World – 1800s

Ellen HowardA Gate in the Wall England 1800

This book and the two below show the reader how bleak the conditions were for the working poor and why so many people made the decision to immigrate.  These stories aren’t about immigration, but show what life was like for the common people and the conditions they lived in.  From CIP:  In nineteenth-century England, ten-year-old Emma, accustomed to long working hours at the silk mill and the poverty and hunger of her sister’s house, finds her life completely changed when she inadvertently gets a job on a canal boat carrying cargoes between several northern towns.

Patricia Reilly GiffNory Ryan’s Song   Ireland (potato famine) 1845

From CIP:  When a terrible blight attacks Ireland’s potato crop in 1845, twelve-year-old Nory Ryan’s courage and ingenuity helps her family and neighbors survive.



James HeneghanThe Grave   Ireland (potato famine) 1845

Something about the writing, the time travel element perhaps, makes this a read that I continue to favor in recommending to students.  From CIP:  Thirteen-year-old Tom, an unhappy foster child in Liverpool, falls into a massive open grave and is transported to Ireland in 1847, where he finds himself in the midst of the deadly potato famine.