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Shutting Out the Sky: Life in the Tenements of New York, 1880-1924 First Edition
Contributor(s): Hopkinson, Deborah

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ISBN: 0439375908     ISBN-13: 9780439375900
Publisher: Orchard Books
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Binding Type: Hardcover - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: October 2003

Annotation: In her nonfiction debut, the award-winning author recounts the lives of five young immigrants to New York's Lower East Side through oral histories and engaging narrative.

Click for more in this series: Jane Addams Honor Book (Awards)
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Poor; New York (State); New York; Juvenile literature.
Immigrants; New York (State); New York; History; Juvenile literature.
Tenement houses; New York (State); New York; Juvenile literature.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Nonfiction | History | United States
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Social Issues | Homelessness & Poverty
Dewey: 307.76/4/097471
LCCN: 2002044781
Lexile Measure: 990
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Series: Jane Addams Honor Book (Awards)
Book type: Juvenile Non-Fiction
Physical Information: 8.75" H x 8.25" W x 0.75" (1.10 lbs) 144 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 74048
Reading Level: 6.8   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 4.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q33902
Reading Level: 4.9   Interest Level: Grades 3-5   Point Value: 6.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Publisher Description:
Shutting Out the Sky: Life in the Tenements of New York, 1880-1924 depicts immigrant life at the turn of last century.

Contributor Bio(s): IV>Deborah Hopkinson is the author of such award-winning children’s books as SWEET CLARA AND THE FREEDOM QUILT; GIRL WONDER: A BASEBALL STORY IN NINE INNINGS; A BAND OF ANGELS; and Dear America: HEAR MY SORROW. Her nonfiction books, SHUTTING OUT THE SKY, LIFE IN THE TENEMENTS OF NEW YORK, a Jane Addams Peace Award Honor book and an Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book; and UP BEFORE DAYBREAK, COTTON AND PEOPLE IN AMERICA, a Carter G. Woodson Honor Award winner, have garnered much acclaim.

Deborah lives near Portland, Oregon, where, in addition to writing, she works full-time as the Vice President for Advancement for the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Spring)
This well-organized social history documents the struggles of young immigrants (including dangerous living and working conditions, poverty, and lack of education) to carve out better futures for themselves and their families. The accessible narrative, supported by well-placed sepia-toned archival photographs, draws much of its intensity from the young immigrants' firsthand accounts. Further reading, timeline. Bib., ind. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2004 #1)
Hopkinson describes Jacob Riis's 1890 book exposing the deplorable conditions of New York City tenement housing as having "such powerful pictures and words that readers were carried directly into the world of the tenements." The same can be said of Hopkinson's own absorbing look at the lives of immigrant children and young adults in New York at the turn of the twentieth century--a time of unprecedented immigration to America. This well-organized social history covers a lot of ground and draws much of its intensity from firsthand accounts. The opening chapters reflect the progression many immigrant children (and adults) made from dreams of easy wealth and happiness to the bleak reality of tenement life. The accessible narrative, effectively supported by well-placed sepia-toned archival photographs, documents the struggles of young immigrants (including dangerous living and working conditions, poverty, lack of education) to carve out better futures for themselves and their families in spite of the obstacles they faced just to survive. A final chapter, filling in later accomplishments made by five specific young people, ends the book on a note of promise. A timeline, list of further reading, bibliography, chapter notes, and index enhance this fascinating glimpse into the past. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2003 December #1)
This chronicle of the challenges facing immigrants in New York's teeming tenements effectively employs primary sources to place a personal face on broader historical events, helping children make sense of the impressive statistic that about 23 million people came to the U.S. between 1880-1919, with 17 million entering via New York (the book ends in 1924, with the passage of legislation that limited immigration). Hopkinson (Fannie in the Kitchen) follows five transplants from Belarus, Italy, Lithuania and Romania who emigrated as children or teens (all of the subjects later wrote autobiographies or articles and speeches, which serve as the foundation for Hopkinson's text). Through them the author explores issues ranging from the bewilderment of greenhorns like 16-year-old Marcus, who didn't understand why his seemingly wealthy relatives ("[they] could indulge in the luxury of meat in the middle of the day") shared their apartment with half a dozen or more boarders, to the growing unrest of exploited laborers who gradually gathered the courage to agitate for better working conditions. She balances a highly readable discussion of change and reform with a look at the culture, joy and play that also characterized these vibrant communities. Throughout, period photographs ably support and highlight the text. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2003 December)
Gr 5-8-Through the stories of five immigrants, the world of New York City's tenements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries comes alive with descriptions of the newcomers' struggles and triumphs as they attended night school, abandoned customs, or in other ways acclimated to life in America. Some came as children, others as teenagers, all eager either to succeed on their own or to help their families. Leonard Covello, who left Italy and arrived at Ellis Island with his mother and younger brothers six years after his father, became a high school principal. Pauline Newman began her working career in 1901 as a child laborer in the garment industry and later became one of the first women organizers of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Citing sources, Hopkinson quotes frequently from her subjects' and others' writing, and provides a detailed and intimate picture of daily life in Manhattan's Lower East Side. The text is supported by numerous tinted, archival photos of living and working conditions. Although this book will appeal to students looking for material for projects, the writing lends immediacy and vivid images make it simply a fascinating read.-Carol Fazioli, formerly at The Brearley School, New York City Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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