Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing” as Want to Read:
Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Irving Berlin came to the United States as a refugee from Tsarist Russia, escaping a pogrom that destroyed his village. Growing up on the streets of the lower East Side, the rhythms of jazz and blues inspired his own song-writing career. Starting with his first big hit, "Alexander's Ragtime Band," Berlin created the soundtrack for American life with his catchy tunes and ir ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published June 1st 2018 by Creston Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Be the first to ask a question about Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  87 ratings  ·  27 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Wonderful introduction to the life of Irving Berlin and the songs he wove through the history of America.
Patriotism is subjective. Until recently I might have thought myself somewhat immune to its charms. I like my country quite a lot, but I’ve a low-tolerance for nationalism, and in this particular day and age that’s not a difficult thing to come by. Fortunately all is not lost. As it turns out, children’s books have proved to be a surprising repository for hope and patriotism in the best sense of the term. Last year the book Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers actually made me tear up every time I read it ...more
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 5.0 of 5

This children's picture book about one of America's greatest songwriters - who wasn't actually born in the United States of America - is an absolutely marvelous biographical tribute. Author Nancy Churnin somehow manages to tell the entire Irving Berlin life story in thirty-two gorgeously illustrated pages, hitting the highlights, catching the struggles and the passions of the young man who gave us songs such as "Al
Robin Newman
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Irving Berlin, one of the most famous American composers of the Twentieth Century, if not THE most famous, immigrated to the United States from Western Siberia. He was just five years old when he laid eyes on the Statue of Liberty and his mother uttered those famous words, “God bless America.” His father had been a cantor and it was his influence, along with his experiences growing up in New York's lower east side (not stated specifically in the text but the illustrations with an image of Katz’s ...more
Gary Anderson
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
In Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made American Sing, Nancy Churnin delivers another inspiring picture book biography. Beginning with young Irving arriving in New York on a boat from Russia, readers understand that for Irving, music and his love for America were inseparable. As with most immigrants, life in America was at first difficult for Irving, but by following his passion for music, he eventually found success and made important contributions to America through his songs.

Irving Berlin: T
Suzie Olsen
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My first thought is wow! Such an inspiring and uplifting story about Irving Berlin and "God Bless America!" I really want to get a hold of the hard copy now! I want to be able to actually flip through the pages, admiring the actual ink of the illustrations and soak in the words. It is such a well written, and beautiful story. And the the illustrations are gorgeous! The lighting of each illustration, and the theme of Irving's red scarf throughout, and the details of the background are so well don ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good bio but most powerful as a pro-immigration message to counter the awful treatment of immigrants and want-to-be immigrants today.
I've known something of Irving Berlin's life before, that he wrote Alexander's Ragtime Band, White Christmas and God Bless America, but Nancy Churnin has managed to write of his life from his poor beginnings as an immigrant in NYC to his extraordinary successes as a composer in a way to introduce him to young children, or those readers who want to read a short biography as a start to research. He came from Russia, in a poor family when his father died when Irving was twelve, he had to quit schoo ...more
First sentence: Irving stood on tiptoe to see over the rail. Behind him, too far to glimpse, was Russia where angry Cossacks had burned his family's home to ashes. Ahead was America. What would they find there?

Premise/plot: Nancy Churnin has written a picture book biography of songwriter Irving Berlin. She begins his story with his family's journey to America. He was five. Life in the new country was hard--strange--but Berlin loved it. The picture book focuses on his early years: how
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Churnin, Nancy Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing, illustrated by James Rey Sanchez. PICTURE BOOK. Creston, 2018. $18. 9781939547446.

In the 1890’s Irving’s family fled from Russian Cossacks, just as many other Jewish families did. Thoguh his home in New York City was small and poor, music surrounded him constantly. Even after his father died and he slept on the streets, the music still called to him. He taught himself how to pick melodies out on the piano and even
As families sit outside on blankets together to enjoy fireworks displays this summer, they are certain to hear some of Irving Berlin's music, especially "God Bless America". The days leading up to the Fourth of July would be a terrific time to share this interesting picture book biography that tells the story of young Irving Berlin, who fled Russia with his family at the end of the nineteenth century. A poor, homeless young man, Berlin worked very hard as a waiter and learned to write music. As ...more
Amalia Hoffman
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Irving Berlin, The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by James Rey Sanchez is one of these books that should be in every library and school because it touches on Berlin's love for music but also on issues that our society faces every day, such as immigration, racism, persecution, poverty, struggle and determination. We get to know Irving not only as song writer but as an incredible person who was inspired by Ms. Liberty's promise and followed his own dream.
Karen Rostoker-Gruber
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another great book from Nancy Churnin!

Nancy Churnin has a knack for writing picture books about famous people--William Hoy, Charlie Sifford, and Dashrath Manjhi, just to name a few! In her book, "Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing," the reader begins to understand how a refugee from Russia came to write the song "God Bless America." His inspiration stemming from the crack of stickball games, the creak of cartwheels on the cobblestones, to the thump of his mother kneadi
Viviane Elbee
Wonderful story about Irving Berlin, who wrote the famous "God Bless America" song, as well as numerous other songs. The kids and I didn't know his story at all, but it's a fascinating one.
Great book for fans of non-fiction biographies. Also interesting for music fans and people looking for books about immigrants.
Joan Marie
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nancy Churin did a great job telling Irving Berlin's story.
This title could be added to any classroom collection of books on immigrants and patriotism.
The Author's Note adds a wealth of information not included in the heart-warming text. History teachers will love the timeline included.
Denice Hein
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great picture book/biography about a Russian Immigrant and how he become the person to write "God Bless America".
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. I didn't like the illustrations because I felt that they were very comical.
Carol Ekster
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This picture book biography is so beautifully written and it's such an inspirational story. It gave me goosebumps!
Maggie Mattmiller
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
At the start I was worried it wouldn't get to where I was expecting/hoping it would... but of course it did! Definitely need to add this to my classroom library!
Stephanie Bange
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The music of Irving Berlin is sung by people young and old today. Nancy Churnin lets youngters get to know a little more about this immigrant from Russia who composed "God Bless America".

Irving Berlin had many ups and downs in his life. In this picture book biography, Berlin emigrates to the U.S., a very different place than Siberia. His father died when Berlin was thirteen, forcing the boy to sell newspapers and leave home, living in a tenement house with other homeless kids. When h
Juliana Lee
Wonderfully written biography of a young boy who flees Russia with his family to start a new life in America. Irving Berlin scraped pennies together to feed his family after his father died suddenly. Then quite by accident he discovered that people would pay to hear him sing. He sang on street corners and soon became a singing waiter. He sang popular songs, but always had his own music playing in his head. He didn't know how to play an instrument and couldn't put the notes he heard in his head t ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Summary: Irving Berlin is a young boy who is forced to leave his home with his family and move to America. As he enters America he sees the Statue of Liberty who seems to be humming a familiar tune. Irving Berlin listens for music everywhere and begins writing songs that remind him of his home in Russia and represent America at the same time.

APA Citation:
Churnin, N. (2018). Irving berlin: The immigrant boy who made america sing. Creston Books.
Briah Krueger
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cvtc-kidlit
This book was so brilliantly made with its dialogue and facts colorfully displayed in a magnificent storytelling book. As an adult, I really enjoyed this, and I had no idea of its true story! It was so fascinating!
Maureen Tully
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great information packed into a picture book biography!
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful book--love the illustrations by James Rey Sanchez.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love it when I learn new things from non-fiction books ~ make sure to read the back matter information! Artsy illustrations, great story of working hard, perseverance and giving back.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good info/back matter
rated it really liked it
Mar 16, 2019
Gail Johnson
rated it it was amazing
Jul 30, 2018
rated it really liked it
Jan 24, 2018
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »