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I Was Dreaming to Come to America: Memories from the Ellis Island Oral History Project
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I Was Dreaming to Come to America: Memories from the Ellis Island Oral History Project

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  44 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
In their own words, immigrants recall their arrival in the United States. Includes brief biographies and facts about the Ellis Island Oral History Project.In their own words, coupled with hand-painted collage illustrations, immigrants recall their arrival in the United States. Includes brief biographies and facts about the Ellis Island Oral History Project.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published August 1st 1997 by Puffin Books
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Kelly McKenzie
Oct 19, 2016 is currently reading it
I think this book would be interesting to children because it offers a lot of different perspectives on people coming to America. They all have a different view and most of them are from different countries. This story provides short descriptions of people's journey and arrival to the United States at Ellis Island. It offers children different things to think about in the sense that they can imagine the point of view of the different immigrants. The story is written simply and doesn't use any bi ...more
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is a good quick book to read to children. I know that one of the AKS (Gwinnett County Standards) is that children talk about immigration. I think this would be a good book to share with the children during this study. There are some really good stories that talk about how these children felt when they came to Ellis Island. Also, at the end of the book, there are the biographies of the children that are mentioned in the book. When I read this book, I can match it to what I have seen whe ...more
Mitzy Rodriguez
a compilation of letters from individuals that express their thoughts of moving to a foreign location. A lot of the dialogue was positive, but others were not so excited. They spoke about feeling sick once they arrived at their new destination, they were not use to the customs of environment. One young child talks about the storm the family had to go through just to get to their new. At the end of the bad times, good times began, it was the start of a new life, many started new traditions; one y ...more
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is treasure I've used more than once with students who were doing their own oral histories as well as when we studied immigration. It is filled with short pieces from immigrants who tell of their experiences when they arrived in America. The artistic responses by Lawlor are gorgeous watercolor/collages, and the words from each tell small parts of their time. Here is a part from a young woman: "When I came here, I was in a different world. It was so peaceful, it was quiet. You were not afra ...more
Dec 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a good resource for students to explore to understand immigrant's strong desires for coming to America. Often, today's students get lost about the reasons and ambitions for coming to America.

A teacher can incorporate this book in his or her classroom by having students read the book individually or as a class. To make text to self connections, the students could create a collage or mural of their interpretations of the desires of the child in the book.
Nov 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-studies
Very good book for kids to deal with S.S and immigration. The book was kid friendly and easy to relate to. I loved the way it was written as kids letters who were immigrating. Their was great insight into the world of immigration.
Nov 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book would be great in a social studies unit about immigration. It is awesome because it takes excerpts from peoples real accounts of immigrating and living in the US. It would be great to interject some true stories into your lesson to bring it back home for the students.
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-studies
Another really good book to read in regards to immigration. With such a diverse population in classrooms today books like that can teach about culture and tolerance to so many.
immigration, hope/dream/determination/new culture
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Features brief comments of new arrivals and inspectors to Ellis Island which was used from the 1890's to 1954. Insightful, includes child-like drawn images. At end shares brief bio of each of the commenters.
Benjamin Wagner
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I Was Dreaming to Come to America is a non-fiction anthology, a slice-of-life collection of quotes from children from various countries (mostly European) who arrived to Ellis Island between 1890 and 1925. Because of the abstract nature of the illustrations, and the advanced language utilized in the quotes, I would recommend this for older students, probably fourth or fifth graders. It will require a great deal of analysis on the part of the student, but the non-fiction opinions and experiences e ...more
Nov 30, 2010 rated it liked it
I liked this book because it took so many different points of view and even from different countries. The thing I didn't like was that each letter was so similar when I used it in my class I realized each passage that I gave each group was almost the same. My students weren't all together engaged but it was short excerpts so it was doable. I liked it as a quick introduction to the topic of immigration but I would only select a few excerpts to read.
Nov 15, 2010 rated it liked it
This book is really cool because it contains excerpts from people who actually immigrated to the US via Ellis Island and they tell what their experiences were like on the voyage over here, what it was like once they got here, and how they were treated by the translators. It's really neat to hear the perspective from people from all over the world and how excited they were to come to America and how much it meant to them.
Kira Richardson
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great book that was touching and told real stories. I remember going to Ellis Island as a field trip in Middle School, so this would be a great book to read, that can relate to a real place students could possibly travel to. An immigration unit or just simply learning about other cultures could work well with this book being an introduction.
Leah Lemon
This book is a collection of quotes from immigrants who passed through Ellis Island and the workers who worked there when it was an immigration center. It gives you an up close look at how life was on Ellis Island adn what coming to America meant for so many immigrants.
this is a very special book; the images and the quotes are moving. if presented in a good way, this book could inspire students to create a multimodal peice in which they describe an event that has importance in their lives and choose graphics and sound to go with the presentation.
Nov 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Great informational text about immigration. Great book to use to allow students to make connections about the immigrations problems of yesterday and today. The book included interviews from individuals that were actually at or came thru Ellis Island.
Jennifer Ho
A cool book which includes short verses of immigrants from all parts of the world who come to Ellis Island to start a new life in America.
Mandy Groover
Great for teaching about Ellis Island and immigrants.
Nov 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Not the most memorable book, but I do believe that some teachers will find this useful when teaching social studies.
Joann Park
Nov 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-studies
Accurate narratives from people who arrived on Ellis Island from a foreign country. Book about immigrants and the struggle they endured.
Jazmen Kearney
Dec 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-studies
Great book with personal stories about immigration. Students will be able to see how the people actually felt through these stories.
Amriel Rodriguez
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Kisha Parker
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