Have you ever read a book that you just couldn't put down? A book that you just had to keep reading to find out what happens? And then once you finish the book, you hope there will be a sequel? That's how good Bessie's Pillow is. We received this book from Strong Learning, Inc. as a review item this month.
This book is so excellently written and the descriptions are so vivid that you can just imagine everything that is happening as you are reading it. Linda Bress Silbert wrote this book about her grandmother's immigration journey to America. The events in the book are all true and were passed down from Bessie to her daughter Ann and then shared with the author, who recorded them. Additional details are included in the afterword of the book along with black and white photo copies of family photos taken over the years. The book is written in first person point of view, which is Bessie's viewpoint.
Also included in the back of the book is a study guide called Bessie's America. This is a very thorough and in-depth picture of the historical events that happened in America during the time of the story. Links are included that can be entered into a web browser and then more information gained. There are also links included in the online study guide, which can be accessed online: Bessie's America.
This beautifully written novel is very easy to read. There are some challenging topics that a parent would likely wish to discuss with a younger child if they were to read the book, but the author handles each of these topics as gently as possible. I pre-read this book because I was interested in reading it, but truthfully I would have handed it to any of my girls ages 13-17 and just let them read the book for enjoyment. If they had any concerns or questions about any parts of the book, I would then answer their questions or concerns.
In 1906 Boshka flees her country of Lithuania as a very young girl. There is much disturbance in her country and her parents were able to afford just one passage ticket to America. Boshka survives the long journey alone and arrives in America where she is to stay with her sister, who is already married and established in America with a wealthy husband. Once she arrives, Boshka's name is changed to Bessie, and then she discovers that she is to live at her sister's house as a servant. Bessie flees to her cousin's house. She doesn't want to be a burden so she experiences a terrifying job as a seamstress in the poorest part of the city. Because she realizes that some of the people live in squalid poverty, she has a compassion for many of them. The story continues as Bessie finds a stable job and marries a wonderful man with a good business sense. They are not poor, and are able to live comfortably. Bessie experiences some heart breaking situations in her life in America. The chapter in which her first two children pass away is absolutely gripping. The story doesn't end there though and continues through the year 1936. This novel covers 30 years of Bessie's beautiful story. I actually really hope there will be a sequel.
Curious what other reviewers had to say about this product? Head on over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read all the reviews.