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Junkman's Daughter Review by Susan K. Marlow

Sonia Levitin
IllustratorGuy Porfirio
Sleeping Bear Press
310 North Main St., Ste 300
Chelsea, MI 48118

While still in the old country, Hanna's father inspires his family with stories of America: "You will see, Hanna. There are streets of gold." Hanna can hardly wait to begin packing!

Junkman's Daughter tells the story of an immigrant family's journey to America in search of a better life. This 40-page, hardcover story-picture book is part of the Tales of Young Americans series--books that feature fictional kids in real-life stories from our nation's past. And what a story! Each page is filled with child-like delight as Hanna and her family get ready for their journey to United States--the only country where people can work hard and fulfill their dreams. Once in America, Hanna expects to see gold lying around for the taking. Reality sets in. Hard work begins. Discouragement causes Hanna to lose heart. But Hanna's parents never give up their dream of making a better life. When Hanna and her father stumble across a few old bottles buried in the snow, they seize the opportunity to collect "junk" and resell it. Through small steps and perseverance, the family makes their American dream come true.

Junkman's Daughter is a wonderful enrichment book for ages 4-10. It dovetails nicely into a study of immigration in the early 20th century and clearly shows the respect and awe immigrants had for the opportunity to make a better life for themselves in the United States. Hard work and family loyalty bring young Hanna from rags to riches by the time she is an adult. The illustrations by Guy Porfirio are exceptional and give readers a realistic picture of the times.

An added bonus, and one I appreciate as a homeschooling parent, is the free PDF file "Teacher's Guide" that Sleeping Bear Press provides on their website. The download for Junkman's Daughter includes 25 pages of creative activity sheets for varying grade levels, based on the book. I found subjects like grammar, math, creative writing, sequencing, and critical thinking. These would be great activities for a unit study on immigration.

I highly recommend this delightful book and curriculum activities for your homeschool. I would also recommend checking out the other titles from the Tales of Young Americans series.

Product review by Susan K. Marlow, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2007