notes after he died, she was “overwhelmed by the beauty and humor of the writing. It gave me a real picture of what my grandparent's, and even my great-grandparents', lives were like." She says she wanted to preserve the story of her family for her two children, who are now adults. "The younger generation didn't know them at all," she says. "They weren't around to hear their voices and smell the foods they cooked."

Saturen is the author of Julietta, also published by Royal Fireworks Press. Set in medieval France, it is about a young woman who overcomes prejudice against race and gender to become an herbalist physician.

Myra Saturen based her novel on the notes that her grandfather, Joseph Hyman, wrote in pencil on little tablets of paper about his family’s immigration to the United States from Russia in the early 1900s.

The novel tells the story of Joseph and Ruth, and also of Nathan and Frieda. In the late nineteenth century, their parents made the difficult decision to leave Russia and come to America to Cincinnati. During the period before the outbreak of World War I, many Jews left their homes in Poland and Russia and migrated to America.

The Goodman family was part of this migration; their adventures are at once unique and compelling and at the same time very like the experiences of millions of other families. More than anything else, the family stuck together, depended upon the children working to make ends meet, and paid a huge price in so many ways for the freedom and prosperity they found in America. Together, the experiences of the Goodman family and so many like them form an essential part of the making of modern America.

Myra Saturen says that on reading her grandfather's notes after he died, she was “overwhelmed by the beauty and humor of the writing. It gave me a real picture of what my grandparent's, and even my great-grandparents', lives were like." She says she wanted to preserve the story of her family for her two children, who are now adults. "The younger generation didn't know them at all," she says. "They weren't around to hear their voices and smell the foods they cooked."

Saturen is the author of Julietta, also published by Royal Fireworks Press. Set in medieval France, it is about a young woman who overcomes prejudice against race and gender to become an herbalist physician.

Journey to a New World Cover

Journey to a New World Pages 1-10:

Unswept Graves

Author: Black, Robert

Subjects: American History; Adventure; Immigration; Chinese-Americans

Age: 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 978-0-88092-903-5

Order code: 9035

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 9035S

Unswept Graves Cover

"This is a charming, highly imaginative, and inventive book that is equally well-written and well-researched." – China Insight

"I couldn't put this book down and kept getting in trouble for reading in class and at dinner! It is interesting to find out what life was really like for Chinese people in America, as you are inside the head of one. A very good book." – Rosie, age 12

Unswept Graves is a gripping story that starts in the present day in a small Nebraskan town about to celebrate its annual Founders’ Day. The founders were said to include young Jasmine Wu’s great-great-grandparents, Charlie and Hannah Fong. Jasmine and her friend Oz get to find out the Fongs’ story when they are suddenly and magically transported by her ancestors’ mysterious pendant back in time to the Chinatown of San Francisco in the late 1890s.  

They find out that it was a dangerous, brutal time to be Chinese, especially for young girls. Jasmine is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Oz has to dress as a boy to rescue her and get her to the shelter of the Mission House. They meet Charlie Fong, and somehow they have to make sure that the future happens. In the end, the founders and ancestors are honored as they should be, and Jasmine discovers her heritage.

The title refers to the traditional Chinese festival of Ching Ming, or "Grave Sweeping Day,” when families pay tribute to their ancestors and tend to their family gravesites. Author Robert Black says his purpose in writing the book was “to give readers a taste of what life used to be like—and an experience of being there. I hope too they will learn the same lesson that Jasmine learns during her trip to the past about the challenges and hardships people had to face and the determination it took to survive all that.”

There is a supporting website showing contemporary photographs and footage of Chinatown, as well as a bibliography for further reading.

Author Robert Black’s research into the life of Chinese immigrants revealed shocking anti-Chinese prejudice in the U.S. at the time and also the dangerous work of rescuing slave girls by the Presbyterian Mission Home in San Francisco. The home still exists on Sacramento Street; it is now Cameron House, a Chinese community center. Black is also the author of Liberty Girl, published by Royal Fireworks Press. That novel is set in Baltimore and is based on his grandmother’s diaries about growing up part German at the end of World War I.

Review:

"This is a charming, highly imaginative, and inventive book that is equally well-written and well-researched.... It introduces to young adult readers a largely-unknown aspect of Chinese-American history that takes off first in Nebraska. How many books are there about the Chinese in Nebraska? Probably no others. The Chinese-American experience in the Midwest is largely, albeit not totally, ignored in fiction.

"One of the particular delights of this book is that although Jasmine and Oz are thrust into the past, at all times they are aware of being from the future.... Their determined 21st-century American responses to 19th-century situations deftly reveal the difference between the accepted social place of women then and now. At the same time, we are given a view of 19th-century horse-and-buggy life and the vicissitudes of Chinese immigrants in the lawless American West.

"Several stories are woven into this narrative: Chinese-American history, the plight of mixed-race children, abuse of women, positive interactions between Chinese and Caucasians in 19th-century California, missionary work among immigrants, and life in small-town America. And the narrative is, if not totally believable (unless we believe we can go back to the past), totally captivating." – Raymond Lum, China Insight

"This is a charming, highly imaginative, and inventive book that is equally well-written and well-researched." – China Insight

"I couldn't put this book down and kept getting in trouble for reading in class and at dinner! It is interesting to find out what life was really like for Chinese people in America, as you are inside the head of one. A very good book." – Rosie, age 12

Unswept Graves is a gripping story that starts in the present day in a small Nebraskan town about to celebrate its annual Founders’ Day. The founders were said to include young Jasmine Wu’s great-great-grandparents, Charlie and Hannah Fong. Jasmine and her friend Oz get to find out the Fongs’ story when they are suddenly and magically transported by her ancestors’ mysterious pendant back in time to the Chinatown of San Francisco in the late 1890s.  

They find out that it was a dangerous, brutal time to be Chinese, especially for young girls. Jasmine is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Oz has to dress as a boy to rescue her and get her to the shelter of the Mission House. They meet Charlie Fong, and somehow they have to make sure that the future happens. In the end, the founders and ancestors are honored as they should be, and Jasmine discovers her heritage.

The title refers to the traditional Chinese festival of Ching Ming, or "Grave Sweeping Day,” when families pay tribute to their ancestors and tend to their family gravesites. Author Robert Black says his purpose in writing the book was “to give readers a taste of what life used to be like—and an experience of being there. I hope too they will learn the same lesson that Jasmine learns during her trip to the past about the challenges and hardships people had to face and the determination it took to survive all that.”

There is a supporting website showing contemporary photographs and footage of Chinatown, as well as a bibliography for further reading.

Author Robert Black’s research into the life of Chinese immigrants revealed shocking anti-Chinese prejudice in the U.S. at the time and also the dangerous work of rescuing slave girls by the Presbyterian Mission Home in San Francisco. The home still exists on Sacramento Street; it is now Cameron House, a Chinese community center. Black is also the author of Liberty Girl, published by Royal Fireworks Press. That novel is set in Baltimore and is based on his grandmother’s diaries about growing up part German at the end of World War I.

Review:

"This is a charming, highly imaginative, and inventive book that is equally well-written and well-researched.... It introduces to young adult readers a largely-unknown aspect of Chinese-American history that takes off first in Nebraska. How many books are there about the Chinese in Nebraska? Probably no others. The Chinese-American experience in the Midwest is largely, albeit not totally, ignored in fiction.

"One of the particular delights of this book is that although Jasmine and Oz are thrust into the past, at all times they are aware of being from the future.... Their determined 21st-century American responses to 19th-century situations deftly reveal the difference between the accepted social place of women then and now. At the same time, we are given a view of 19th-century horse-and-buggy life and the vicissitudes of Chinese immigrants in the lawless American West. 

"Several stories are woven into this narrative: Chinese-American history, the plight of mixed-race children, abuse of women, positive interactions between Chinese and Caucasians in 19th-century California, missionary work among immigrants, and life in small-town America. And the narrative is, if not totally believable (unless we believe we can go back to the past), totally captivating." – Raymond Lum, China Insight

Unswept Graves Cover

Bibliography for Unswept Graves:

Unswept Graves Chapter 4:

Unswept Graves pages 1-13:

Links

Growing Up as a Greek-American

Author: Kallas, John

Subjects: History; Diversity; Personal Experience; Greek-Americans; Growing Up

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 0130

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 0130S

Growing Up as a Greek-American Cover

These stories will forever define the Greek-American experience in the twentieth century. They are just the way you’d want them—warm, funny, loving, and accurate.

This is life as it was lived in Greek-American households all over the country. These are the triumphs and sorrows of a strong people in a land where diversity was not always welcome.

The author of computer books and software, as well as a number of plays, Dr. John Kallas was the president of the Greek Writers Guild of America.

These stories will forever define the Greek-American experience in the twentieth century. They are just the way you’d want them—warm, funny, loving, and accurate.

This is life as it was lived in Greek-American households all over the country. These are the triumphs and sorrows of a strong people in a land where diversity was not always welcome.

The author of computer books and software, as well as a number of plays, John Kallas was the president of the Greek Writers Guild of America.

Growing Up as a Greek-American Cover

Beyond the Yellow Star to America

Author: Auerbacher, Inge

Subjects: History; Personal Experience; Jewish History; Holocaust; Immigration

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

ISBN: 0-88092-252-4

Order code: 2524

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 2524S

Beyond the Yellow Star to America Cover

New York Public Library 1996 Choice, Books for the Teenage Reader

Kansas State Reading Circle Choice, 1996/97

Yavner Award from the New York State Deptartment of Education, 2000

Ellis Island Award, 2000

“This is a first-rate, moving autobiographical account of life as a refugee and what it takes to step beyond past pain and create a meaningful life.... A truly wonderful complement to The Diary of Anne Frank.” – VOYA Magazine

“...simple, deeply effective prose.... Students studying the Holocaust will benefit from Inge’s per­spective and empathize with her experiences. Recommended for junior high school students." – KLI­ATT Magazine

Inge Auerbacher’s first book, I Am a Star: Child of the Holocaust, won the coveted Merit of Educational Distinction award from the International Center for Holocaust Studies of the B’nai Brith Anti-Defamation League. It covered her childhood years up to age eleven and her internment in the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, ending with the Allied Liberation in 1945.

Now, Inge’s second book, Beyond the Yellow Star to America, carries readers into Inge’s world of an immigrant in America at once dealing with her own psychological and physiological growing up and the real, external world of being an outsider to American culture. With vibrantly clear images, Inge tells her story through a series of sequential vignettes reinforced by many photographs.

Pre-teen, teenage, and adult readers will immediately understand Inge's problems dealing with group acceptance, self-esteem, and peer pressure; how­ever, her relentless drive to succeed and her wonderfully close relationship with her parents will take an understanding of her special scars from having been totally degraded as a child of the Holocaust.

Following a brief historical background, we arrive with Inge in New York Harbor in 1946 aboard the Marine Perch, an American troop transport ship, and travel with her through her life’s turning points against the 1940s, '50s, and '60s settings of New York’s East Side, Brooklyn, and Queens. We revisit Europe with her. We experience the hot and cold factions of her Americanized relatives, the resolve of her parents to achieve in the American economic mainstream in spite of the physical odds against them during their first steps to independence, and Inge’s private, ongoing physical nightmare, all of which will fill readers with pride in the positive qualities of the human spirit and its determina­tion to survive.

Inge’s personal psychological fuel from the past drives her dynamism and ideals of today for the betterment of humankind. She is an activist for tolerance. She is an accomplished motivational public speaker for brotherhood through education and com­munication against bigotry and other manipulative tactics that divide humanity into isolated groups.

Inge Auerbacher was born in Kippenheim, Germany. She is a child survivor of the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. She studied chemistry at Queens College of the City University of New York and worked for many years as a chemist in research and clinical work. She has received numerous awards for her writing and her work in promoting tolerance and human rights and has appeared many times on TV and radio, both in the U.S. and in Germany.

Her biographical novel of Mary and Martha DeSaussure, Running Against the Wind, is also published by Royal Fireworks Press.

New York Public Library 1996 Choice, Books for the Teenage Reader

Kansas State Reading Circle Choice, 1996/97

Yavner Award from the New York State Deptartment of Education, 2000

Ellis Island Award, 2000

“This is a first-rate, moving autobiographical account of life as a refugee and what it takes to step beyond past pain and create a meaningful life.... A truly wonderful complement to The Diary of Anne Frank.” – VOYA Magazine

“...simple, deeply effective prose.... Students studying the Holocaust will benefit from Inge’s per­spective and empathize with her experiences. Recommended for junior high school students." – KLI­ATT Magazine

Inge Auerbacher’s first book, I Am a Star: Child of the Holocaust, won the coveted Merit of Educational Distinction award from the International Center for Holocaust Studies of the B’nai Brith Anti-Defamation League. It covered her childhood years up to age eleven and her internment in the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, ending with the Allied Liberation in 1945.

Now, Inge’s second book, Beyond the Yellow Star to America, carries readers into Inge’s world of an immigrant in America at once dealing with her own psychological and physiological growing up and the real, external world of being an outsider to American culture. With vibrantly clear images, Inge tells her story through a series of sequential vignettes reinforced by many photographs.

Pre-teen, teenage, and adult readers will immediately understand Inge's problems dealing with group acceptance, self-esteem, and peer pressure; how­ever, her relentless drive to succeed and her wonderfully close relationship with her parents will take an understanding of her special scars from having been totally degraded as a child of the Holocaust.

Following a brief historical background, we arrive with Inge in New York Harbor in 1946 aboard the Marine Perch, an American troop transport ship, and travel with her through her life’s turning points against the 1940s, '50s, and '60s settings of New York’s East Side, Brooklyn, and Queens. We revisit Europe with her. We experience the hot and cold factions of her Americanized relatives, the resolve of her parents to achieve in the American economic mainstream in spite of the physical odds against them during their first steps to independence, and Inge’s private, ongoing physical nightmare, all of which will fill readers with pride in the positive qualities of the human spirit and its determina­tion to survive.

Inge’s personal psychological fuel from the past drives her dynamism and ideals of today for the betterment of humankind. She is an activist for tolerance. She is an accomplished motivational public speaker for brotherhood through education and com­munication against bigotry and other manipulative tactics that divide humanity into isolated groups.

Inge Auerbacher was born in Kippenheim, Germany. She is a child survivor of the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. She studied chemistry at Queens College of the City University of New York and worked for many years as a chemist in research and clinical work. She has received numerous awards for her writing and her work in promoting tolerance and human rights and has appeared many times on TV and radio, both in the U.S. and in Germany.

Her biographical novel of Mary and Martha DeSaussure, Running Against the Wind, is also published by Royal Fireworks Press.

Beyond the Yellow Star to America Cover

Links

Where a White Dog Smiles

Author: Mihevic, Demetra

Subjects: Immigration; Greek-Americans; Animal Story; Growing Up/Girls

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6

Order code: 9848

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 9848S

Where a White Dog Smiles Cover

This story begins in 1952 in Greece, in Elinohori, a mountain village on the northern part of the Peloponnesus, far removed from the centers of civilization. Nine-year-old Maria lives here with her mother, bossy aunt, grandmother, and pet dog. Father was a World War II casualty, as were most of the other men in the village. Therefore, her unmarried aunt has little hope of finding a husband and is in disgrace in the eyes of tradition. Their lives center on picking grapes and making bread.

When Uncle Dimitri in America offers to have Maria live with his family, the women agree that Elinohori offers Maria no opportunity. Soon she is on her way to America. This is the story of Maria’s passage from her home and family and orthodox Greek tradition to a strange family, school, language, and way of life.

Readers will bond with Maria from the beginning of the book—crying with her and smiling with her through a variety of experiences that transcend miles and time. From the first, she is strong, observant, intelligent, sensitive, introspective, and brave, yet looking to her mother for direction. Her mother knows the reality of their situation and lovingly nudges Maria into a new world of hope and personal possibility.

We smile at Maria’s joy and befuddlement about such things as showers, skyscrapers, elevators, hot dogs with mustard and ketchup, cookies, and her first snowstorm. And we appreciate her problem-solving abilities as she wills her mind to learn English vocabulary at home and at school because she knows that mastering the language is the key to friendships and success. She meets children who mock her accent and play vocabulary tricks on her. Eventually, one special youngster’s animosity, aroused by Maria’s growing popularity and determination, is defeated and replaced by friendship and admiration.

In her new home, Maria finds the love of her uncle and aunt. Above all, she finds a friend for life, a friend with whom to share all her hopes and fears—a white Samoyed, Petie.

Demetra Mihevic is also the author of When the Barred Owl Calls, the sequel to Where a White Dog Smiles. She is a resident of Ohio.

This story begins in 1952 in Greece, in Elinohori, a mountain village on the northern part of the Peloponnesus, far removed from the centers of civilization. Nine-year-old Maria lives here with her mother, bossy aunt, grandmother, and pet dog. Father was a World War II casualty, as were most of the other men in the village. Therefore, her unmarried aunt has little hope of finding a husband and is in disgrace in the eyes of tradition. Their lives center on picking grapes and making bread.

When Uncle Dimitri in America offers to have Maria live with his family, the women agree that Elinohori offers Maria no opportunity. Soon she is on her way to America. This is the story of Maria’s passage from her home and family and orthodox Greek tradition to a strange family, school, language, and way of life.

Readers will bond with Maria from the beginning of the book—crying with her and smiling with her through a variety of experiences that transcend miles and time. From the first, she is strong, observant, intelligent, sensitive, introspective, and brave, yet looking to her mother for direction. Her mother knows the reality of their situation and lovingly nudges Maria into a new world of hope and personal possibility.

We smile at Maria’s joy and befuddlement about such things as showers, skyscrapers, elevators, hot dogs with mustard and ketchup, cookies, and her first snowstorm. And we appreciate her problem-solving abilities as she wills her mind to learn English vocabulary at home and at school because she knows that mastering the language is the key to friendships and success. She meets children who mock her accent and play vocabulary tricks on her. Eventually, one special youngster’s animosity, aroused by Maria’s growing popularity and determination, is defeated and replaced by friendship and admiration.

In her new home, Maria finds the love of her uncle and aunt. Above all, she finds a friend for life, a friend with whom to share all her hopes and fears—a white Samoyed, Petie.

Demetra Mihevic is also the author of When the Barred Owl Calls, the sequel to Where a White Dog Smiles. She is a resident of Ohio.

Where a White Dog Smiles Cover

We Have to Escape

Author: Makranczy, Judit

Subjects: Personal Experience; Immigration; European History; Cold War; Hungarian Revolution of 1956

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 3733

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 3733S

We Have to Escape Cover

Twelve-year-old Andras is the best soccer player on the team at his new school. But his teammates, jealous of his natural abilities, tease and harass him mercilessly. When he decides to quit the team, Jennifer, the sister of one of the players, intercedes and offers him the kind words and support he needs to open up and tell the amazing story he has kept secret.

Andras begins with the terrifying night the Hungarian Secret Police arrested his father and mother in his hometown of Budapest, Hungary. He tells the poignant story of his family’s daring and frightening journey to the United States. Knowing they will be shot if they are captured, Andras and his family plan their escape, obtaining the forged documents necessary to leave their shattered city for freedom in America. Along with his parents, grandfather, and three sisters, he encounters terrifying situations as the family heads for the border. And his once-boyish hopes for adventure turn into abject fear of those life-threatening events. The family must survive the terror of bullets, border guards, prison, and dangerous crossings as they begin their journey to freedom and acceptance in a strange land.

We Have to Escape is the true story of an exciting and terror-filled escape to America and how, once in the U.S., life for Andras seemed to be unjustly chaotic as he tried to fit into a strange culture.

Judit Makranczy was born in Budapest, Hungary. Her novel depicts the events of her family’s triumphs and tragedies as they fled their war-torn country. She is now a resident of Dallas, Texas.

Twelve-year-old Andras is the best soccer player on the team at his new school. But his teammates, jealous of his natural abilities, tease and harass him mercilessly. When he decides to quit the team, Jennifer, the sister of one of the players, intercedes and offers him the kind words and support he needs to open up and tell the amazing story he has kept secret.

Andras begins with the terrifying night the Hungarian Secret Police arrested his father and mother in his hometown of Budapest, Hungary. He tells the poignant story of his family’s daring and frightening journey to the United States. Knowing they will be shot if they are captured, Andras and his family plan their escape, obtaining the forged documents necessary to leave their shattered city for freedom in America. Along with his parents, grandfather, and three sisters, he encounters terrifying situations as the family heads for the border. And his once-boyish hopes for adventure turn into abject fear of those life-threatening events. The family must survive the terror of bullets, border guards, prison, and dangerous crossings as they begin their journey to freedom and acceptance in a strange land.

We Have to Escape is the true story of an exciting and terror-filled escape to America and how, once in the U.S., life for Andras seemed to be unjustly chaotic as he tried to fit into a strange culture.

Judit Makranczy was born in Budapest, Hungary. Her novel depicts the events of her family’s triumphs and tragedies as they fled their war-torn country. She is now a resident of Dallas, Texas.

We Have to Escape Cover

Moves

Author: Horn, Douglas C.

Subjects: Bullying; Immigration; Judo and Aikido; Japanese-Americans; Social Relationships

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11

Grade: 3, 4, 5

Order code: 1501

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 1501S

Moves Cover

Moves is the story of Hiro, a boy from Nagoya, Japan, who moves to a small town in Montana when his father is sent there to run a company-owned cattle ranch. Hiro quickly becomes the favorite target of the school bully but feels that he cannot talk about his problems with his parents, who are already discussing sending him back to Japan and experiencing problems of their own with American society.

In the privacy of his room, Hiro is comforted by his Aikido equipment and training. He quickly adapts to Judo lessons taught by a black sensei who is as sensitive to Hiro’s needs as he is strong. Hiro’s Judo lessons catapult him to peer acceptance and help him to establish an important first friendship. He learns to confront his problems but with temperance and understanding. He comes to understand the psychological pressure on his father, whose concept of leadership is colored by his social separation. His mother suffers from loneliness and boredom until she takes an active role in seeking a friend—in spite of the language barrier.

Douglas Horn called upon his experiences living in Japan and the American West to create Hiro’s world. The Judo scenes in the novel reflect Horn's familiarity with Judo and the related discipline of Aikido, which he teaches in his free time. Horn is a writer and consultant who resides in Washington state.

Moves is the story of Hiro, a boy from Nagoya, Japan, who moves to a small town in Montana when his father is sent there to run a company-owned cattle ranch. Hiro quickly becomes the favorite target of the school bully but feels that he cannot talk about his problems with his parents, who are already discussing sending him back to Japan and experiencing problems of their own with American society.

In the privacy of his room, Hiro is comforted by his Aikido equipment and training. He quickly adapts to Judo lessons taught by a black sensei who is as sensitive to Hiro’s needs as he is strong. Hiro’s Judo lessons catapult him to peer acceptance and help him to establish an important first friendship. He learns to confront his problems but with temperance and understanding. He comes to understand the psychological pressure on his father, whose concept of leadership is colored by his social separation. His mother suffers from loneliness and boredom until she takes an active role in seeking a friend—in spite of the language barrier.

Douglas Horn called upon his experiences living in Japan and the American West to create Hiro’s world. The Judo scenes in the novel reflect Horn's familiarity with Judo and the related discipline of Aikido, which he teaches in his free time. Horn is a writer and consultant who resides in Washington state.

Moves Cover

My Country: My Lee Comes to America

Author: Beyer, Elmira K.

Subjects: Immigration; English as a Second Language (ESL); Hmong; Cross-Cultural Understanding

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11

Grade: 3, 4, 5

Order code: 0440

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 0440S

My Country: My Lee Comes to America Cover

A Kansas State Reading Council Choice: “A realistic look at one of America’s new young immigrants”

My Lee Comes to America is the story of a Hmong family recently arrived in America, where traditions and everyday life are drastically different from those of their former home. The family moves into a mixed neighborhood and enrolls the children in a school with an ESL program; so begins the family’s adaptation to new ways while maintaining their own traditional ethical and moral values. The book explores the problems of being accepted into the neighborhood, male/female roles and expectations, the family view of education in general and for girls in particular, and the problems the children and the adults encounter from their lack of knowledge of the English language.

The novel is written from the perspective of little My Lee, who acts for readers as a bridge between the two worlds of her family and the wider American culture. Intelligent and respectful, her experiences and her thoughts about them show us problems in the making and their thoughtful resolutions. While demurring to her older brother and his role, she is personally concerned with making friends and participating in school activities that in America are normal for all students but are frowned upon for girls in her family’s culture. And she desperately wants to learn to play the violin.

A Kansas State Reading Council Choice: “A realistic look at one of America’s new young immigrants”

My Lee Comes to America is the story of a Hmong family recently arrived in America, where traditions and everyday life are drastically different from those of their former home. The family moves into a mixed neighborhood and enrolls the children in a school with an ESL program; so begins the family’s adaptation to new ways while maintaining their own traditional ethical and moral values. The book explores the problems of being accepted into the neighborhood, male/female roles and expectations, the family view of education in general and for girls in particular, and the problems the children and the adults encounter from their lack of knowledge of the English language.

The novel is written from the perspective of little My Lee, who acts for readers as a bridge between the two worlds of her family and the wider American culture. Intelligent and respectful, her experiences and her thoughts about them show us problems in the making and their thoughtful resolutions. While demurring to her older brother and his role, she is personally concerned with making friends and participating in school activities that in America are normal for all students but are frowned upon for girls in her family’s culture. And she desperately wants to learn to play the violin.

My Country: My Lee Comes to America Cover

Strangers in Black

Author: Max, Jill

Subjects: Personal Experience; Khmer Rouge; Genocide

ISBN: 978-0-88092-617-1

Order code: 6171

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 6171S

Strangers in Black Cover

This is a novel about a young boy's struggle to survive the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Atrocity is an abstraction with little meaning for young people. This novel puts them into the experience of a boy facing deprivation, disease, dislocation, degradation, and death in Pol Pot's Cambodia.

It is a graphic and horrific account of what befalls Mok and his family when the Khmer Rouge take control of Cambodia. Mok is nine years old when the atrocities begin, and through persistence, incredible courage, and luck, he survives one of the most barbaric episodes in the last half of the twentieth century. In one episode after another, readers are led into the increasingly desperate plight of Mok and to an understanding of the cruelty of the Khmer Rouge and the enormity of what took place in Cambodia.

This true story describes young Mok's experiences of the grinding pains of hunger, debilitating disease, forced labor, separated families, and massacres. An epilogue tells us that his family finally made it to a refugee camp in Thailand and thereafter were sponsored to enter the U.S. and a new life in Oklahoma.

This is a novel about a young boy's struggle to survive the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Atrocity is an abstraction with little meaning for young people. This novel puts them into the experience of a boy facing deprivation, disease, dislocation, degradation, and death in Pol Pot's Cambodia.

It is a graphic and horrific account of what befalls Mok and his family when the Khmer Rouge take control of Cambodia. Mok is nine years old when the atrocities begin, and through persistence, incredible courage, and luck, he survives one of the most barbaric episodes in the last half of the twentieth century. In one episode after another, readers are led into the increasingly desperate plight of Mok and to an understanding of the cruelty of the Khmer Rouge and the enormity of what took place in Cambodia.

This true story describes young Mok's experiences of the grinding pains of hunger, debilitating disease, forced labor, separated families, and massacres. An epilogue tells us that his family finally made it to a refugee camp in Thailand and thereafter were sponsored to enter the U.S. and a new life in Oklahoma.

Strangers in Black Cover

The Weaver's Scar: For Our Rwanda

Author: Crawford, Brian

Subjects: Africa; Immigration; Genocide

Age: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

ISBN: 978-089824-477-9

Order code: 4779

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4779S

The Weaver's Scar: For Our Rwanda Cover

VOYA Magazine's Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers

Skipping Stones 2014 Honor Award

The Weaver's Scar is the first young adult novel written in English and for an American audience dealing directly with the Rwandan genocide. It is a story of a Rwandan boy who manages to escape the 1994 genocide of the Tutsis and make it to America. It is a story that is both horrific and inspiring.

Faustin is a normal schoolboy who is good at running and soccer. But dark secrets of the past hang over his family, and his father disapproves of his friends and his football games. Things only start to make sense when the teachers at school begin to emphasize the division between the Tutsis and Hutus, a division that even makes its way to the soccer field.

As the terrible events of the genocide unfold, Faustin discovers what caused his father’s disability, experiences the cruelty of his schoolteachers, and sees first hand the horror of neighbor against neighbor. With his family slain, his only chance of survival lies in his running and his sheer courage to outwit the enemy. He does not have to do it alone, however; he discovers the value and courage of an unlikely friend.

The Weaver's Scar Teacher Manual contains 60 pages of discussion topics and background material for follow-up activities.

The author writes: "At its core, The Weaver's Scar is not about the Rwandan genocide per se; rather, the events of 1994 serve as a backdrop to a strained relationship between two friends whose families forbid their friendship. It is about a boy who does not understand his own father and whose misunderstanding causes him to hurt his father's feelings beyond repair. It is about a father who dreams of bigger things for his son. And it is about how the scars of our past wound our present."

Because the story does unfold during the genocide, there are several chilling and horrific scenes that younger and more sensitive readers may find challenging. With appropriate instructor support, however, the novel is a strong addition to middle and high school social studies and language arts curricula.

Reviews:

“In The Weaver’s Scar, readers will share in Faustin’s grief, anguish, and fear in this heart-breaking and well-written introduction to an area of the world rarely covered in middle school literature.” – VOYA Magazine

"The Weaver’s Scar is captivating, with a simple writing style that pulls readers in until the end. A powerful story of bravery, trust, and compassion, this book...gives an impactful and emotionally stirring experience of the tragic Rwandan genocide. The Weaver’s Scar offers readers a deeper understanding of humanity’s global connection and shared history, while providing strong support for a more peaceful, unified future." – Skipping Stones Award (see the full review)

"The Weaver’s Scar will appeal especially to boys and reluctant readers, with a perfect balance of social and historical context on one hand and a tale of two unlikely friends trying to escape a wave of violence they barely understand on the other. ...I think we sell young readers short when we assume they will not want to read this kind of book.... The Rwandan Genocide belied the post-Holocaust statement of 'never again,' and keeping our young people ignorant is going to mean that more 'never agains' happen again." – Lyn Miller-Lachmann, author, from The Pirate Tree: Social Justice and Children's Literature

"Crawford paints a vivid picture of both the horrifying events that Faustin survives and his fortuitous rescue and later immigration to America.... The dramatic first-person narrative allows readers to experience the story through Faustin's eyes, encouraging empathy and understanding." – School Library Journal

"It can be difficult to find a book that deals with tough real-world issues in a way that's sensitive to the developmental needs of middle school students. The Weaver's Scar fills this need nicely and is a fantastic addition to any social studies or English curriculum. Solidly rooted in history, this earnest tale of survival and growth will resonate with teachers and students alike. After studying the history of Rwanda and colonialism as a class, reading this novel brought the abstract dates on a page to life with relatable characters and developmentally appropriate themes." – Matt Stenovec, middle school humanities teacher and faculty team leader, Soundview School, Lynnwood, WA

"The weaver is the persistent little bird that surmounts every reversal of fortune as it tries to create a nest to procreate, always returning to square one, no matter how many obstacles it faces. Faustin received a scar in a soccer match with the Hutu boy who later befriended him. Faustin’s father had a scar on his ankle from the 1959 revolution that crippled him. Like the weaver bird, father and son continued to press their love of life despite their injuries. Crawford’s lesson is that this little bird is a metaphor for how Rwanda should overcome its past and prosecute its future. [This book] is a good introduction to Rwanda and its troubled past by an author and teacher who knows the situation well. It is an excellent read." – Professor Augustine Brannigan, University of Calgary, author of Beyond the Banality of Evil (OUP 2013)

"This wonderful young adult novel is a great and lasting accomplishment. The story is suspenseful, the characters vivid, and it teaches a lot of things, not just about Rwanda but also about friendship, life, kindness. Over the years, I have read this and that about the Rwandan genocide, book chapters, articles in magazines and newspapers—but the story of the friendship of Deo and Faustin is to me one of the most memorable…. The tone is serious but not preachy; it is accessible but by no means unsophisticated; it shows reality, but because its characters are fully fleshed-out, contradictory human beings, even the most gruesome events become comprehensible to the degree that the characters themselves can understand and process them.... It is a great read.”  – Dr. Martin Kagel, A.G. Steer Professor and Head of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, University of Georgia

"From the first page I was fascinated by this harrowing tale of survival and friendship. Bringing to life the disturbing news of genocide in Rwanda, Crawford puts a human face on the people who lived through these terrible events. The tale of Faustin is gripping, captivating, and ultimately timeless. It is a story ripe for discussion on both a human and a literary level."  – Debbie Pearson, librarian, Seattle Country Day School

"It's hard to imagine a more compelling story. Faustin and Deo are forced into horrifying situations, but their journey, and the choices they make along the way, are true to the characters as well as the devastating history of the conflict. The Weaver's Scar should be in every school library. It will be an excellent addition to English and history curriculum."  – Sam Harris, M.Ed., MLIS, middle school librarian, Charles Wright Academy

Author Brian Crawford has traveled extensively around the world and has lived and worked in France. He is a resident of Seattle, Washington, where he teaches seventh- and eighth-grade language arts at Seattle Country Day School, an independent school for the gifted. While an undergraduate and graduate student, Brian took a deep academic interest in the Holocaust and its impact on literature and film. As he was researching and writing The Weaver’s Scar, he learned basic Kinyarwanda. The goal was to create an engaging story—not about the genocide per se, but rather one that would inform readers about some of the main aspects of the genocide, all the while planting a seed of compassion for characters who were caught up in that horror. Brian’s hope is that readers will be inspired to learn more and to act with empathy and kindness in their day-to-day interactions.

VOYA Magazine's Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 

Skipping Stones 2014 Honor Award

The Weaver's Scar is the first young adult novel written in English and for an American audience dealing directly with the Rwandan genocide. It is a story of a Rwandan boy who manages to escape the 1994 genocide of the Tutsis and make it to America. It is a story that is both horrific and inspiring.

Faustin is a normal schoolboy who is good at running and soccer. But dark secrets of the past hang over his family, and his father disapproves of his friends and his football games. Things only start to make sense when the teachers at school begin to emphasize the division between the Tutsis and Hutus, a division that even makes its way to the soccer field.

As the terrible events of the genocide unfold, Faustin discovers what caused his father’s disability, experiences the cruelty of his schoolteachers, and sees first hand the horror of neighbor against neighbor. With his family slain, his only chance of survival lies in his running and his sheer courage to outwit the enemy. He does not have to do it alone, however; he discovers the value and courage of an unlikely friend.

The Weaver's Scar Teacher Manual contains 60 pages of discussion topics and background material for follow-up activities.

The author writes: "At its core, The Weaver's Scar is not about the Rwandan genocide per se; rather, the events of 1994 serve as a backdrop to a strained relationship between two friends whose families forbid their friendship. It is about a boy who does not understand his own father and whose misunderstanding causes him to hurt his father's feelings beyond repair. It is about a father who dreams of bigger things for his son. And it is about how the scars of our past wound our present."

Because the story does unfold during the genocide, there are several chilling and horrific scenes that younger and more sensitive readers may find challenging. With appropriate teacher support, however, the novel is a strong addition to middle and high school social studies and language arts curricula.

Reviews:

“In The Weaver’s Scar, readers will share in Faustin’s grief, anguish, and fear in this heart-breaking and well-written introduction to an area of the world rarely covered in middle school literature.” – VOYA Magazine

"The Weaver’s Scar is captivating, with a simple writing style that pulls readers in until the end. A powerful story of bravery, trust, and compassion, this book...gives an impactful and emotionally stirring experience of the tragic Rwandan genocide. The Weaver’s Scar offers readers a deeper understanding of humanity’s global connection and shared history, while providing strong support for a more peaceful, unified future." – Skipping Stones Award (see the full review)

"The Weaver’s Scar will appeal especially to boys and reluctant readers, with a perfect balance of social and historical context on one hand and a tale of two unlikely friends trying to escape a wave of violence they barely understand on the other. ...I think we sell young readers short when we assume they will not want to read this kind of book.... The Rwandan Genocide belied the post-Holocaust statement of 'never again,' and keeping our young people ignorant is going to mean that more 'never agains' happen again." – Lyn Miller-Lachmann, author, from The Pirate Tree: Social Justice and Children's Literature 

"Crawford paints a vivid picture of both the horrifying events that Faustin survives and his fortuitous rescue and later immigration to America.... The dramatic first-person narrative allows readers to experience the story through Faustin's eyes, encouraging empathy and understanding." – School Library Journal

"It can be difficult to find a book that deals with tough real-world issues in a way that's sensitive to the developmental needs of middle school students. The Weaver's Scar fills this need nicely and is a fantastic addition to any social studies or English curriculum. Solidly rooted in history, this earnest tale of survival and growth will resonate with teachers and students alike. After studying the history of Rwanda and colonialism as a class, reading this novel brought the abstract dates on a page to life with relatable characters and developmentally appropriate themes." – Matt Stenovec, middle school humanities teacher and faculty team leader, Soundview School, Lynnwood, WA

"The weaver is the persistent little bird that surmounts every reversal of fortune as it tries to create a nest to procreate, always returning to square one, no matter how many obstacles it faces. Faustin received a scar in a soccer match with the Hutu boy who later befriended him. Faustin’s father had a scar on his ankle from the 1959 revolution that crippled him. Like the weaver bird, father and son continued to press their love of life despite their injuries. Crawford’s lesson is that this little bird is a metaphor for how Rwanda should overcome its past and prosecute its future. [This book] is a good introduction to Rwanda and its troubled past by an author and teacher who knows the situation well. It is an excellent read." – Professor Augustine Brannigan, University of Calgary, author of Beyond the Banality of Evil (OUP 2013)

"This wonderful young adult novel is a great and lasting accomplishment. The story is suspenseful, the characters vivid, and it teaches a lot of things, not just about Rwanda but also about friendship, life, kindness. Over the years, I have read this and that about the Rwandan genocide, book chapters, articles in magazines and newspapers—but the story of the friendship of Deo and Faustin is to me one of the most memorable…. The tone is serious but not preachy; it is accessible but by no means unsophisticated; it shows reality, but because its characters are fully fleshed-out, contradictory human beings, even the most gruesome events become comprehensible to the degree that the characters themselves can understand and process them.... It is a great read.”  – Dr. Martin Kagel, A.G. Steer Professor and Head of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, University of Georgia

"From the first page I was fascinated by this harrowing tale of survival and friendship. Bringing to life the disturbing news of genocide in Rwanda, Crawford puts a human face on the people who lived through these terrible events. The tale of Faustin is gripping, captivating, and ultimately timeless. It is a story ripe for discussion on both a human and a literary level."  – Debbie Pearson, librarian, Seattle Country Day School

"It's hard to imagine a more compelling story. Faustin and Deo are forced into horrifying situations, but their journey, and the choices they make along the way, are true to the characters as well as the devastating history of the conflict. The Weaver's Scar should be in every school library. It will be an excellent addition to English and history curriculum."  – Sam Harris, M.Ed., MLIS, middle school librarian, Charles Wright Academy

Author Brian Crawford has traveled extensively around the world and has lived and worked in France. He is a resident of Seattle, Washington, where he teaches seventh- and eighth-grade language arts at Seattle Country Day School, an independent school for the gifted. While an undergraduate and graduate student, Brian took a deep academic interest in the Holocaust and its impact on literature and film. As he was researching and writing The Weaver’s Scar, he learned basic Kinyarwanda. The goal was to create an engaging story—not about the genocide per se, but rather one that would inform readers about some of the main aspects of the genocide, all the while planting a seed of compassion for characters who were caught up in that horror. Brian’s hope is that readers will be inspired to learn more and to act with empathy and kindness in their day-to-day interactions.

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