by Norah McClintock
Scholastic Canada Ltd
Buy from Indigo
Description: In the midst of the Irish famine, Johanna flees one disaster — only to land in another.
After a massive potato famine strikes Ireland, thirteen-year-old Johanna Leary flees to Canada with her family.
But typhus and other illnesses plague the "coffin ships," so named for the staggering number of immigrants who died enroute. One by one Johanna loses the members of her family — first her baby brother on the journey over, then her mother in the Grosse Isle fever sheds where sick passengers are quarantined when they reach the port of Québec, and her father soon after. Johanna has only her brother Michael left when she sets foot on Canadian soil.
When her brother is mistakenly told that she too has died, he sets off to find their uncle "somewhere in Canada," leaving Johanna to face a new life in a strange land... totally alone.
A Sea of Sorrows captures a dreadful time in history for those desperate, impoverished Irish families who hoped to make Canada their home. Johanna's incredible journey of survival is told with insight and sensitivity by master storyteller Norah McClintock
The Good Stuff
- Intriguing heroine - well developed character for the time period
- Another one where I cannot lie -- I was totally bawling my eyes at time
- Really impressed with these series from Scholastic - they really do give kids a glimpse into the lives of everyday people during various periods of history. So much more relevant and interesting than just memorizing dates and facts about history
- Perfect for class discussions on prejudice
- Scholastic website for each of the titles in the series have bonus content including activities and teaching resources
- Encourages kids to learn more
- thoroughly well researched
- Sensitively written
- As mentioned in previous review - these books make history relevant to the intended audience as they are written in the words of kids their age and their thoughts and experiences which make the reader relate to
- Extremely realistic
The Not So Good Stuff
- A tad repetitive
- May be a struggle for sensitive readers with the harsh reality of small children dying
- Made me miss my wonderful Irish neighbor in Bolton even more
"Just thinking about sizzling sausage makes my mouth water, even though I have never eaten it. Sizzling is such a fine word. I think anything that sizzles must taste delicious."
"I knew for myself that the sheds were filled with many decent people who had never needed any charity until they were forced to watch their loved ones dies of hunger."
"Da had always supposed that everything would be different across the ocean. But I am beginning to think that things are a misery for the least fortunate no matter where they may find themselves."
Who Should/Shouldn't Read
- A must have for all middle school libraries
- would be a good addition to classroom collections as well
- fabulous for middle school history classes - like I also mentioned in previous review - history teachers please remember to stop focusing so much on dates and facts and deal more with what we can learn and how these events effected people - far more important
- Good for reluctant readers too
I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review