Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ellis Island Coming to the Land of Liberty

by Raymond Bial
Houghton Mifflin
Non-fiction picture book
56 pages
From 1892 to 1954 more than twelve million immigrants entered the United States through the portal of Ellis Island. Today more than two million visitors visit Ellis Island to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors who came mainly from Western and Northern Europe: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. Bial has captured how immigrants must have felt as they entered the New York Harbor, sailing past the Statue of Liberty. Actual photographs of various immigrant faces are combined with photos of new displays documenting luggage, shoes, toys, and other precious belongings that were carefully selected and brought to this country. Informative and complete,
Bial even shows the parts of Ellis Island that are currently awaiting restoration. The $160 million project was funded by many donations. More than twenty million Americans contributed to the project. Bial, himself, had maternal grandparents who came to this country via Ellis Island and describes visiting Ellis as "one of the most poigant experiences of my life."
If you are unable to visit Ellis Island, read this account for pretty much the same experience.

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