Young Hannah dreams of her new life in America where the streets are “paved with gold.” Her enthusiasm fades when the family struggles to make their way in their new home. When Hannah and her brothers gather bottles, cans, and other “junk,” a family business is born. Through difficulty and sacrifice, the family grows a successful enterprise. Sonia Levitan has created a heartwarming story about hope, hard work, and determination. Young readers will empathize with Hannah and her desire for a better life. The vibrant, realistic illustrations bring the characters to life. The visual contrast between the old country and the big city is striking. With the turn of a page, readers will feel like they are collecting and sorting junk right alongside Hannah and her family. Although the story has no specific Jewish content aside from the names of the characters, it clearly honors the Jewish immigrant’s experience, and brings to mind family stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. The Junk Man’s Daughter is a lovely picture book. Ages 5 – 8.
Barbara Bietz is a freelance writer and children’s book reviewer. She is currently a member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee. Barbara is the author of the middle grade book, Like a Maccabee. She has a blog dedicated to Jewish books for children at www.BarbaraBBookBlog.Blogspot.com.