To feel inspired is to have read a book that warms your heart, mind and soul. As part of the Homeschool Review Crew, we were asked to review Strong Learning, Inc. Bessie’s Pillow, written by Linda Bress Silbert. This book truly captivated me from the beginning until the last chapter was read. My emotions, feelings, and heart were always engaged with each chapter, which made it quite difficult to close the book at all. Journey with my family as we explore why this book needs to be on your top ten books to read.
A Recap Of The Story:
-The year is 1906 and a Lithuanian family, known as the Markmans, have decided to send their daughter Boshka to America to escape Jewish persecution from the Russians. She is only 18 years old when she is forced to take on this new venture by herself, and journey from her homeland in Vilna, Lithuania to a place she will eventually call home. The moment before she is to board the train, Boshka is encountered by a woman asking her to take an embroidered pillow to her son already living in America. The inscription on the pillow reads ‘May this pillow bring you peace.’ Throughout the book Boshka, whose name will later be changed to Bessie, encounters situations that will eventually shape her into who she will become, a strong, independent, compassionate, kind and loving woman. There are so many historical references throughout the chapters one cannot help but learn a little history along the way.
-My kids, ages 6 & 9, and I read this book together during our read aloud times. Although if you are having an independent reader read this book one needs to be about middle school age, as some of the content in the book is a little graphic. Even though the book is based on a true story I did have to skip over some of the content, as I felt my kids were not ready to handle some of the material presented. Both of them sat endlessly day after day compelled by this story and not wanting the chapter to end. This was our first experience with a non-fiction, quite lengthy read aloud and I was pleasantly surprised at how well they both did with processing the story being told. I highly recommend that everyone gets a chance to read this compelling immigrants journey.
- The book contains photographs of Bessie’s family, which brought the story to life
- There is an entire section in the back of the book, Bessie’s America, this section references life as it was in 1906 in America & in Lithuania (European Immigration, Famous People, Food & Recipes, Health, Housework, Movies, Music & Dancing, News, U.S. Presidents and Radio) This is a fantastic resource to use with middle or high school students.
- Each chapter was well written, described enough detail, and easily comprehensible
- Blending of history and real life made for a unique story
- The ‘Afterword’ describes what happens to each of the main characters, which I greatly appreciated
“A Great Book Should Leave You With Many Experiences And Slightly Exhausted, You Live Several Lives While Reading.” ~William Clark Styron, Jr.
Thanks For Reading!
Connect With Bessie’s Pillow