When Jessie Came Across the Sea
When Jessie Came Across the Sea

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Annotation: A thirteen-year-old Jewish orphan reluctantly leaves her grandmother and immigrates to New York City, where she works for three years sewing lace and earning money to bring Grandmother to the United States, too.
Catalog Number: #325646
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 1997
Edition Date: 2003
Illustrator: Lynch, Patrick James,
Pages: 40
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: Publisher: 0-7636-1274-X Perma-Bound: 0-605-44992-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-7636-1274-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-44992-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 97006250
Dimensions: 26 x 28 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
for reading aloud. Jessie and her grandmother live in an Eastern European shtetel where, one day, the Rabbi informs the villagers that his brother has died and left him one ticket to the promised land. The rabbi feels he cannot leave his people and decides to give the ticket to 13-year-old Jessie. It's almost too much for Jessie and her grandmother to bear, though both believe it is for the best. In America, Jessie follows her grandmother's trade and becomes a dressmaker. She works for three years until she has enough saved to purchase another ticket--for her grandmother. This picture book for older children is handsomely crafted. The pages are thick, and the watercolor-and-gouache paintings that illustrate the story are luminous. Lynch's full-page and paneled art, especially the scenes of Jessie at sea, have a panoramic quality. In some ways, the book's rich look is a problem, because the design, at times, overwhelms a story whose strongest point is its personal feeling. The pictures are striking, but it's the text that conveys the human emotions of loss, hope, and love that children will respond to. (Reviewed February 1, 1998)
Horn Book
In this touching story, thirteen-year-old Jessie immigrates to America from an unnamed Eastern European country. She studies English diligently when she is not at work sewing lace in a dress shop. Hest describes Jessie's adjustment to her new life and her growing friendship with a young man she met on the ship. The accomplished illustrations center on the characters but also skillfully depict Jessie's surroundings.
Publishers Weekly
With this tale of a 13-year-old girl's journey from a shtetl in Eastern Europe to America, the author simply and faithfully holds a mirror to the milestone event for millions of immigrants,"""" wrote PW in a starred review. Ages 6-12. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4--This narrative of 13-year-old Jessie's journey from a poor village in Eastern Europe to New York City at the turn of the century affords readers a panoramic view of events and people. The author's exploration of a variety of emotions and feelings provides modern youngsters with a sense of connections with times long past. There is the familial devotion between Jessie and her grandmother, whom she has to leave behind. A shipboard friendship with Lou, a young shoemaker, helps Jessie survive the hardships and uncertainties of the ocean crossing. Her skill as a lacemaker, painstakingly learned from her grandmother, insures her success in the dressmaker's shop where she goes to work. Her romance with Lou is rekindled when they meet years later on a wintry day in Central Park. Jessie's reunion with her grandmother, whose ticket she has purchased with money saved during years of hard work, is the poignant conclusion to this tale. Lynch's luminous watercolor and gouache illustrations capture the characters' feelings, at the same time recording the storms at sea and teeming streets of the Lower East Side. The two young people's spirit of hope and optimism, created by the straightforward text, is enhanced by these pictures, as they provide a visual record of difficulties encountered by the scores of immigrants who reached these shores. This book will be particularly useful for units on immigration and family histories, used in conjunction with Allen Say's Grandfather's Journey (Houghton, 1993) or Jeanette Winter's Klara's New World (Knopf, 1992; o.p.).--Martha Rosen, Edgewood School, Scarsdale, NY
Word Count: 1,836
Reading Level: 3.2
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.2 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 17745 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.5 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q12460
Lexile: 470L
Guided Reading Level: S
Fountas & Pinnell: S

"Hest simply and faithfully holds a mirror to the milestone event for millions of turn-of-the-century immigrants." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

When a young girl from a poor eastern European village learns that she must leave her beloved grandmother for a new life — and a new love — in America, they both feel that their hearts will break. The sure and inspired narrative by award-winning author Amy Hest is paired with paintings by P.J. Lynch that glow with warmth and carefully observed detail, creating an unforgettable tribute to the immigrant experience.

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