OVERRIDE

Letters from Rifka

Karen Hesse

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

"America," the girl repeated. "What will you do there?"
I was silent for a little time.
"I will do everything there," I answered.

Rifka knows nothing about America when she flees from Russia with her family in 1919. But she dreams that in the new country she will at last be safe from the Russian soldiers and their harsh treatment of the Jews. Throughout her journey, Rifka carries with her a cherished volume of poetry by Alexander Pushkin. In it, she records her observations and experiences in the form of letters to Tovah, the beloved cousin she has left behind.

Strong-hearted and determined, Rifka must endure a great deal: humiliating examinations by doctors and soldiers, deadly typhus, separation from all she has ever known and loved, murderous storms at sea, detainment on Ellis Island--and is if this is not enough, the loss of her glorious golden hair.

Based on a true story from the author's family, Letters from Rifka presents a real-life heroine with an uncommon courage and unsinkable spirit.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Letters from Rifka
... and from The gloomy land of lonely exile To a new country bade me come ... .--Pushkin 
 
September 2, 1919 Russia 
 
My Dear Cousin Tovah,We made it! If it had not been for your father, though, I think my family would all be dead now: Mama, Papa, Nathan, Saul, and me. At the very best we would be in that filthy prison in Berdichev, not rolling west through Ukraine on a freight train bound for Poland.I am sure you and Cousin Hannah were glad to see Uncle Avrum come home today. How worried his daughters must have been after the locked doors
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REVIEWS

Praise for Letters from Rifka

"A vivid, memorable, and involving reading experience."--Starred, School Library Journal

"Told with unusual grace and simplicity, an unforgettable picture of immigrant courage, ingenuity, and perseverance." --Pointer, Kirkus Reviews

"Hesse's vivacious tale colorfully and convincingly refreshes the immigrant experience."--Starred, Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Karen Hesse

  • Karen Hesse calls Letters from Rifka "a gift to my grandparents and to my heritage, and to people like Rifka who have made the passage between two worlds." Ms Hesse is also the author of Wish on a Unicorn and the forthcoming Lester's Dog and Lavender.

    Karen Hesse lives in Williamsville, Vermont, with her husband, Randy, and her daughters, Kate and Rachel.
  • Karen Hesse
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Available Formats and Book Details

Letters from Rifka

Karen Hesse

  • Trade Paperback

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

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