Jackie's Reviews > The King of Mulberry Street

The King of Mulberry Street by Donna Jo Napoli
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's review
Mar 08, 11

bookshelves: children-fiction, historical, illegal-aliens, immigrant-experience, italy, self-reliance, survival, urban-street-lit
Read from March 06 to 08, 2011

In 1892, life was bleak, people were poor, and struggled every day to survive. At just 9 years-old, Dom was living in Italy with his family...a family who adored him, cared for him, and wanted only the best for him. His mother was his world. But, for whatever reason, Dom's mother thought it best he be sent to America, where life was better. She could only afford passage for one. And so, Dom finds himself alone in New York, trying to survive.

He survives by the skin of his nose, using the wisdom and knowledge his family gave him back home. Recalling proverbs his Nonna recited, Dom began work as a sandwich vendor on Wall Street with his new friends, Gaetano and Pietro. At first, he slept on the streets and begged for food, but he soon found a way to survive and acquire the simple necessities of life that we all take for granted...shoes, a clean bed, and enough food, and an occasional hug from a grandmotherly Signora Esposito.

Horrifying as this all seems, these events are based on fact. Many young boys, as young as 5, were sent an ocean away to survive on the streets of America...all because their families wanted them to have a better life. It is a novel of unimaginable horrors, scenarios, and will to live. The King of Mulberry Street is a book that everyone should read and then get down on their knees to count their blessings.

Used for Hiawatha School Book Talk: March, 2010.

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