Dreams in the Golden Country: The Diary of Zipporah Feldman, a Jewish Immigrant Girl, New York City, 1903 (Dear America)

by Dear America (Series)

Other authorsKathryn Lasky (Author)
Hardcover, 1998



Local notes

Fic Dea





Scholastic Inc. (1998), 192 pages


Twelve-year-old Zippy, a Jewish immigrant from Russia, keeps a diary account of the first eighteen months of her family's life on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1903-1904.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

192 p.; 7.72 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member marciaskidslit
Dreams in the Golden Country teaches how old world traditions collide with new world aspirations. Zippy dreams to fit into the culture of America, yet she respects her heritage. Zippy’s sister Tovah struggles with her quest to improve working conditions in sweat shops and hides her secret romance
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with an Irish boy. Zippy’s father is eager to change, however it is Zippy’s mother who embraces the past and finds it hard to let go.

The Dear America series from Scholastic was launched in 1996 and has earned an excellent reputation. Many of the stories have been written by renowned award winning authors in the world of children’s literature. The movies have received favorable reviews and each can be effectively used in the classroom for curriculum connections.
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LibraryThing member kkerns3
Summary: This book tells the story of a twelve year old girl named Zipporah (Zippy) Feldman who leaves her small village in Russia with her mother and two older sisters to join her father in New York City. When she arrives in America Zippy begins to realize it is not exactly how she pictured it.
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Her father has moved away from some of the Jewish customs they are used to even though it makes her mother upset. When she goes to school Zippy is placed with second graders because she does not know English. She is able to catch up quickly and by the end of the story she is in eighth grade with students her own age. At school she makes a friend named Blu who she practices English with in her free time. Zippy worries about her parents fighting because of the stress that comes along with their new life. Zippy's mother and sisters are able to find work to support the family who also has a tenant living with them in their small apartment. The family does their best to continue to celebrate many of the Jewish holidays that they celebrated back home. Zippy's sister Tovah works at a shirtwaist factory and becomes consumed with starting a union in order to receive fair treatment at work. Her other sister Miriam marries an Irish boy named Sean and moves away from the family which causes even more tension. In order to help her mother adjust to life in America they rent a sewing machine for her to use and she starts her own business out of their apartment. Through some friends Zippy discovers her love of theater and decides she wants to be an actress. She starts by assisting with props and at the end of the story she gets the opportunity to act in her first play.

Review: I think that this book is very well written. I like that it is written in the form of a journal because I think it allows the reader to get a better idea of how the main character is feeling about the events going on in her life. The author uses some terms in Yiddish which challenges the reader to think outside of the box. The passages that are "in Yiddish" are seen in a regular font while those she wrote "in English" are in italics and sometimes she goes back and forth between the two in the same journal entry. The passages that are supposed to be in the English she is learning do not all have correct grammar and sentence structure which allows the reader to understand that she is just beginning to learn English. The story line is interesting and it flows nicely. It is interesting how some of the passages are very short and only contain a simple sentence about Zippy's day. I think this makes the story more interesting and keeps the reader's attention.
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LibraryThing member justagirlwithabook
I don't remember much of these books as individual books, but I remember reading them all as a young, avid reader. I think that ultimately these books are the reason why I love historical fiction novels so much. They all did such a great job of taking me to a different time and place and making it
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come alive, seeing the world through an older, historical lens. I highly recommend any of the Dear America books to younger readers who love history and need to get hooked on reading!
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