Maggie's Amerikay / by Barbara Timberlake Russell ; pictures by Jim Burke.
- ISBN: 0374347220
- Physical Description: 1 v (unpaged.) ; col. ill. : 31 cm.
- Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.
|General Note:||"Melanie Kroupa books."|
|Summary, etc.:||In New Orleans in 1898, while her mother talks of saving to buy land and her father insists on the importance of an education, young Irish immigrant Maggie McCrary is determined to find her own way in the new place they call home. "In Amerikay," Maggie's da has told her, "we will start anew." It's 1898, and Maggie McCrary and her family have just crossed the ocean to settle in New Orleans. America is the answer to her father's dream of books and proper learning. For her mother, it offers the chance to buy land. But living in a crowded tenement watching her neighbors work hard all day, Maggie isn't sure she likes Amerikay. Then Maggie discovers kinship in Nathan, an African American boy, and hope in the ragtime music he plays - music that seems to shout: Free! Free! I choose who I will be!|
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From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
K-Gr. 3. Celebrating New Orleans' rich mix of musical traditions rooted in its cosmopolitan history, this handsome picture book, set in 1898, focuses on Maggie, an Irish immigrant child, who makes friends with Nathan, an African American child in her neighborhood. At first they don't trust one another, behavior learned from hostile adults, but Maggie's Da gives Nathan a battered cornet, and Nathan finds Maggie a job writing down the experiences of elderly Daddy Clements, who talks about suffering under slavery, gaining freedom, and fighting in the Civil War. Maggie's first-person narrative comes to life in realistic pictures; perhaps the best one is the joyful spread showing Nathan playing ragtime with grown-ups in the Storyville community. With New Orleans so much in the news, this book will draw children to the city's vibrant history and music. Link it to Thomas Yzerski's Together in Pinecone Patch (1989), another immigrant story, or suggest Eric Kimmel's A Horn for Louis (2005) for children who want more about jazz. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2006 Booklist
School Library Journal Review
School Library Journal
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Gr 2-5-The year is 1898, and Maggie McCrary has recently moved from Ireland to New Orleans, where her father hopes to one day buy land. To this end, he spends his days walking the streets with his pushcart. He befriends a young Negro boy who yearns for the old cornet on the barrow. The kindhearted man, sensing a kindred spirit and true musician, gives the child the instrument. Meanwhile, Mam stays home, sewing piecework to make ends meet. When the baby gets yellow fever, Maggie is determined to help out, even though her father disapproves of her working. At first, she rolls cigars after school for 50 cents a week. Then, Nathan tells her of a job as a scribe for Daddy Clements, an old man who tells her stories about being taken from Africa to America, fighting in the Civil War, and his people's fight for freedom. Maggie listens and learns, but also teaches him that her people had similar struggles. Rich with experience, accomplishment, independence, and two dollars, the solemn girl finally claps and dances to Nathan's cornet and his band of ragtime musicians. Burke's realistic paintings are dark with a muted palette, capturing the period as well as the characters' sentiments. This handsome picture book reveals the plight of immigrants at the turn of the century while paying tribute to the city where jazz was born.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
A young Irish immigrant, struggling against hardship and prejudice to find her place in 1898 New Orleans, discovers a world of diverse cultures, music and possibilities in Russell's (The Remembering Stone) atmospheric, lengthy picture book. While Mam sews and Da peddles, dreaming to "buy land in Amerikay," Maggie attends school because Da insists: "I've not crossed an ocean for my girls to work in factories." Having been warned by her neighbors to "stay away from such Negroes" as young Nathan, Maggie is nonetheless shocked when Nathan's mother says, "Don't let me catch you fooling with Irish, boy. They're trouble." But after Da recognizes Nathan's gift for music and gives him a cornet, Nathan helps Maggie find work in African-American Storyville, transcribing the recollections of Daddy Clements, a bedridden former slave and soldier. In earth tones with occasional touches of vibrant pink, Burke's (My Brothers' Flying Machine) street scenes portray the city's rich ethnic mix and signature ironwork, while indoor settings illustrate humble living and working conditions. Burke subtly charts Maggie's transformation from reserved, suspicious newcomer to a smiling, dancing optimist. Ragtime pulses through the story's background: Nathan's cornet, Da's tin whistle and African drums provide "Old seeds for new songs." Gritty realities and vibrant possibilities both figure in this moving tale of hope in a quintessential American city. Ages 6-9. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.