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Nory Ryan's Song

(Nory Ryan #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  3,748 ratings  ·  409 reviews
Nory Ryan's family has lived on Maidin Bay on the west coast of Ireland for generations, raising a pig and a few chickens, planting potatoes, getting by. Every year Nory's father goes away on a fishing boat and returns with the rent money for the English lord who owns their cottage and fields, the English lord bent upon forcing the Irish from their land so he can tumble th ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 10th 2002 by Yearling (first published September 12th 2000)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  3,748 ratings  ·  409 reviews

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Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those wanting to learn more about the potato famine.
We read this hoping to find out more about the potato famine, which when you read the fact that twice the amount of food needed by the starving people was shipped out, stolen by the English would be more accurately called a genocide than a famine, I think that calling it a famine is offensive. We certainly learnt lots about the awful life the Irish people endured, as if living on potatoes wasn't bad enough, with the potatoes lost by blight it was limpets and seaweed if you were lucky. This book ...more
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people looking for multicultural books
Read aloud 12/13 year contender.

Searing. A little too much for the younger kids in my audience, but should be read by anyone over, let's randomly say 10 or 11? Especially kids who turn up noses at good food placed consistently before them?!!

Beautifully, gorgeously written. The passage of time was a little obscure, but I wonder if that's what it would be like if one was truly starving? A little fuzzy around the edges?

Nory is a beautiful character. Actually, they all were. Giff did a great job
Feb 27, 2011 rated it liked it
I was disappointed with this historical fiction book. The premise was interesting enough - Ireland's Potato Famine of 1845-1852 and the indifference of England during that period. I also enjoyed reading that the author, Patricia Reilly Giff, has 6 great grandparents who lived through the famine. However, the story dragged on too long. 12 year old protagonist Nory is responsible for her family (Grandfather, 3 year old brother and 14 year old sister) when her oldest sister leaves for America with ...more
Vicky Sang
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book I was reading for the realistic non fiction was Nory Ryan's Song. This book connects to A Long Walk To Water in many differnet ways. In Nory Ryan's song, it mostly talked about how little water their land had. It talked about lost families, about the protagonist, Nory, who had to leave her sister. She loved her family and friends, but some of them where forced to leave because of the war. It was a sad, tragic story. Nory and the rest of her family didn't have enough food and water, they ...more
Conan Tigard
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Being an American Irishman, I knew little to nothing about the Irish Potato Famine that started in 1845. But after reading Nory Ryan's Song, I feel I know quite a great deal about the subject now. In the story, Lord Cunningham is a brutal Lord who cares absolutely about the people under his care. The poor Irish farmers can barely scrape by with a meager existence living off of the land.

Nory Ryan is a wonderful character who does anything to survive starvation. Patricia Reilly Giff does a brillia
Linda Lipko
Mar 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
In Ireland, 1845, life is brutal for those lacking in resources. The potato famine occurred, destroying a crop that sustained the poor. This is a small, but mighty book, and analogous to the character, it becomes a wonderful YA book that teaches the plight of the poor in Ireland and their desire to find a way out of their country to the land of plenty. Families dreamed of affording the price of tickets to come to America, and Nory Ryan's family is no exception.
The main character is young and res
Sarah Hughes-Plata
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandon
Nory Ryan’s Song is a historical fiction book set in Ireland in the early 1800s. Nory and her family live in a one room mud hut with a dirt floor, her entire family is crammed into this tiny hut. Nory and her family are poor and rarely have enough to eat, one foggy day Nory is given a coin. She is so tremendously excited about this little coin. She then happily gallops up to St. Patrick’s well, when she looks over the edge the coin slips from her hand and tumbled all the way down to the bottom o ...more
Jerry Jennings
Immigration is in the news here in America. We often hear is said that we are a country of immigrants. I believe today's children will benefit from opportunities to read and connect with stories of families and young people who immigrated to America.
Nory Ryan's Song by Patricia Reilly Giff is the first of three books Giff wrote about Nory. It takes place in 1845. Nory's family has lived on the coast of Ireland for generations and do to several conditions is experiencing very, very hard times. T
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book has special meaning to me as I have several ancestors who immigrated from Ireland during the great potato famine in the mid 1800’s. Well written, easy read! I look forward to reading the next book in this series.
Jul 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stayed up all night crying with this one. Giff is an award winning author who gives us a strong, complex heroine to love and cheer. Nory is a 12 year old girl living in Ireland at the time of the potato famine. Like most 12 year olds, she is a mix of innocence and maturity; she is full of the optimism and idealism of her youth.

As the story unfolds,we watch as Nory must face the often harsh reality of her situation. We see her courage, and her spirit, her compassion and her determination shine
Feb 10, 2011 rated it liked it
In Ireland in 1800’s the land is owned by a few wealthy landowners who exact their rent in potatoes. Would rather run the people off and have sheep grazing
Nory’s father is at sea trying to earn money to take the family away from Ireland. Nory’s sister, Maggie, has immigrated to New York. Nory and her siblings are living with their Granda. As they wait a terrible blight comes on the potatoes. Now they have no potatoes for rent and no potatoes for food. Then word comes there is a package at the po
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
1. Nory's family lives in Ireland on a small farm. Her father goes away every year and returns with enough rent money for the year. However, one year, the potatoes they rely on for food aren't growing, and Nory has to try and find food and help her family survive the famine.
2. Grades 4-7
3. History, Literature Circle
4. Students who like historical fiction will enjoy this.
5/6. This could be a great book to use in a historical literature circle to compare historical fiction and actual accounts of h
Allie C
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I gave this book four stars because it is slow starting at first but in the middle of the book it gets really really good. It makes you not want you to put it down. Like when Nory was walking back from town with a package in her hand, and then some man was following her and then he pushed her to the ground and then took the package from her.To me that is very interesting.This book makes you feel like you are one of the main charaters.
Karen Hogan
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Seriously, have you ever been truly hungry? I thought I was hungry, the one day I had to fast before surgery. Reading This YA book will make you see the potato famine in Ireland, through the eyes of young Nory Ryan. You will realize how cozy we live, compared to our Irish ancestors, many who starved to death. This book is for the young reader in all of us... It will make you realize how we take a full stomach for granted...
Feb 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This is the first book I've read that tells about the Irish potato famine. Giff brings up a lot of good points about what was happening duirng that time in history. I would have liked to see this story fleshed out more, so the reader can connect with her characters. This story doesn't go deep enough, yet is interesting and informative. ...more
Jul 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to rivka by: Lisa (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Does a marvelous job of capturing the Irish potato famine from the eyes of a young woman. Like all of Giff's heroines, Nory Ryan has courage and inner strength.

While the ending was fairly satisfactory, I would have liked another chapter or two continuing the story.
Patti Barber
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
This book haunted my dreams - how did my ancestors survive this horrible time in history? I would love to know their personal stories.

May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fast read and fascinating. It made me want to know more about the Irish Potato Famine.
Kimberly Brown
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very moving story, I think continuing the series could be helpful to kids. For those wanting a deeper understanding, the non-fiction book Black Potatoes is an excellent companion.
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tgtb-school
Wow! So we listened to the audio for this one while following along in the book we own. I cannot recommend the audio highly enough, the accent alone and knowing how to pronounce the Irish words. I can just hear the feeling when she calls something "fuafar" :) Such a beautiful story, Nory is so strong. I love what Anna says to her that any family is blessed to have her in it. I did not know much, if any, about the Irish hunger and I'm grateful for our history curriculum and this as a recommended ...more
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read this as a read-aloud to my younger kids (8 and 11). They both liked it despite how sad of a book it was. They were amazed that the potato famine was a real thing that actually happened. Great read for discussion of what happened then and how some of our ancestors came to America because of those events.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was a little melodramatic, but probably historically accurate description of one of the potato famine years that drove the Irish to America. It is perfect for middle-schoolers to get a feel for the depth of the historical situation in Ireland, but it could use a little more meat.
Erin Fitzpatrick
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nory Ryan’s Song by Patricia Reilly Giff is a fiction book. This book takes place in 1845 in Ireland. One of the main characters, Nory is a 12 year old girl. She’s sweet, caring, and would do anything for her family. Another main character is Anna Donnelly. Anna is a mysterious, calm, and seems scary. Throughout the story Nory doesn’t really change that much. Nory is still outgoing, caring, and sweet. Anna is uncovered a little bit by Nory. Nory sees that Anna is nice, caring, and takes cares of ...more
Abbey Jenkins
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rdng-350
Nory Ryan's Song is a great historical fiction book. This book took place in Ireland where Nory and her family lived in a small house together in a very close community. The book starts with Nory's older sister getting married and moving to America with her new husband. They all want to go to America as well one day, but they do not have the money to do so yet. Nory still has a younger brother and sister at home. She also has her "granda" at home. Her father is away trying to earn some money for ...more
Hannah Worthen
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story was set in Ireland in crisis from the overbearing control of the English. The main character, Nory Ryan, set the tone of the novel throughout. She was a young and sensitive narrator who allowed a younger point of view to a piece of old Irish history. As Nory showed us her relationships with her family and friends it allowed us to see how emotional and close her life was to the people around her. She became best friends with the neighborhood healer who was frightening at first but real ...more
Abby Johnson
Jul 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Nory Ryan is content with her life, waiting for her Da to come back with money from his fishing expeditions, dreaming about the day that they'll all move to Brooklyn, New York, America and be free from hunger and walk on streets paved with diamonds. She helps take care of her younger brother and they are content, if a bit hungry. Then comes the day that she realizes that the potato crops are black with rot. Her oldest sister announces that she's leaving to Brooklyn with her fiancee and now Nory ...more
Jason Allen
Jun 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: eng-356
This book was interesting, but honestly, it didn't grab my attention. I think the issue was simply that I found it very difficult to relate to the character, and probably to their situation in general. I did find the character mostly likeable, with all of her flaws and weaknesses, but also her willingness to work and overcome those weaknesses. In that sense, I felt that the character had several very admirable traits-so the lack of attachment I felt was the real difficulty I had with it.

I would
Natalie Waddell-Rutter
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Twelve-year-old Nory Ryan and her family have always lived a meager life in the Irish countryside, but they have always managed to make ends meet. But now it's 1845, and a terrible blight is attacking the potato crops, the main source of food for the Irish peasants. And not only are the in danger of starvation, but their English landlord is threatening to turn them off the land that should be theirs if they don't pay the rent soon. But Nory is brave and resourceful, and she comes up with ways to ...more
Feb 01, 2010 added it
Nory Ryan's Song

This book takes place in Ireland during the mid 1800. Nory Ryan was a little normal Irish girl until the only food they had, the potatoes, had rotted. The only people she had were her older sister Celia, younger brother pattches, and her grandad. Because her dad was off at sea fishing to pay here bills and there mom died giving birth to pattches.

One day when her dad didn't come home they couldn't pay there bill and could barley eat. This went on for months until her grandad an
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PATRICIA REILLY GIFF is the author of many beloved books for children, including the Kids of the Polk Street School books, the Friends and Amigos books, and the Polka Dot Private Eye books. Several of her novels for older readers have been chosen as ALA-ALSC Notable Books and ALA-YALSA Best Books for Young Adults. They include The Gift of the Pirate Queen; All the Way Home; Water Street; Nory Ryan ...more

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Nory Ryan (2 books)
  • Maggie's Door (Nory Ryan #2)

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