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The Orphan of Ellis Island
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The Orphan of Ellis Island

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  732 ratings  ·  95 reviews
During a school trip to Ellis Island, Dominick Avaro, a ten-year-old foster child, travels back in time to 1908 Italy and accompanies two young emigrants to America.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 1st 2000 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published 1997)
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  732 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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Feb 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
The orphan of Ellis island was a very interesting book, and I think this book can help you understand how people used to live, and how they suffered to come to America, on these ships, that are really dirty and no clean water to drink.
I kind of enjoyed reading this book because I really wanted to understand how Italy people immigrated
to America, and how their life was like separated from their family.
Jan 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: boy-books, girl-books
This was a really good book that my daughter asked me to get from the library after her teacher read it to their class. She was so excited to share it with me. We read the first couple chapters together and then she couldn't contain herself anymore...she finished it (for the second time) over a weekend! I'm amazed at what a great reader she is turning into! I took much longer to finish it, but it was a really good story. It is a 4.9 on the AR reading list. I like how the main character becomes c ...more
Mandy Morrow
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ms. Patterson
Jan 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came across this book when looking up info on Ellis Island. It looked to be an interesting time-travel idea -- Would the orphan from modern times find out about his parents when he travels back in time?

Dominic's life is in turmoil. His foster family will be moving out of state and he will soon be placed with ANOTHER family. He's tired of not fitting in, tired of having no friends, tired of not having a family. When on a field trip to Ellis Island with his classmates, Dominic tells a lie about
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Story time: I don't remember how I first found this book, but I was about 10 years old and it was my favorite thing ever. I read constantly, since I was never found of the ending, I would start again and reimagine what happened to these boys. My 1995 printing of the book was in terrible shape, and on the third or forth read through pages started coming out of the binding. On the fifth read through, whole chunks were missing. Eventually it completely fell apart and my mom threw it away. I was SO ...more
Ash R.
Aug 25, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is about an orphan boy who goes on a field trip with his class to Ellis Island. HE doesn't know any of his ancestors and feels bad when everyone is showing each others theres. She when he hides in the closet and falls asleep he wakes up and somehow ends up in Italy in 1908!

I can make a text to MOVIE connection when a boy gets locked in a museum and cant get out so he explores the museum and finds out stories about the history of the world.

I would rate this book a 3 because it was a go
Feb 06, 2013 rated it liked it
The orphan of Ellis island was a very interesting book, and I think this book can help you understand how people used to live, and how they suffered to come to America, on these ships, that are really dirty and no clean water to drink.
I kind of enjoyed reading this book because I really wanted to understand how Italy people immigrated
to America, and how their life was like separated from their family.

Jessica Vogt
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
In my 5th grade class we read this together. Since we where working on a Immigration report it fit in well. I liked it because how true the history was and Elvira Woodruff didnt make the history up or anything. Also my report was based on Italian immigrants since I do have Italian in me. I loved the imagination the characters had in the book.
Dec 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm mixed about this book. The story is good and sad. Dominick travels back and finds his family that came to America from Italy. However, in the present it seems like it was just a dream and no closer was made for the reader. Granted Dominick gets a sense of worth and pride for family, however I wanted him to find family in the present to live with. :(
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read this book to my third grade class, and they LOVED it! Had lots of opportunity for reviewing comprehension strategies, learning new vocabulary, and understand life lessons! And greatest of all, it had my kids excited and wanting to keep reading!
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!! :) IT WAS AMAZING! i recommend it to anybody who is Italian and has ancestors that came from Italy to Ellis Island a long time ago.
Vanessa C
Summary: This book was about an orphan named Dominic. His class when to the Ellis Island Museum and he got very upset, hid in a closet and fell asleep. When he woke up his class was gone, the museum was closed, and he was alone. He started to wander around and he listened to the stories of the immigrants. One of the immigrants started to talk to him through the phone and he ended up traveling back in time to Italy in 1908. He met 3 brothers that were also orphans and he became very close. After ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Dominic is an orphan who has moved from foster home to foster home, looking for a family. He has been shuffled so often that he has learned not to open up to people. When his class takes a field trip to Ellis Island, he so desperately wants to fit in that he makes up a lie about his heritage. He regrets it immediately, and ducks out of the tour. When he awakens and emerges from his hiding place, he is transported back to Italy - where he meets the Candiano brothers: Francesco, Salvatore and Anto ...more
Mary L.
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The story of an orphan who visited Ellis Island with his class and surprising went back to Italy in 1908. What he learns there and how he manages to return to Ellis Island and deal with his life there makes a very interesting read. It helped that I was sick today and spent a little time finishing the book.
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The orphan of Ellis Island used the "dream" to address 2 issues in this book. The reading was fluid, for young people reading this now some discussion will be needed on the main characters memories of New York as it is pre 9-1-1. As an adult the ending was to perfect but for a young person reading it the idea of dreams coming true is wonderful.
Sean A
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1-2-week-books
The Orphan of Ellis Island is a time-travel fiction book. The characters star Dominic, Francesco, Salvatore, and Antonio. Dominic ends up dreaming, and ends up in the year 1908. All four end up in adventures as a famiglia, and a journey to America.
Sarah Bodaly
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story line was fun, interesting, and engaging. The time travel aspect is not my preferred genre, but that part aside, the book was a good read. Great for children to know more about Ellis Island and the people who first stepped through its halls to the streets of America.
Dylan Crumbacker
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
It was okay but I would like it more if it had pictures.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very nice book.
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Thought I would be more impressed as this was recommended to me. It made you realize the hardships that immigrants faced.
Joseph Schvarcz
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
great book
Marisol Luna
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sweet and moving, will tug at your heart strings.
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have no idea if this book is actually good or not anymore, but kudos to the author for wowing my second-grade self.
Dorothy Alva
Apr 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Good story of how emigrating to America was so hard but so needed for people to make a better life.
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A quick read, since it's juvenile fiction. Historically quite accurate and an interesting way to get kids engrossed into the immigrant story. I highly recommend it for students in grades 4-6.
Dec 01, 2015 added it
Title: The Orphan of Ellis Island
Author: Elvira Woodruff
Genre: Historical (realistic) fiction
Theme(s): Immigration, family
Opening line/sentence: "Welcome to Ellis Island," the ranger from the National Park Service said to the group of fifth graders standing before her.
Brief Book Summary: This book is about an orphan named Dominic that goes on a class trip to Ellis Island and gets transported back in time to 1908. On his journey, Dominic gets transported back to Italy and learns all about his own
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Dominic has never had a place to belong. He goes from one foster home to the next trying to hide from his different classmates. He's not like the rest of them. When his new class visits the Ellis Island Museum, he is embarrassed because he has no family history to speak of and no relatives that he can look up during the visit. Not only that, his shoes are too tight, and he is exhausted. When he falls asleep in a closet and wakes up hours later after everyone is gone, he panics. After picking up ...more
On a school trip to Ellis Island Dominic Cantori feels uncomfortable and lies about his family heritage because he's embarrassed about being an orphan in foster care without much knowledge of his real family. Shamed by his lie, fearing to be caught, Dominic hides away in a closet in Ellis Island. When he wakes up, the museum is closed and no one is around. He wanders the museum and picks up a telephone receiver in an exhibit and listens to an old man share his memories of growing up in Italy and ...more
Oct 31, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 8th-grade-ir
This book, The Orphan Of Ellis Island, is about a young boy named Dominic who goes on an elementary school trip to Ellis Island. In the middle of the trip, the students learned about their ancestors who came to America. Their ancestors came through Ellis Island. Dominic's ancestors were sent back to their country because of sickness and he was going to feel ashamed if they weren't mentioned. Therefore, he left the class and went into a closet in the museum for awhile. When he is ready to come ou ...more
Jennifer Marie
I was excited to read this book. I love Ellis Island’s History. This book however did nothing to pull me in. It starts off slow for me. Granted there is a ‘small’ dilemma of Dominic feeling left out and different, but then it takes eight chapters before we get to the time travel aspect of this story. EIGHT CHAPTERS! I was ready to put the book down well before I reached chapter eight.

Then we spend a lot of time in Italy. Now I know that this is a part of the story that works. When I analyze it,
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Well-known for her popular children’s stories, author Elvira Woodruff had a long route to becoming a writer. In fact, one of her first jobs after leaving college was driving an ice cream truck. She has also worked as a receptionist, a janitor, a window dresser, a gardener, a shop owner, an assistant librarian, a waitress, and a storyteller. After working for several years in the children’s room of ...more