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If Your Name Was Changed At Ellis Island Paperback


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Series: If You…
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; Reissue edition (August 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590438298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590438292
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 8.9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite the book's somewhat misleading title (only two pages are devoted to the practice of changing names), Levine ( I Hate English! ; If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King ) offers a comprehensive, well organized discussion of the immigration procedures followed at Ellis Island between 1892 and 1914. One- or two-page chapters offer concise answers to questions ("What did people bring with them?'; "What happened if you were detained?"; "How did people learn English?"), enabling youngsters to digest easily a significant amount of information. Facts about the many rigorous routines and tests (medical, legal, literacy) that new arrivals endured are peppered with the intriguing personal reminiscences of individuals who lived through them. Sometimes sharply focused, sometimes effectively hazy, Parmenter's acrylic paintings admirably evoke the period, as well as the anguish and joy that characterized the bittersweet Ellis Island experience. Ages 7-10.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Arranged in Q&A style, this survey of earlier immigrations asks: ``Did all immigrants come through Ellis Island?'' (no); ``Did you have to have a job waiting for you?'' (again, no; in fact, it was not allowed). It's evident that America has always been a polyglot magnet--even in 1643, 18 languages were spoken in one colonial area. It's also evident that there's been long-standing prejudice against certain immigrants (ability to read was required for entrance, and first and second class arrivals didn't have to sweat it out at Ellis Island). Perhaps most interesting here are the individual stories: the name change in the author's own family; the child who had never seen a banana and ate it whole; the ``six- second'' medical exam. Levine (If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon, 1986) gives multiculturalism an extra boost by ending with a sampling of words and other contributions from many heritages. Nostalgically warm impressionistic paintings, suffused with sepia, simultaneously signal suffering and hope. (Nonfiction. 7-10) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Ellen Levine has always been drawn to stories of people who struggled for justice, and of ordinary people who did extraordinary things. She was fascinated by Henry "Box" Brown, whose escape is recounted in The Underground Railroad by William Still, first published in 1872. Ms. Levine was awed by Henry's ingenious idea and moved by his incredible courage. Among the author's award-winning books are Freedom's Children, winner of the Jane Addams Peace Award and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; and Darkness Over Denmark, a Jame Addams Peace Award Honor Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. She lives in New York City and Salem, New York.

Customer Reviews

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See all 11 customer reviews
Now she wants to visit the island!!
D Kelly
For Christmas, I sent her this brilliant book.
Rocco Dormarunno
I recommend ages 7-12 to read this book.
BizzyMom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Rocco Dormarunno on May 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
When my niece (from L.A.) first came to New York, she was seven years old. I took her to the rehabilitated Ellis Island, and she was (for a seven year old) fascinated to learn that her great grandparents along with millions of other immigrants had stepped across that pier and became Americans. For Christmas, I sent her this brilliant book.
"If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island" by Ellen Levine answered many of the questions that I could not. She sent me back a glowing thank you note, and told me her teacher loved her book report on this book. Eventually, I picked up the book for myself. Guess what? For many first-, second- or third-generation Americans this book answers a lot of questions from that nearly forgotten era, and of that generation of people who helped America as they helped themselves. This is a great testimony to Ms. Levine and illustrator Wayne Parmenter to their well-planned book.
Rocco Dormarunno
Author of The Five Points
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a very concise and informational book about immigration in the early 20th Century. I learned a lot from this book and suspect my students will too.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MsLib on March 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
The book is a good way for young children to learn about the immigration process of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That being said, I absolutely MUST object to the author encouraging even more people to swallow the fable that employees at Ellis Island changed names of immigrants! It simply did not happen. Yes, I'm aware that every other family of Ellis Island immigrant descendants has their story about some arrogant clerk being unable to pronounce Wojciechowski and so the clerk informs the hapless immigrant that his new name was Smith or Miller or some other "American sounding" name. It's ridiculous on its face because there were interpreters of countless languages ready to translate for the new immigrants so that communication was simplified. Fiorello H. LaGuardia was once such interpreter. This was a federal installation and all the paperwork had to match up. The names the immigrants gave had to match up with the names on the ship's manifest. The manifests were made out in the port of origin before the ship ever set sail for America. If the immigrant wanted to change their name before they left home in order to fit in or hope for better treatment from their new neighbors, they could certainly give the name of their choice when asked. The name-change fable is an enduring one and it's rather insulting to those of us who know better, but it's even more insulting to the people who struggled to come to America and try to live life in a strange new place.
Next I will attempt to wipe out the "my great-grandmother was a Cherokee princess" fairy tale. Wish me luck.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Fournier on March 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Ellis Island was the main immigration port for the United States from the 1890s to the 1910s. This children's book outlines the process for immigrants coming to America: where they left from, the journey, arriving at Ellis Island and following procedures, and what they did after they left the Island. The book structure follows a question and answer structure, answering good questions like what the immigrants brought with them, how their names may have been changed, and what happened if they didn't speak English. It also shows the perspective of the immigration agents, which was especially interesting to me- to process the amount of people they had coming in, they gave a "six-second medical exam" to determine for any contagious diseases and mental defects. The books also talks about some agents who would let people slip by with a kind smile and good wishes. The illustrations seem dated, and the book would really come to life with better renderings, but it's interesting to see the view of New York coming from across the Atlantic, and to see the Grand Hall where immigrants split up to go either into New York or for quarantine. The amount of information and text make this book more appropriate for an older child, but would be perfect as research for a project on immigration or family history. [...]
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Targetaholic on February 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
My family came through Ellis Island in the late 1890s so when my mother bought this book for me when I was a child it was very significant. As I got older I became very interested in genealogy and my ancestral history. In doing my research and discussing with other professional genealogists and historians I learned that having your name changed at Ellis Island was actually a myth. The historical truth is that there was NO WAY an immigrant could get through Ellis Island or any immigration services without proper papers. Those papers would have an immigrant's name on it. Ellis Island was run very tight, they had interpreters, inspectors, etc. If an immigrant changed their name it was usually by choice and AFTER they left Ellis Island and to fit in or Americanize.

If you want to know more about the myth of names being changed at Ellis Island, just Google it. There is a lot of information out there. Unfortunately, this books was written before that research was done.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BizzyMom on March 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
My nine year old daughter read this book for a book test that she had to take at school and fell in love with it. But the title is ...If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island and there is only two pages out of 80 that mention about that. But a wonderful book. I recommend ages 7-12 to read this book. I hope my review helped you. One more thing if your child or children don't read long books don't get it because it is 80 pgs. It took my daughter only two days though. I hope you enjoy it.
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