Bessie’s Pillow ~ Review

I remember when I was growing up, being told that the one thing that made this country so great, was the variety of people who were here. Immigrants from far and wide came to this country wanting a better life. Our land was filled with people who had drive and desire to live in a place where they could be free. My grandparents were immigrants; I wish I could remember the stories that were told of life before they came here, and after. There is so much we can learn from those who came before. For that reason I have come to live historical non-fiction like Bessie’s Pillow published by Strong Learning.Inc.

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Bessie’s Pillow – A Young Immigrant’s Journey (based on a true story) is written by Linda Press Silbery, who is Bessie’s granddaughter.  Throughout the book are actual photos from family albums, bringing to life the story that is told.

The story begins in 1906 in Vilna, Lithuania as Boshka (Bessie) travels to escape persecution.  Travel with her to Hamburg, then across the seas as she learns the English language, makes new friends, and begins a great adventure. Experience and read actual historical details about life as a Jewish, Russian, Orthodox girl traveling to a new life. Her challenges and struggles, love, courageousness and kindness will move you and draw you in to this story making Bessie a dear friend and companion.

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Listen to Linda speak about and share beautiful photographs, bringing to life even more, this story. Explore Bessie’s Family Album and childhood in a Photo Gallery sharing moments from her life in Lithuania, New York, New Rochelle.

Historically, 1906 to 1936 was a time of great change and growth in America. Experience and explore a variety of interactive learning regarding:

  • Famous People
  • Food and Recipes
  • Radio
  • Movies
  • Music & Dancing
  • News
  • Presidents
  • Immigration (European specifically)
  • Housework
  • Health

What a fun way to explore and experience American the same way Bessie did!

You can even explore the stories of others who tell of their experience immigrating.

There is also a Teacher’s Guide to help guide and encourage use of this story to teach language arts and social studies. There are some great discussion questions and activities encouraging our own children to explore their own family histories, to explore the various situations and determine what they would do and why. There are character studies, research topics given, even a timeline of American history (download a full size one) and there are a ton of recommended reading materials too!

I have thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book and I definitely recommend this as one every one should read. While I read this aloud to my children, there were times and parts, which I skipped over due to the age of my children. This is a very honest and realistic book, portraying the good and the bad of the immigration experience so some situations can be difficult and sensitive for children to hear. However even with those moments and sometimes uncomfortable details within the pages of this book, it is all done in a way that makes it necessary but also understandable (sad too!).  So much of this book and the materials that are provided along with it, can be a great lesson to both ourselves and our children. Certainly this was a story that really gave my children and I a new perspective and a renewed appreciation for what we have and where we are.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BessiesPillow

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BessiesPillow  @BessiesPillow

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