In the New World

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In the New World
Series: Multicultural Stories, Immigrant Stories
Genres: Juvenile Fiction, Picture Books
Tags: Ages 5-8, Ages 8-12
ASIN: 1580896308
ISBN: 1580896308

In the New World: A Family in Two Centuries: The year is 1850. Robert and Margarete and their two children pack up their lives and leave Germany forever. Their destination: America

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About the Book

In the New World: A Family in Two Centuries 

The year is 1850. Robert and Margarete and their two children pack up their lives and leave Germany forever. Their destination: America. After landing in New Orleans and joining a wagon train headed west to Nebraska, the immigrant family establishes a farm outside Omaha, working hard to build a new life despite the challenges they face.

Three centuries later, Robert and Margarete’s descendants still live on that farm in Nebraska. They decide to investigate their roots and visit Germany, reversing the trip their ancestors made and coming back to touch a piece of their history.

About the Author

Christa Holtei had a long academic career at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf. Since 1994 she has worked as a translator and freelance author. She has a talent for explaining complex ideas to children in relatively few words. Gerda Raidt studied graphic arts at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle and illustration at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig. Since 2004 she has worked as a freelance illustrator and has worked on numerous books.

A Few Reviews

“This fascinating picture book blend of fiction and nonfiction uses the story of the Peterses, a made-up German immigrant family and their fifth-generation American descendants, to explore immigration in the 19th century. Through well-crafted text and charming, detailed drawings, Holtei and Raidt convey the severe economic conditions that precipitated the Peterses’ journey in 1869. Charming panoramas of the Peterses’ home and village and close-ups of their careful planning prepare readers for the trip’s progression, including what items the family carried with them in the one trunk allowed aboard the Teutonia. Onward from their passage in steerage, the Peterses disembarked in New Orleans and transferred to the steamship Princess on their way to Nebraska. There they made their final connection to their new home via covered wagon. Well-written paragraphs expand on topics such as “Life in Steerage” and “Seeing the New World.” The narrative then highlights the fifth-generation of Peterses, who traveled back to their ancestral home in Germany to uncover their history. This tale emphasizes the triumph born of hard work and industry, themes that reflect the experiences of many immigrants to America, and humanizes this period. VERDICT A thoroughly delightful and informative story that may even inspire some readers to discover the joys of genealogy for themselves.” —Nancy Call, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA

This portrait of two generations of a family, separated by 150 years, provides a forthright account of the 19th-century German immigrant experience. Subheads break the text into brief blocks as Raidt (Nanuk Flies Home) details the particulars of the Peters family’s 1869 move from their small German farm to the United States, explaining the financial necessity for their relocation, the hardships of the move, and the strains and rewards of their two-month journey to Nebraska. Holtei’s (The Six Swans) crisp picture, a mix of spot illustrations and dramatic wordless spreads, showcase a diversity of landscapes, from a bustling Hamburg port to the equally busy streets of post-Civil War New Orleans and the sweeping plains where the family builds its farm, thanks to the Homestead Act. A page turn brings readers to the present day, as the Peters’s descendants travel to Germany to explore their roots. While this reverse journey doesn’t get the same weight and attention as the first one, it draws a clear line between past and present that will likely leave children curious about their own family histories. -Publishers Weekly

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