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The Tenement Writer: An Immigrant's Story
The Tenement Writer: An Immigrant's Story
(Ben Sonder, Alex Haley, Meryl Rosner)

The Tenement Writer: An Immigrant's StoryThe Tenement Writer: An Immigrant's Story
The Tenement Writer: An Immigrant's Story follows a young Jewish immigrant from Poland as she struggles to build a new life in America and fulfill her dreams of becoming a writer.
In her native Polish village, a little Jewish girl named Anzia Yezierska dreams of coming to America. When her dream comes true, she finds the streets in America aren't paved with gold and that life in America can also be a struggle.
Around 1890, Anzia Yezierska and her family arrived in New York from Poland to join her brother, renamed "Mayer." Taking the name Hattie Mayer, Anzia had to adjust to a new life in a tenement, safer than Poland but drearier.
After she had worked for a long time and attended school, Anzia Yezierska began to write about the life of an immigrant who hated being poor. By the 1920s, she had become a well-known American immigrant writer. Her success caused a sensation. Newspapers called her the "Sweatshop Cinderella" and published articles about her "rags to riches" life.
Ben Sonder is a published author of young adult and children's books. Some of his credits include: The Tenement Writer: An Immigrant's Story (Stories of America), Gangs (Life Issues) and Osceola, Patriot And Warrior (Stories of America).
Meryl Rosner is a published author and illustrator of children's books. Some of her credits include: The Tenement Writer: An Immigrant's Story (Stories of America) and Ella Of All-of-a-kind Family (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition).
Alex Haley, as General Editor, wrote the following introduction:
Introduction By Alex Haley, General Editor
Newcomers in America never had it easy. There have always been hardships. The story you are about to read will make that clear. Most newcomers had to struggle to survive. They arrived poor. They lived in slums and worked at whatever jobs they could find. Some weren't lucky enough ever to find a real job, however bad, or an apartment in a slum. Some lived, worked, and died on the street.
Survival was only one part of the problem of coming to America. Another was acceptance. Many Americans resented the newcomers because they were "different," because they took jobs away from "real Americans," because they didn't understand English. Newcomers had to struggle to fit in. They spoke English poorly and with an accent. They wore clothes that combined American styles with Old world styles. They tried to fit in but were usually laughed at for their efforts. It was not easy.
Today it is the same. Newcomers arrive in the Promised Land and fight to survive and fit in. We should pay attention to our history and to the daily struggles of today's newcomers. We should remember that their experience was our experience or the experience of our parents. or grandparents or great-grandparents. We should do what we can to help them. ~ Alex Haley.
(The above Foreword by Alex Haley is presented under the Creative Commons License. © 1993 Dialogue Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
The Tenement Writer: An Immigrant's Story • Reviews
"A young Anzia Yezierska settles with her family in the Lower East Side of New York City. The grim life immigrants lived is vividly portrayed. Anzia ultimately becomes a noted writer despite extraordinary obstacles she must overcome." - Cambium Learning.
"The Tenement Writer tells of young Anzia Yezierska and her family, who left Poland in 1890 seeking a better life in New York City—only to learn that America's streets were not paved with gold." - Education Resource Center (ERC).

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