Amazing True Stories: Ellis Island
written by Ginjer Clarke
illustrated by Diego Jourdan
The Ellis Island Experience is half prose book, half comic, and it’s a terrific educational book for young readers about the massive tribulations that immigrants had to go through in the early 20th century just to arrive on America’s shores. The book follows the Casilli family as they prepare for their long journey—a widow, her new husband, two sons, and one daughter, all forced to decide what to take and what to leave behind (or try to sell).
Mr. Casilli is hoping to find some work, any work, when he arrives in the States, but he knows there are no guarantees. The book also captures the sacrifices and painstaking trials that the youngest family members had to go through as they tried to make their new lives in New York City. As they depart, they are all filled with hope (America being the land of milk and honey, after all), but of course they face reality when they finally arrive.
The book is packed with interesting information, and it will be a helpful learning tool for young readers. The art and story are both quite nicely done and engaging. This is a nice example of how powerful a learning tool good comics can be.