Monday, February 27, 2006

The King of Mulberry Street

Beniamino is from Naples, Italy. His momma sends him the America to find a better life. This novel by Donna Jo Napoli gives the reader a feeling for what it was like to be a nine-year-old boy on his own in New York City in 1892. From the moment he arrives in America, all Dom (the new name he is given in America) wants to do is find a way to return to Italy. He has to survive among the other homeless multitudes and the ruthless patroni who would make him a slave for their own profits. Dom is befriended by Gaetano and Tin Pan Alley, two other boys in similar situations, and together they find a way to survive. One of the themes in this novel is family and relying on that family to help get us through the tough times. Sometimes families are not connected by blood but instead by a common need. I think that this book will give the reader an opportunity to see some of the troubles that faced many young immigrants to this country in the 19th century. From that they may get an insight into problems that face immigrants even today. If you read the postscript, you will see that the author wishes she had had more interest in her history as a young person so that she could have listened to the stories of her grandparents.

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