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Ellis Island: Coming to the Land of Liberty Hardcover – May 18, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"The generously sized period photos and Bial's museum shots tell a vivid and poignant tale for even those who cannot yet read the words. If one cannot get to the museum itself, this book is the next best thing."--School Library Journal

"With the handsome treatment readers have come to expect, Bial presents the history of the New York Harbor immigration station . . . Illustrated with the author’s photographs of the current museum as well as archival images, the account is further enriched by frequent quotes from those who passed through its doors."--Kirkus Reviews

". . . plentiful historical photographs speak volumes, and Bial’s contemporary shots provide a worthy guide for those who cannot visit the restored buildings and exhibits in person."--Booklist

"As Bial's appended "Children's Books" bibliography attests, there is plenty of material on Ellis Island available to young reader. Bial stakes a claim, though, to some of the most browsable, engaging photographs, which accompany his essay on the function of the island and the experiences of some of the immigrants who passed through, or were turned back, at the examination center."--Bulletin

About the Author

Raymond Bial is an acclaimed photoessayist for children. Four of his books were chosen as Notable Books in the Field of Social Studies by the NCSS. He lives in Urbana, Illinois, with his wife and children.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1220L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (May 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618999434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618999439
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,353,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author and photographer Raymond Bial (pronounced beal) has been creating acclaimed books for children and adults for more than thirty years. His books have been published by Houghton Mifflin, Scholastic, Walker & Company, Marshall Cavendish, Crickhollow Books, and other fine publishers and university presses. Raymond also makes images on assignment, and his stock photographs have been used by book publishers such as National Geographic, advertising agencies such as Leo Burnett, and media such as PBS.

Raymond's most recent books are Ellis Island: Coming to the Land of Liberty, which is an excellent companion volume to Tenement: Immigrant Life on the Lower East Side; The Shaker Village, a lovely collection of color photographs depicting the simplicity and grace of this remarkable utopian community; a lovely paperback edition of Where Lincoln Walked published in honor of the bicentennial of the birth of this great president; Dripping Blood Cave and Other Ghostly Stories, the third volume in a popular series of ghost stories for young readers; and Rescuing Rover: Saving America's Dogs, which has been selected for the Junior Literary Guild Book Club. Rescuing Rover is currently receiving high praise across the country.

Chigger, his most recent novel, is receiving fine reviews from readers, young and old alike. Anyone who likes to root for the underdog will love this sweet story of an unforgettable girl.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on August 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ellis Island has a rich history as the United States' largest and most famous immigration station. Following its formal opening on January 1, 1892 when fifteen year-old Annie Moore disembarked from her steamship as the first immigrant to register at Ellis Island, close to twelve million immigrants passed through the doors of this station. Although it closed in 1954, Ellis Island has remained open to the public, first on a limited basis, and then, following the largest historic renovation in U.S. history, on a more general basis as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

This interesting and informative book presents a detailed textual and photographic description of how Ellis Island came into being and evolved to meet the extensive demands placed upon it by thousands of immigrants per day. Also of note is the balanced account of the new opportunities that immigrants experienced after passing through Ellis Island, as well as the enormous disappointment felt by those who made the long ocean journey only to face deportation after failing to meet the entrance requirements. Poor health, lack of economic means, and possible criminal backgrounds were enough to substantiate a decision to send an immigrant back to the "old country." Many a reader may feel inspired to schedule a trip to Ellis Island to recreate the feelings their ancestors experienced when walking through these walls during their attempts to secure a more prosperous way of life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jewish Book World Magazine on September 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Striking photographs and interesting text will attract children to this lively, warm refresher on the role of Ellis Island Immigration Station in our national and personal histories. Raymond Bial took the modern photographs himself and chose the archival shots. The old and the new graphics blend seamlessly, highlighting the emotion of the events which, although history, are neither distant nor remote. Bial introduces catchy facts about the history of the island, once mere landfill, and about the United States Immigration Service, a federal response to each state doing their own thing. The book is a general view of all arrivals, with experiences true for all ethnic groups. There are several memories specifically about Jewish experiences and a few photos including Jewish people and religious items. More than half of the famous immigrants noted by name are Jewish, although the text does not say so. Jewish poet Emma Lazarus is quoted (her poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty) without being identified as Jewish. The text does not shirk from noting anti-immigrant sentiment and quotas. But, the common history for all groups helps establish a strong feeling of community. Counter-pointing the visions of the immigrants with the current visitors to Ellis Island creates a sense of poignancy and a common bond. Readers will care about the past, think about their family backgrounds, and hopefully journey there themselves as a result of this well researched, well written and well produced photo journalism. Pair this with another of Bial's excellent photo-essay books, Tenement: Immigrant Life on the Lower East Side. Ages 8 to 12. Ellen Cole
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