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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew - Bessie's Pillow

Review, #hsreviews, #historicalfiction, #BessiesPillow, Strong Learning, Bessies Pillow, Historical Fiction, Jewish Stories, Biographies

I love to present my children with interesting real-life history, so I was thrilled to get a chance to review Bessie's Pillow from Strong Learning, Inc. I also used the supplemental pages online, Bessie's America, to add to the learning experience while reading the book.

Strong Learning, Inc., #hsreviews, #historicalfiction, #BessiesPillow, Strong Learning, Bessies Pillow, Historical Fiction, Jewish Stories, Biographies
Bessie's Pillow, #hsreviews, #historicalfiction, #BessiesPillow, Strong Learning, Bessies Pillow, Historical Fiction, Jewish Stories, Biographies

What is Bessie's Pillow by Linda Bress Silbert?

I received an author-signed paperback book to read with my children or to give to at least one child to read. The book is written by Linda Bress Silbert and is 276 pages with 40 chapters and an Afterward that included black and white photographs and a special section in print of Bessie's America. I also received a link to the online extended audio and visual Bessie's America with links.

The story is written by Bessie's granddaughter, Linda Bress Silbert. who based the novel on her grandmother's life based upon conversations with Bessie's daughter, Ann Dreizen Bress.

The book is about so much more than a pillow but the title is based on the saying on a pillow from 1906:

"May this pillow bring you peace."

Though the day-to-day journey to find this peace would not always look peaceful, the story is honest and ultimately, as the story progresses and takes us through the real-life happenings of a young Jewish immigrant named Bessie, it is clear to see that it is a story of the kindred human spirit.

The pillow belonged to an 18-year-old Jewish girl named Boshka Markman, known as Bessie. She was preparing to board a train in Lithuania as a Jewish immigrant who was leaving Europe to escape persecution and eventually travel to America by herself. At the train station, a woman handed her the pillow asking her to get it to her son in America. A boat ride, struggles for a young woman to find a job and live above the poverty line and time would pass before she would find the young man to give the pillow to as she promised. Turns out, the pillow was a connection to the man who would become her husband.

The book takes place in the early 20th century. It begins in 1909 and ends in 1936.


Along the way, there are ups and down. The story of real life advetures is told and is appropriate for Middle school age or older as it is mostly a highly appropriate book for family friendly reading but does deal with real life of a Jewish immigrant, illness, loss of children, death, marriage, raiding a family, and the raw facts of world events of a mention in the prologue of a rape, oppression, war, and the Great Depression.

How Did We Use It?

I was excited to tell my oldest daughter about this book because she loves real-life history stories like this, and I'm always looking for ways to teach history in a manner my kids will actually remember. I knew this book would do the trick. The supplemental pages online from Bessie's America helped to study the book in more detail. This special page provides links to additional information related to the book: These links include real pictures and information on topics of European Immigration, Famous People, Food and Recipes, Health, Housework, Movies, Music and Dancing, News, US Presidents, and Radio. I knew my girls would love to hear about the music and dancing since they are into both and thought it would be fun to see what food and recipes we could make and enjoy. There was even a video about the 1920's Fox Trot:

What Did We Think?

The book is interesting and written in a way that keeps the reader's interest. I especially enjoy history stories that are based on real-life experiences, so this book was right up our alley and we are happy the author told the story. The book is interesting in and of itself, but the Bessie's America pages online really bring the book and the history behind it to life with hands-on activities, audio, and visual extras.

FIND Bessie's Pillow ON SOCIAL MEDIA @:

Read what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the picture below:

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}

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1 comment:

  1. So glad you enjoyed reading my grandmother's story.

    Dr. Linda