Journey to America: Fiona McGilray's Story: A Voyage from Ireland in 1849

Written by Pastore Clare

Reviewed by Deanna Z. (age 11)

Imagine having to go to another country, not knowing if you will ever see your family again! In Journey to America, Fiona McGilray's story that is exactly what happened. The McGilray family was so poor they couldn't find or afford any food! They needed to find their cousins in America for money - and fast. Fiona, along with her brother, Patrick, and hundreds of other people set off on the "Sea Star" to find a new home in the United States away from Ireland. Fiona and her brother have a hard time fitting in. On their voyage they go through difficult times. They see people die, they have left their family behind, and they only have a few coins to live on. Finally, they arrive in America! This place is very new to them and they have trouble finding friends and even jobs. Finally they found a friend named Peggy. "N-I-N-A" was the sign on the door of a shop. Their new American friend, Peggy, explained that this meant "No Irish Need Apply". At this point Fiona and Patrick still have not found their cousins! You will not believe what happens when Fiona and Patrick finally get to their cousins house! You will have to read the book to find that out. Will the McGilrays see their family again?

My opinion of this book was that it was great! Excellent! Entertaining! I loved Journey to America: Fiona McGilray's Story because I could picture every detail in my head! I could tell what the characters were thinking as I read the book. My favorite part of the book was when Fiona was running away from some rude boys and then ran to a house. It turned out to be a woman named Mrs. Broder's house. Mrs. Broder is a very sweet lady and makes Fiona's stay in America seem worth the trouble! She even gives Fiona a job. On Fiona's birthday she receives a super surprise. Fiona, Patrick, and Peggy are my favorite characters. Fiona is a happy girl with a big heart. She always finds a way to get past the hard times. Then there is her older brother, Patrick. He is always there to make Fiona feel better. He takes care of his sister and knows what's best. There is also Peggy who is Fiona's and Patrick's best friend in America. She is so kind and a great pal to everyone.

I would definitely recommend this book to grades five and six. I chose this age because Journey to America: Fiona McGilray's Story is a little serious. Ages lower wouldn't take it seriously. The author's detail and elaboration could really catch the reader's attention. So read Journey to America: Fiona McGilray's Story, A Voyage from Ireland in 1849 - and enjoy!

Deanna Z. is a student in Mrs. Salewski's 5th and 6th Grade Class
2003-2004