The dream was always the same: I was back in Russia. My family was sitting around the Sabbath table: Mama, Papa, baby Hannah and my brothers Lemmel and Shloyme. I was telling a story about America--there were gold streets and chickens roosting in trees. Suddenly, Papa and I were on board a ship sailing far away. Ahead I saw the Statue of Liberty towering over the harbor of New York, but she raised her hand high above her head to stop us. I looked around for Papa. I was all alone.
Then I woke up and remembered.
Papa and I had arrived at Ellis Island. For three years we had been living on the Lower East Side of New York. Papa worked in a sweatshop earning money to bring over the rest of the family, while I worked after school. I dreamed of the day our family would be together again.
And tomorrow, it would finally happen. Would they love America like I did or would they say a curse on Columbus because the New World brought them nothing but trouble and hard work?
Eve Tal was born in the United States, but lives on Kibbutz Hatzor in Israel. Cursing Columbus is her second young adult historical novel and is the sequel to Double Crossing, which is based on her grandfather's emigration story from the Ukraine.
"This gripping novel, set in Mahattan’s Lower East Side in 1908, goes beyond sentimentality about the promised land of America to show a heartbreaking, sometimes brutal, daily struggle…A great title to prompt discussion about discrimination against new immigrants, now and then, as well as the valuable diversity newcomers bring." —Booklist
"Readers will find both characters and their situation sympathetic and will root for them to pull through." —Kirkus Reviews
"Alternating the viewpoints of Lemmel and Raizel, author Eve Tal, in the sequel to her award-winning Double Crossing, has created a vivid picture of the struggles and experiences of an immigrant family, from the assimilation process (Raizel’s family must change their names to sound more American”) and financial hardships, to ultimately finding a place in their new home. Middle readers looking for a moving novel with a strong story will enjoy this book." —ForeWord Magazine
"The author encourages us to think about the tradeoff involved in assimilating in American society and giving up traditional customs. The book also comes with a handy glossary and recommended reading." —Teaching Tolerance