Shutting Out the Sky

Shutting Out the Sky

by Deborah Hopkinson


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In a stunning nonfiction debut, award-winning author Deborah Hopkinson focuses on five immigrants' stories to reveal the triumphs and hardships of early 1900s immigrant life in New York.

Acclaimed author Hopkinson recounts the lives of five immigrants to New York's Lower East Side through oral histories and engaging narrative. We hear Romanian-born Marcus Ravage's disappointment when his aunt pushes him outside to peddle chocolates on the street. And about the pickle cart lady who stored her pickles in a rat-infested basement. We read Rose Cohen's terrifying account of living through the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, and of Pauline Newman's struggles to learn English. But through it all, each one of these kids keeps working, keeps hoping, to achieve their own American dream.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780439375900
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 10/01/2003
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 587,885
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: 990L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Deborah Hopkinson is the author of such award-winning children’s books as SWEET CLARA AND THE FREEDOM QUILT; GIRL WONDER: A BASEBALL STORY IN NINE INNINGS; A BAND OF ANGELS; and Dear America: HEAR MY SORROW. Her nonfiction books, SHUTTING OUT THE SKY, LIFE IN THE TENEMENTS OF NEW YORK, a Jane Addams Peace Award Honor book and an Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book; and UP BEFORE DAYBREAK, COTTON AND PEOPLE IN AMERICA, a Carter G. Woodson Honor Award winner, have garnered much acclaim.

Deborah lives near Portland, Oregon, where, in addition to writing, she works full-time as the Vice President for Advancement for the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Table of Contents

Voices in this Bookix
Coming to the Golden Land1
Tenements: Shutting Out the Sky17
Settling In: Greenhorns and Boarders33
Everyone Worked On47
On the Streets: Pushcarts, Pickles, and Play71
A New Language, A New Life87
Looking to the Future: Will It Ever Be Different?101
Further Reading116
Selected Bibliography120
Text Permissions123
Photo Credits130

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Shutting Out the Sky 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Cra71 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
WOW! This book truly takes you into a sad part of America's history. It was truly informative on the conditions and hardships that new immigrants faced when arriving to this "golden land". The pictures and stories paint a picture of the life that these people had. It is truly inspirational and makes you much more grateful for those who did not quit on the American dream.
kharding on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I chose this book because I have been interested and studying the history of immigration in the U.S. for some time. Yet, I had never read about the topic through the perspective of children. This perspective makes the experience more compelling. This book is broken up into chapters with catchy titles such as "Everyone Worked On" and "On the Streets: Pushcarts, Pickles and Play." Each chapter discusses a different topic relevant in the lives of child immigrants from 1880 to 1924. This book acknowledges numerous challenges they faced: from the difficult journey, to discrimination and assimilation, homelessness or cramped tenement life, balancing school and work, poverty, sacrificing in order to save up for family members arrival, and language difficulties. However, the book also addresses the fun or interesting parts of a new life, such as eating new foods, games played and new experiences. All of these topics are discussed extensively through personal stories from 5 immigrants from different European countries. Left out are the stories of immigrants from other parts of the world, including the voices of second generation immigrants during this time period. Also the focus is in the region of New York. While limited in scope, I don't think this is necessarily I flaw. I think instead, a teacher would need to provide further information about this time period and immigration policies and experiences before and after. I like that this book includes significant interesting anecdotes while also explaining important events related to the immigrant experience, such as the work of Jacob Riis and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.