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Chances are, if your family has been in the U.S. for only a hundred years or so, your ancestors were immigrants, and they came through Ellis Island– a beacon of hope for people escaping war, poverty, and starvation in their home countries. Between 1892 and 1954, more than 12 million immigrants endured inspection or detention on Ellis Island; for kids who have an interest in family trees and history, this issue will urge them to explore even deeper.
Starting off, they’ll learn about the ordeal of immigration through this prison-like complex, in which over 3.5 million people died over the years as they waited to get off Ellis Island. Kids who love to play with words will enjoy reading about how many immigrants ended up with new, “Americanized” names due to the chaos and language barriers. Also in store are details about the unsanitary and corrupt conditions on the island (make that three islands), and how President Roosevelt, catching wind of this, started many reforms that saved lives. Still, that did not solve all the problems: Many were denied entrance due to their race, disability, or criminal record. At its core, the heart of this thoughtfully written issue about the “Great Migration” and Ellis Island, for kids who love survival stories, can be found in the section that earmarks several immigrants’ true tales of courage and stamina.