The reason I wanted to have my son, especially, to review this book, was the fact that while is not fully Jewish, he does have Jewish heritage within his blood line. I wanted to be able to have a more in depth view and educational experience about it than just is currently provided through his current educational plan. He is old enough now, almost eleven, to be able to hear some of these stories and be able to learn from them.
This is great because it is a combination of both history, social studies, literature, compisition and writing skills that could be accomplished for school. This makes it more enriching in a lot of ways because you have taken history and made it personal to the child. That being said, it needs to go beyond that.
How I did it:
He was to get his literature notebook and with each chapter write the following:
1) Questions the literature gave him
2) Notes on important details on the chapter
3) Any words he didn't know
And this is the start of learning how to do note taking. A very important skills for kids to know how to do. Sometimes my kids seem to be lacking in this department. This lack isn't for the fact that they don't know how to do it, it's simply the pre-teen mentality of the quickest and shortest possible way to get some thing done-- aka, short cuts. And this is hard sometimes as a parent and teacher. We are getting over that slowly though.
That is why when I found out there were additional resources for this book, I was thankful. There are additional materials, particularly for middle or high school students, available online, such as this page - Bessie's America. It is broken down by subject and idea. You can go to any of them and look for yourself. Is European immigration something that interests you? Or maybe famous people? Either way, you are able to learn more beyond just the literature.
As stated above, part of doing this review, was to have my son show his review as he was reading.
So this is his account and review, thus far in his reading.
This story is about an 18-year-old immigrant from Russia who came to America for a better life. Boshka lived during the horrible years were the Czar would encourage police to beat, torture, and carry away Jews. Boshka was one of those Jews. When she was 18, she decided to go to America. But first she had to go to Hamburg, Germany.
In Hamburg, she had to go through a cleaning and disinfection stage. Then they were checked if you were clean, you passed. Boshka passed. In order to live in America, she needed to know multiple languages. Boshka knew Yiddish, German, Russian, and Polish. She rode in first class on the S.S. Moltka. Then, A woman named Mrs. Dreizen came up and asked Boshka to bring a pillow to her son, Nathan Dreizen. She said yes, and just then she heard a foghorn, and she realized that her ship was waiting.
On the ship, she found the luxuries of first class. She had a steward, her own room, and furniture. Later on the trip, she met a young man named David. He was also a Jew, but when he went against kosher when he ordered beef, he said it was for survival. Later on, David proposed to her, Boshka said no. When she landed in America, the inspector said her new name was Elizabeth. He said “Welcome to America.”.
When she landed in America, she was suspicious of the police. She then went to her sister’s house. Her sister Lillian was rich and lived in the Upper West Side, which was a big deal back then. (she’s in New York). Unfortunately, Lillian’s husband wanted her as a maid, so she had to leave. She went to her friends’ house. Lou and Miriam Schaffer gladly accepted “Elizabeth” into their home. Miriam said that her name needed to change, so she changed her name into Bessie.
Bessie decided to get a job. She decided to sneak out early because she doesn’t want Miriam to know where she was going: The Lower East Side. The Lower East Side has all the slums and has all the people that was most unfortunate went. Bessie went there to look for a job, and she found one, at a cruel, punishing textile factory. Only 1 day on working on the job, she got fired, so you can see that the margin for error was very small. Shortly after, Miriam marries. She is moving into her new husband’s house. In New Orleans.
Then a lot happens. If you want to see the things that happens, read the book.