What’s The Nine-Year-Old reading this week?

If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island by Ellen Levine

ellisislandWhat the book’s about:   Ellen Levine’s book talks about what it was like for people who immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1914. Although the title implies that the book talks mostly about what happened to immigrants who had their names changed at the border (whether by choice or by imposition), Levine actually covers much more than that. Levine breaks down the process of immigration through Ellis Island into one or two page chunks that cover issues like medical exams, literacy tests, what happened if/when people were detained, and the situations in which families were allowed to stay together or broken up.  

Why The Nine-Year-Old thinks you’ll like it: “The one-sentence stories about people who had their names changed and why are really interesting. One guy changed his name from SomethingSomethingNelson* to just Nelson because he was afraid the longer version would be too hard for Americans to say and so they wouldn’t let him into America at all.” (*I would like to note for the record that in telling me this story The Nine-Year-Old said the man’s real name, not SomethingSomethingNelson, but I didn’t write the name down at the time and now I can’t remember what that original name was.)

The Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl by Daniel Pinkwater

catwhiskeredgirlWhat the book’s about: Big Audrey has cat whiskers and cat eyes (sort of). She’s heard a rumor that there’s another cat-whiskered cat-eyed girl somewhere, so she says goodbye to her friends in Los Angeles and sets off on a road trip with a bongo-playing Marlon Brando to track down her cat-whiskered doppelgänger. Will Big Audrey find the answers she seeks in that international city of mystery, Poughkeepsie, New York?

Why The Nine-Year-Old thinks you should pick it up: “Daniel Pinkwater is a really funny writer. This book is amazing. I’d rate it six stars if I could.”

Come find us on Goodreads:

The Caterpickles Goodreads page is coming along swimmingly. I haven’t shelved quite as many books this week as I had hoped, but there are still some 130 or so up there to browse through.

Related Links:

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book, Did Dinosaurs Have Belly Buttons?, is currently planned for release in 2018. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, chatting about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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