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Junk Man’s Daughter

Sonia Levitin

Illustrations by Guy Porfirio

Picture Book (Series)

Ages 6 to 9

Sleeping Bear Press, 2007, 1-58536-315-4

  Before they got to America Papa used to tell Hanna and her brothers that in America “there are streets of gold” and when they got there they would be rich. Indeed he said they should take sacks with them that they could fill up with the gold that they would pick up off the streets.

  At last the time came to leave. Everyone said that life in America would be wonderful and easy. Everyone said that the family would do well in the new land that they were going to. Hanna was amazed when she saw the big city for the first time with its tall buildings and its streets full of loud vehicles. She wondered if all the people that she saw rushing by were looking for the streets of gold.

  Soon the family was settled into a tiny apartment. Mama knitted shawls and sweaters to sell but very few people bought any. Hanna wandered the streets looking for that elusive gold but it was nowhere to be found. Poor Papa could not find work and times were very hard. Hanna became very angry with Papa and accused him of lying to her about America’s “streets of gold.” Papa even talked about going back to the “old country” but Mama said they should stay and “find a way.”

  And then Papa and the children do indeed find a way. They begin to collect and sell junk that they find on the streets. They create a family business which grows into something special.

  All too often immigrants coming to America had very unrealistic expectations about what to expect, and this picture book shows readers what that was like and how one family turned their shattered dreams into a realistic one which had promise for the future.

 Carefully written and warmly illustrated, this is an excellent addition to the “Tales of Young Americans” series. 

Junk Man's Daughter


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