Parents' Guide to

Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain

By Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Historic immigration station comes alive in photos, poems.

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ANGEL ISLAND: GATEWAY TO GOLD MOUNTAIN is a well-constructed history for young people. Simple text and a big font make it easy for young readers to understand this often-overlooked piece of American history. Freedman's book also gives voice to Chinese immigrants trapped without recourse in a prejudiced system. The poems in particular help readers connect with immigrants' overwhelmed, anxious feelings as they awaited their fate ("Angel Island / Angel Island, all the people said. / So I thought it would be like heaven. / Yet when the iron gate locks with a clang -- / It feels like hell.") This would be a great read-aloud book for parents to share with tweens, as there's plenty for families to talk about, including their own ancestors' immigration stories, why it's important to remember shameful chapters of our history, and more.

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