Nathan’s Song by Leda Schubert – Illustrated by Maya Ish-Shalom

Everyone in the Russian shtetl loves young Nathan’s singing. “That Nathan!” say the neighbors. “He can lift your heart with his voice.”

Leda Schubert lives in Vermont, writes books for children, LOVES music and dogs-and lots of other stuff. Read about her here and see other wonderful books she has written:

Maya Ish-Shalom is an Israeli illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her B.Des from the Department of Visual Communication in Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. ُShe tells stories through colorful, lively illustrations that spark viewers’ imagination and empathy. Maya’s portfolio varies from minimalist and simple illustrations to highly detailed, complex works.

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

Nathan’s Song was inspired by the author’s grandfather, born in a Jewish shtetl in Russia in the late 1800’s. Always singing as a child and after hearing an opera singer in a nearby village, Nathan and his family are determined to earn enough money for his singing lessons in Italy. At age 16, he travels from Russia to Italy, but a mishap at the dock ends with Nathan on a ship to New York City instead. Leda Schubert’s prose is filled with geography, persecution of Jews, ship travel, Ellis Island, and immigration; all which make Nathan’s Song superb enrichment to a Social Studies curriculum. Young readers will relish the suspense of Nathan’s travels and the leaving of his cap is an especially poignant symbol of themes of family commitments and life goals. Nathan learns to speak English, gets a job, and even marries, but will he rejoin his family? Illustrator, Maya Ish-Shalom’s use of bold, vibrant colors and geometric shapes in collage illustrations has great appeal for readers of all ages and adds immensely to the prose.  As music lifts our hearts and spirits, so will Leda Shubert’s Nathan’s Song.

Ellis Island may not appear large on a map, but it is an unparalleled destination in United States history. After welcoming more than 12 million immigrants to our shores, Ellis Island is now a poetic symbol of the American Dream. This photo is from the National Immigration Museum:

The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration is a living monument to the story of the American people. Housed inside the restored Main Building of the former immigration complex, the Museum documents the rich story of American immigration through a carefully curated collection of photographs, heirlooms, and searchable historic records.

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