The Rooftop Adven­ture of Min­nie and Tessa

Hol­ly Lit­tle­fied; Ted Ham­mond and Richard Pimentel Car­ba­jal, illus.
  • Review
By – August 31, 2011
Rooftop is the sto­ry of two friends: Min­nie, a Jew born of Euro­pean immi­grant par­ents, and Tes­sa, a Catholic from an Ital­ian immi­grant fam­i­ly. Both girls are forced to work at the sewing fac­to­ry under ter­ri­ble and dan­ger­ous con­di­tions from an ear­ly age in order to help sup­port their fam­i­lies. Min­nie could nev­er let her father know about Tes­sa as he would nev­er approve. Although fic­tion­al­ized, this tale is based on the real life accounts of those who sur­vived the infa­mous and dead­ly Tri­an­gle Shirt­waist Fac­to­ry fire on March 25, 1911 in New York City. Inter­wo­ven through­out is the Jewish/​Catholic friend­ship dynam­ic that comes to a tidy clo­sure when Tes­sa saves Min­nies life caus­ing Minnie’s father to accept the friend­ship by default. Pre­sent­ed in graph­ic nov­el form, the dark inten­si­ty of the illus­tra­tions engages the read­er. The dark­ened pan­els and mar­velous­ly metic­u­lous art­work depict the poor work­ing con­di­tions and cap­ture the seri­ous­ness of the predica­ment the girls have found them­selves in. This is one sto­ry in the History’s Kid Heroes series. In the back of the book is more infor­ma­tion about the fire and addi­tion­al rec­om­mend­ed book resources to explore. For ages 9 – 11.
Dro­ra Arussy, Ed.D., is an edu­ca­tion­al con­sul­tant who spe­cial­izes in inte­grat­ing Jew­ish and sec­u­lar stud­ies, the arts into edu­ca­tion, and cre­ative teach­ing for excel­lence in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion. She is the moth­er to four school-age chil­dren and has taught from pre-school through adult. Dro­ra is an adjunct pro­fes­sor of Hebrew lan­guage at Drew University.

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