Product Details
List Price:
8 to 18
3 to 12
Trim Size:
8" x 10"
Calkins Creek
ISBN-13: 978-1-59078-765-6
Black-and-white and full-color photographs
Lexile Level:

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About the Book


 An original collection of voices, filled with hope and tears, chronicles the history of Ellis Island and the people it served. Indians, settlers, immigrants, inspectors, doctors, nurses, cooks, and social workers all played a big part in that history. Author Gwenyth Swain reimagines the lives of those who landed, lived, and worked on the island through fictional letters, monologues, dialogues, and e-mails, basing them on historical documentation and real-life people. In doing so, she creates a moving picture of their struggles and triumphs. Illustrated with poignant and affecting photographs, this is a unique exploration of Ellis Island's history. Includes further resources, bibliography, and source notes.


"Most notable for the extraordinary breadth of experiences and points of view presented, from immigrants to detainees, from cooks to carpenters, from photographers to curators. . . . A fascinating experiment in imagining the backstories of individuals mentioned in historical sources, and the curricular potential is considerable." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

* "A rich pairing of fact and imagination that provides genuine insight into the immigrant experience." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Excellent-quality archival photos or reproductions accompany the entries. A bibliography includes books, articles, interviews, websites, and silent films. This is a welcome companion to other books about Ellis Island, offering a format that can be used for oral presentations, class projects, or simply to read for enjoyment." --School Library Journal

Meet the Author

Gwenyth Swain

Gwenyth Swain is the author of more than two dozen books for young readers. She runs the library at Twin Cities Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota. Swain was inspired to write about Ellis Island after hearing her grandmother's stories of a visit to the immigration station in the early 1900s. She lives in St. Paul. Hope and Tears was supported in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

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