Title: The Two Brothers
Author: William Jasperson
Illustrator: Michael A. Donato
Publisher: August House
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 3.8
Concepts: immigration, jobs, human resources, poverty
Review: A mother and her two sons, Heinrich and Friedrich, lived a difficult life of poverty and harsh political rule in Prussia. Heinrich decided to use spend all his savings to travel to America so he could find a better way of life. After promising to send money from America to his mother and younger brother so they could join him later, Heinrich embarked on a long, rough voyage across the ocean to New York. His fortunes changed for the better when the immigration official gave him a lead on a job opening in Vermont, a dollar for dinner, and a train ticket. Ironically, and unbeknownst to Heinrich, Friedrich traveled a very similar journey from Prussia to Vermont just a short while later after their mother died. How would the two brothers be reunited when neither knew of the other’s whereabouts?
The Two Brothers, based on a true story, offers readers an entertaining story about immigration to the United States in the late 1800s. Not only does the book incorporate some important economics concepts related to jobs and poverty, but it also provides readers with a useful reminder of the challenges that people faced in communicating long distance when they did not have the technology that we have today.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children