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Maggie's Door Library Binding – September 9, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Nory Ryan's Song Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

416 Smith Street, Brooklyn, America: this is the ultimate goal for Nory Ryan as she flees her famine-ridden home in mid-1800s Ireland. One by one, her family has departed for a new life in America; Nory is the last to go. Keeping her sister Maggie’s address close to her heart, Nory embarks on the perilous, heart-breaking journey to Galway and onward. Meanwhile, her friend Sean Red Mallon is just a few days ahead, traveling with his mother and Nory’s little brother, Patch, with the same destination in mind. Picking up where Nory Ryan’s Song leaves off, award-winning author Patricia Reilly Giff’s historical novel tells, in alternating voices, Nory and Sean’s stories. Readers will be engrossed in the series of dramatic events, as well as the grueling day-by-day struggle, as the protagonists suffer injuries, thievery, separations, and horrific sea passages. The very real tragedy of the Irish potato famine and the subsequent exodus from that country is brought to life in a fictional account that will make a profound, lasting mark on the memories of young readers. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8-Fans of Nory Ryan's Song (Delacorte, 2000) will not want to miss this sequel. It begins as Nory leaves her home in Ireland a few days behind her friend Sean Red Mallon, his mother, and Nory's four-year-old brother, Patch, to embark on their journey to America. In alternating stories, Nory and Sean relate their distressing experiences as they make their way toward Nory's sister's house in Brooklyn. Both characters face trickery, cruelty, starvation, filthy conditions, and storms at sea, but they are determined to reach their destination. The theme is one of courage and hope for the future. The characters are developed fully, revealing their determination and courage, as well as their fears. Both Nory and Sean grow as individuals as they face each obstacle to their final goal. The mood of anticipation and apprehension is sustained as readers travel with them toward Maggie's door. Giff's descriptive language and detailed descriptions enable children to visualize the countryside and events along the way. Factual information on the potato blight and the resulting emigration is explained in an afterword. A welcome addition to any historical-fiction collection.
Margaret R. Tassia, Millersville University, PA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Library Binding: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (September 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385900953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385900959
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,567,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Nory Ryan has a dream that one day her family will be together again. They will be in America, standing outside the door of her sister Maggie's house in Brooklyn. Nory's friend and neighbor, Sean Red Mallon, also has a dream. He imagines himself together with his brother Francey and Francey's new young wife, Maggie. Nory will be there with her family and they will all be standing outside Maggie's door.
Nory and Sean share the same dream, but for now they have only hunger and misery in their lives after the potato famine hits Ireland. With no hope left, the Ryans and Mallons have decided to leave Ireland and in small groups have set off on foot for the nearest port to get a ship to England and then another ship to America.
Starving, weak, and not knowing the world beyond their own small community, the straggling travelers lose one another in the chaos of a famine-stricken Ireland. Sean finds himself alone and has to make his own way to America without a ticket or money. In his adventures, he makes a great discovery that leads him to a new goal in life as he decides that he is going to learn how to read and will have a book of his own one day.
Patricia Reilly Giff keeps the children's stories separate, alternating chapters and maintaining a sense of suspense as to whether or not the family members will find one another. Giff's graphic description of the horrors of the famine makes her story very powerful. The poverty is almost beyond our understanding and the suffering of the Irish people is unspeakable. Giff also is a master of imagery. For example, when she describes the potato crop as a stinking "ooze" we visualize a vast contrast to the pretty bluish purple flowers that one sees blossoming in a field of healthy potato plants.
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Format: Paperback
It is the great potato famine of Ireland and everyone is starving, save the rich Englishmen. Surviving on seaweed and scavenged eggs from the seabird's nests, Nory knows it is her turn. Her family has gone on, and she has nothing to hold her back.

Nory Ryan sets out, down the road to Galway, alone. She hopes to find her young brother and her neighbor Sean Red Mallon, and together set sail for America. Her sister Maggie has already arrived in Brooklyn, and waits at 416 Smith Street for her family to join her and her new husband, Sean Red's brother.

Nory's tale and Sean's are told in alternating chapters and sometimes with connecting moments that demonstrate the synchronicity of life. Sean is forced to leave his Mam and Nory's brother Patch, and when he returns they are nowhere to be found. Distraught, he hopes to find them again and manages to gain passage to Liverpool as ballast in the hold of a ship. From there he is to be the cook's assistant on another ship to America. It is the only way, and he is lucky to have found it.

Will Nory find her brother, and perhaps even her father and sister at the docks? Will she find passage on a ship, and if she does, will she survive the trip? And what of her friend Sean - they were destined to be together, or so she thought.

In a tale as old as America herself, Patricia Reilly Giff gives us a glimpse into the realities of our immigrant forefathers and mothers. My own great great grandfather an immigrant to New York, the story hits home for me, as it will most Americans. Giff's understanding and interest in the era shows and her gift of story telling shines. Maggie's Door awaits at 416 Smith Street and the journey is unforgettable. The book is suitable for older readers and adults alike, bringing history to life before your eyes.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is the best kind of historical fiction, because it makes actual events real for today's reader. The writing was beautiful and it tapped into my emotions. I could feel the despair and the driving hope of the characters. It is written from two different perspectives, Nory, and her best friend Sean, both at different points of their journey to America, which provides a broader view of the immigrants' experience. Without going into excessive detail, the author paints a beautiful picture that allows you to imagine the scenes of the book. It is difficult to read at times, but the ending was very rewarding.

I plan to read this to my 8th grade class this fall as a part of our Industrial Era through World War 1 unit. It's a very enchanting read, it has plenty of historical and literary value for a combined history/literature unit, and because the writing was simple, yet still powerful, it could be read with students on different reading levels.
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A Kid's Review on March 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
Maggie's Door

By: Lila Garcia

Nory Ryan is a young Irish girl who lives through what is now known as the "potato famine." Many people in Ireland are going to America to get away from this monstrosity. Nory's sister has already landed in America, and is waiting for the rest of her family.

So, Nory along with Patch, her brother, and Granda, her grandfather, set off for America in a smelly ship called "Samson."

There Nory will learn what it means to "stand together and never let go, even if there are bad times ahead."

Maggie's Door, an awesome sequel to Nory Ryan's Song, is a stunning novel about courage, love and determination. Patricia Giff makes it feel as though one was actually there. This is also a book in which the reader will see how far people go for the ones they love.
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