In the early 20th century the dream of America was the draw for thousands of immigrants. The Girl in the Torch by Robert Sharenow takes us into the lives of one of those who has made it to the shores of America after grievous personal loss, only to find that she is not welcome to stay. After losing her mother on the journey over, 12-year-old Sarah finds she is being sent back before she can even disembark into this wondrous new country.
Sarah knows her life back home will be unbearable, so she makes a decision that could well end in her death. She is determined to follow her heart and jumps off the back of the boat she is loaded on to return to her homeland. Her efforts at swimming take her to the land of the Lady, the woman of the torch. She finds her new hiding palace is on the island of the Statue of Liberty itself.
Now she must find a way back to Manhattan while eluding the watchmen. As Sarah works on a plan she struggles to survive. The beauty of the Woman with the Torch keeps her mesmerized, helping her to keep hope alive. Stealing scraps of food where she can she knows that she must find her way; her mother would have wanted it. Just as all hope is lost, help comes from an unexpected source.
Is America truly the land of dreams, a place to find her way and live in freedom? Suddenly she may finally have the chance to find out, but she must stay clear of those who continue looking for her.
Sharenow has given us an example of history and has made it beautifully poignant. You will embrace Sarah for her bravery and her hope, rooting her on in her endeavors to make America her home against the odds. This story is fun and exciting, giving you glimpses of the early Americas and helping take us to the time of great immigration through the eyes of a child.
If you are interested in history and adventure you will enjoy this Young Adult work. If you would like your children to experience history, this is the perfect adventure. Told with passion and humor they will be transported back in time, and following the exploits of Sarah will make learning a joy.
This would be a great work or a book club or reading group. While written with the young in mind, it will captivate all audiences.