Immigrants

The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco

The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco

The Blessing Cup, by Patricia Polacco, is a wonderful story for anytime, but especially during the holidays when family gathers close for this is a family story. Patricia Polacco’s great-grandmother Anna and her family came to America from Russia after the Czar ordered all the Jews to leave the country. Just like that, they had to leave behind everything they couldn’t carry. Momma and Papa packed the sewing machine, their menorah, the shofar, his tallis, and holy books. But also precious to them was the tea set they were given when they were married.

E.S.O.L.: English for Speakers of Other Languages

Immigrants to America come here with hopes and dreams for their futures. They are willing to work hard, but to succeed they need to become proficient in the language of their new country. For over a hundred years, libraries, churches, and other social institutions have been places where newly arrived immigrants could go to learn English. The tradition continues today with the help of adult education programs across the United States, some of which receive federal funding.

Leo Lionni

Leo Lionni was born into a family that appreciated art, and, from a very young age, he knew he wanted to be an artist. He loved nature and started keeping small creatures--minnows, birds, fish, and more--in his attic room in Amsterdam. He also created terrariums, and many of these natural details found their way into his later work.  Like so many successful children’s authors, Leo Lionni was able to remember and tap into the things that were important to him when he was a child.

As his interest in drawing grew, he was mentored by his Uncle Piet, who was both an architect and an artist. Leo was very lucky to live just a few blocks from two wonderful museums. Further, as a child he had a special pass so he could go there to draw whenever he wished. He learned to draw details from great works--plaster casts of famous statues, and they made such an impression on him that many decades later he could still remember them perfectly, as he could with clarity recall so much about his tiny pets and naturescapes.

Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran

By Roya Hakakian

Go to catalog

A Jew in a land where Islamic fundamentalism grew ever stronger, Roya was twelve when the revolution came, closing opportunities to the young woman even as she matured into a brilliant student.

Reserve this title

The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre

By Stephen D. Youngkin

Go to catalog

"Often typecast as a menacing figure, Peter Lorre achieved Hollywood fame first as a featured player and later as a character actor, trademarking his screen performances with a delicately strung balance between good and evil. His portrayal of the child murderer in Fritz Lang's masterpiece M (1931) catapulted him to international fame. Lang said of Lorre: 'He gave one of the best performances in film history and certainly the best in his life.' Today, the Hungarian-born actor is also recognized for his riveting performances in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The Maltese Falcon (1941), and Casablanca (1942). Lorre arrived in America in 1934 expecting to shed his screen image as a villain. He even tried to lose his signature accent, but Hollywood repeatedly cast him as an outsider who hinted at things better left unknown. Seeking greater control over his career, Lorre established his own production company. His unofficial 'graylisting' by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, however, left him with little work.

"He returned to Germany, where he co-authored, directed, and starred in the film Der Verlorene (The Lost One) in 1951. German audiences rejected Lorre's dark vision of their recent past, and the actor returned to America, wearily accepting roles that parodied his sinister movie personality.The first biography of this major actor, The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre draws upon more than three hundred interviews, including conversations with directors Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, John Huston, Frank Capra, and Rouben Mamoulian, who speak candidly about Lorre, both the man and the actor."

Also available as an eBook.

Reserve this title

Finding Your Italian Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide

By Suzanne Russo Adams

Go to catalog

"For millions of Americans, home means Italy, where their roots started years ago. In Finding Your Ancestors, you'll discover the tools you need to trace your ancestors back to the homeland. Learn how and where to find records in the United States and Italy, get practical advice on deciphering those hard-to-read documents, and explore valuable online resources. The guide also includes maps, multiple glossaries, and an extensive bibliography."

Reserve this title

They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Arrival Record

By John Philip Colletta

Go to catalog

"Chances are excellent that your ancestors came to America from somewhere-England, Spain, Germany, China, Africa. Can you imagine how they felt as they left their homes, what they left behind? Do you want to know? Would you know where to even start looking for the details? Author and genealogist John P. Colletta prepares you to undertake the search. He tells you not only what fundamental facts you need to know about your immigrant ancestor before beginning, but suggests where you may find that information as well."

Reserve this title

97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement

By Jane Ziegelman

Go to catalog

"In 97 Orchard , Jane Ziegelman explores the culinary life that was the heart and soul of New York's Lower East Side around the turn of the twentieth century-a city within a city, where Germans, Irish, Italians, and Eastern European Jews attempted to forge a new life. Through the experiences of five families, all of them residents of 97 Orchard Street, she takes readers on a vivid and unforgettable tour, from impossibly cramped tenement apartments down dimly lit stairwells where children played and neighbors socialized, beyond the front stoops where immigrant housewives found respite and company, and out into the hubbub of the dirty, teeming streets. Ziegelman shows how immigrant cooks brought their ingenuity to the daily task of feeding their families, preserving traditions from home but always ready to improvise. While health officials worried that pushcarts were unsanitary and that pickles made immigrants too excitable to be good citizens, a culinary revolution was taking place in the streets of what had been culturally an English city.

"Along the East River, German immigrants founded breweries, dispensing their beloved lager in the dozens of beer gardens that opened along the Bowery. Russian Jews opened tea parlors serving blintzes and strudel next door to Romanian nightclubs that specialized in goose pastrami. On the streets, Italian peddlers hawked the cheese-and-tomato pies known as pizzarelli , while Jews sold knishes and squares of halvah. Gradually, as Americans began to explore the immigrant ghetto, they uncovered the array of comestible enticements of their foreign-born neighbors."

Reserve this title

Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family

By Patricia Volk

Go to catalog

"In a restaurant family, you're never just hungry--you're starving to death. And you're never full--you're stuffed. Patricia Volk's family is as American (background: Austrian-Jewish) as 'Rhapsody in Blue.' They came to these shores determined to make their mark; each of them is a piquant morsel of history... .

" With a cosmic disdain for the status quo, all of them--the tyrants, do-gooders, lovers, martyrs, and fakes--lived at full tilt. Stuffed is a wildly funny yet unsparing look at how families work."

Reserve this title

On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family

By Lisa See

Go to catalog
Out of the stories heard in her childhood in Los Angeles's Chinatown and years of research, See has constructed this sweeping chronicle of her Chinese-American family, a work that takes in stories of racism and romance, entrepreneurial genius and domestic heartache, secret marriages and sibling rivalries, in a powerful history of two cultures meeting in a new world.
Reserve this title