What We Reviewed:
For this review, Strong Learning, Inc. sent us a copy of Linda Bress Silbert’s first novel, Bessie’s Pillow. Bessie’s Pillow is the story of Linda’s Grandmother who came over to America as an Immigrant in the early 1900’s. Bessie’s Pillow shows us how life was in that era, what life was like for Bessie and her friends and family, and the challenges of life as an immigrant woman living in a New World.
What We Received:
Strong Learning, Inc. sent us a full copy of the Bessie’s Pillow book. It’s a paperback book with 280 pages of both story, and historical information and pictures. The front of the book features a picture of Bessie and a ship similar to the one Bessie came to America on. There are many more pictures within the book for your enjoyment as well.
Bessie’s Story and What We Thought:
This book came up on the vendor list right after the new president was sworn into office and talk was exceptionally heavy about immigration, including discussion of his beautiful, immigrant wife. My first thought was what perfect timing to discuss these things with my children by reading this story of one woman’s journey to America in the midst of so many questions in the very country she came to live in out of both necessity and love.
My second reason for choosing this story to review is that I, too, come from ancestors who immigrated to America much like Bessie did. My family were not Jewish but they were German, coming to a New World to start a better life for their families and themselves. I was interested in reading Bessie’s story to have insight on what my Great Grandfather and Great Great Grandparents must have felt when they headed on their journey to this country and when they first stepped on to Ellis Island to be brought into the United States.
Let me begin by saying, Bessie’s Pillow is a beautifully written book. The story flows and keeps the reader interested which was something I was worried about as sometimes novels written based on true stories can be a little dry and boring. But Bessie’s story was completely the opposite. Her life was amazing. The experiences she had were both amazing and astonishing. The description of those who were not as lucky in life as she was were equally shocking. There was no overly written description of anything but just enough to let you know of the true tragedy and triumph of being an immigrant, of being an immigrant in America and of overcoming the stigma of being an immigrant to have a beautiful life in a new country. And overall from what I’ve read in Bessie’s Pillow, Bessie or Boshka, as was her given name by her parents, lived a beautiful life with her friends and her husband, children and family.
I must make mention of this one particular part that stood out to me and it wasn’t actually in the story of Bessie but it was written in the back of the book where extra information on Bessie’s life is shared. Beautiful Bessie with her sweet soul went on her final journey exactly one day after my own mother was born. My Mother was born on February 11, 1951 and Bessie passed away on February 12, 1951. Because of the date that truly stood out to me. Bessie was 63, 3 years younger than my Mother is at this very minute.
Bessie’s Pillow is filled with historically accurate information on immigration in the 1900’s. It’s a wonderful book to read with your family both for reading and as an extra for your curriculum. There are lots of book extra’s included in the book: pictures, information, and the story itself. But there’s also lots of extra information available on the Bessie’s Pillow website at Strong Learning’s website.
There’s a gallery of photographs for you to view with your family to see actual pictures of the time period depicting what life was like at the time. There’s also a selection of General Topics to help you expand this book further. Topics like Famous People, the Presidency, Radio and more. Each of these topics are full of information for you to share with your students or help you build more knowledge of the time period for yourself.
How Can You Get Bessie’s Pillow For Yourself:
Bessie’s Pillow written by Linda Bress Silbert and published by Strong Learning, Inc. is available to purchase on their website for $15. It is also offered as an Kindle eBook on Amazon.
Other Places to Find This Vendor:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BessiesPillow @BessiesPillow
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