Title: Ellis Island: Coming to the Land of Liberty
Author and Illustrator: Raymond Bial
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Concepts: immigration, jobs, poverty, scarcity
Review: 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.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children