Margaret Rose and her family
are on a great adventure. They have packed up all their belongings
and are now on their way to America. After the Irish famine, many
have taken the same journey. It's gotten to be expected. The
ship is smelly and the days are long but after two weeks, they finally
see their goal. There is the Statue of Liberty. How exciting!
Now they must go through Ellis Island and then they will be starting their
new life. They are going to stay with Uncle Patrick who has been
living in New York for many years. As the family goes through the
different check points, the excitement builds. But there is a problem.
The baby doesn't pass the health exam. He must go back to Ireland.
Of course, he can't go alone. After much discussion, it is decided
that Da will take him back and leave him with Grandma until he can return.
It will take Da about a month to earn return passage in Ireland so Ma and
the three girls will stay with Uncle Patrick for a few months. Ma
is not thrilled with this arrangement. She didn't want to come here
to begin with. After their tearful good-byes, the women set off.
Uncle Patrick is not there to meet them so they sneak aboard a boat to
the harbor. Finally finding Uncle Patrick's apartment, they are greeted
by a woman who shuts the door on their face. They are obviously not
expected -- or wanted. Uncle Patrick intervenes and convinces his
wife that Margaret and the three girls should stay with them. It
is soon apparent that they are unwanted and Ma makes the decision to go
back to Ireland. Margaret Rose is devastated. She wants to
stay. This is her dream. Can Margaret Rose convince her mother
to let her stay? And how can a 16-year-old get by in a strange country?
What will life be like for her?
In 1911 Sixteen year old Margaret
Rose and her family left Ireland for a better life in America. Excitement
was in the air as their shipped docked in New York. One more formality
and they would be able to start a new life. All new immigrants must go
through Ellis Island to be documented and have a medical check up.
When Joseph, the youngest of the four children, failed the exam the family
was in shock! Joseph would have to return to Ireland. Would they all have
to return? If not, who would go with him? What would happen to the family
if they were separated?
Find out by reading Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch. (Catherine Ryan,
has just arrived in America-- New York City to be precise. She and
her family have traveled a long way from Ireland just to start again
in America, and she has big dreams for her future. As she and her
family look up at the Statue of Liberty for the first time she finally
sees hope in their desperate situation. Just as things look rosy
and bright, though, bad luck strikes and Rose and her younger sister are
left in New York to try to make a life in America all on their own.
with estranged relatives, Rose and her sister try to make a living at small
jobs. Learning to cope in a strange country with strange people has
its challenges. Rose tries to work in a sweat shop, but the owner
tries to take advantage of her, and she barely escapes with her pride.
It is not until she gets a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory that
Rose thinks things will eventually workout for her and her sister.
But working conditions are not good for women and children there.
Too many people work on each floor and the management is not concerned
for their safety. They work long hours with little pay. When disaster strikes,
Rose learns a great deal about the importance of family, friends, and the
way people should treat one another.
fiction takes us back to the horrid working conditions before labor laws
were enforced. The connection to and retelling of the terrible fire
that consumed the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York in 1911, compels
readers to remember squalid working conditions of the past, and to be grateful
for the women of those times who made things better for the rest of us.
You go girls!!!!!
by Donna E. Moyer for South
Carolina Young Adult Book Award Nominees 2005
What if you were a new immigrant to New York in 1911; say you were, oh,
16 and you were Irish and you were immigrating with your family: your mother
and father, two sisters and a brother. Your name is Margaret Rose
Nolan, but you just want to be called Rose.
And guess what -- things are not going well. Your little brother
is turned back at Ellis Island because of an eye infection, and your father
has to return to Ireland with him. Youíre left with your mother and
two sisters, and you have to stay with some relatives who really arenít
that crazy about having you there.
This book, Ashes of Roses, is the story of Rose and how she makes a new
life for herself in New York. She finds a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist
Factory, sewing shirtwaists, or womenís blouses. Working conditions
arenít that great, but hey, itís a job, and Rose is doing OK until
the day the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory catches fire. 146 employees die
and things are never the same in the garment industry in New York.
Will Rose survive? Will she escape the factoryís flames? What
about her younger sister, and the friends sheís made there? Read
Ashes of Roses to find out what happens. (Marcia S. Kalayjian, email@example.com,
Graduate student at University of South Carolina School of Library and