Rachel, our book reviewer, is 10 years old and in the fifth grade at a Naples school. She is active in Irish dancing, piano, flute, acting and volleyball. Writing, reading, and watching “I Love Lucy” are her great joys. This month she reviews "Nory Ryan’s Song by Patricia Reilly Giff.
Nory Ryan’s Song is a great story because it explains to kids about the Great Famine in Ireland, which was a troubling time in history. Potato crops all over Ireland rotted because of a disease called blight. Poor people in Ireland mainly ate potatoes that they grew themselves, so when the blight happened, many people starved because they didn’t have any money to buy other food. The thing that people forget is that even without potatoes, there still was enough food in Ireland for everyone to eat. But much of that food was sent to England, because the Irish peasants couldn’t afford to buy it. Also many people were kicked out of their homes and farms because even though their English landlords knew they were starving and had to use what little money they had to buy a little food. Another thing in the book that made me really mad was when Lord Cunningham, who owned most of the land near where Nory lived, banned the Irish people from fishing on his property. Things were so bad that millions of Irish immigrated to the United States for a better life.
This book tells the story of Nory Ryan, a girl growing up during the Famine, and what it was like for her and her family. It also lets you know what it is like to immigrate to a new country. Nory was left behind with her little brother Patch while everyone else in her family went to America. Nory is a girl who honestly wants nothing but for her family to all be together and happy in America. Even Anna Donnelly (the woman in the village who people are frightened of) called her “a brave girl.” I also believe in good and kind people. I don’t believe there was any time at all while reading this book that I didn’t have mixed emotions because there were lots of sad moments, but also lots of happy moments.
I really connected with this book because I was born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States when I was a baby, and it’s important for me to know about my heritage. For me, it’s hard to find books that are interesting and also tell me something about history. I never believed that I would read, not to mention enjoy, this book, but somehow, Patricia Giff made sure that I loved it. Kids ages 8 and older would love this book because it truly warms your heart.
If you have suggestions for books for Rachel to review, e-mail your suggestions to: email@example.com.