This next Review is so hard to write....not because I didn't like it, I Loved it. I Loved it so much I feel changed from reading it. Thank goodness I'm not Reviewing a Science experiment or a Math game! Today I have the privilege to share with you this amazing book I've been reading the past few weeks from Strong Learning, Inc.. It's called Bessie's Pillow A Young Immigrant's Journey.
There are many reasons why this book was so special to me. One reason is my Parents died when I was a young girl and there is so much I don't know about my extended Family besides the fact that I know they too were immigrants. My Husband was born in a Malaysian camp and at the age of 2 he and his Family arrived to America by boat. His stories passed down from his Parents are chilling. Both my Dad's Family and my Husband's worked hard to provide, survive and thrive in America. They both went after the American Dream. But, what does that look like to someone like me...who was just born here in America. I didn't have to sacrifice, leave behind loved ones and everything I've ever known to become an American. I didn't have to place myself in harms way, learn a new language and voyage across the deep blue sea. Linda Bress Silbert makes it possible for me to step into her Grandmother's world as a young Jewish Immigrant from Lithuania... even if it is just a short while.
I am not going to spoil even one word of this book for you, but I will tell you that this heart-holding book is the life and journey of one young woman who I have never met or known, but have such respect for. She was a strong, humble young woman of 18 when she traveled to America with such grace even under the circumstances of her time. While reading my heart beamed at times, ached at other times and leaped into my throat on others. This story is filled with happiness and God's provisions are obvious, but Bessie's Granddaughter doesn't just paint a pretty picture for us to gloss over. She has written real accounts told down from Bessie herself to her own Daughter. You will be able to walk along side this courageous woman as her journey begins on her way to America where she starts a new life....you will not be disappointed on this touching story of History.
Honestly I wish the book was longer....luckily for you and I on her website, Bessie's America there are many extras to look through and explore. I'm talking about an interactive multi-media guide where you will be able to do more research and dive into more of this Era. You will get to explore a lot of Pictures and Facts in the back of the book, but there is much more online...I loved the pictures. And being able to take a peek at Bessie's Family Album and childhood in Lithuania was impressive. There is a section for you to immerse yourself into the world Bessie found herself in. Listen to Music, Radio Broadcasts with Fireside Chats. I was able to listen to Franklin Roosevelt speak about many topics during the Depression years. Also, the kids and I were shocked to here the ads and jingles that were peppered throughout the Radio Series, The Goldbergs. There were literally tons of Radio programs from all genres we have been pouring through them during lunch time each day. And the Music....the crackling behind Bob Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth's voices was almost more than my heart could handle.....but, I'm crazy for that kind of stuff. We watched videos of dance styles like the Grizzly Bear...too funny I dare you to look it up. Mahala and I enjoyed learning about how Bessie and all other women back then cleaned house. Wow, I thought I was a busy woman!!!
I could honestly go on and on forever about all the wonderful extra information about famous people, recipes, health, news and a huge section filled with European Immigration info. In that section is a link to go explore the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Here you can learn so much about Genealogy, research possible ancestors that were passengers on one of the many ships. You can see actual ship manifests, see pictures of the ships and even plan a trip to go visit. I never ever had a desire to go there, but I know we will make a trip there now. :)
I know you don't need to ask me if I liked this book, I'm sure it's obvious. This would be a terrific Unit Study for any Middle school or High school Kiddo. There is plenty of info and researching opportunities to make this part of History real in their eyes instead of being stuck behind a textbook. This would be a great addition into anyone's home or school library.
*****Interesting fact too is that the writer's Sister's last name is my Maiden name..... ;)
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