Birdie, a young Jewish girl, and her immigrant mother both shoulder the responsibility of maintaining the family store when Birdie's father dies suddenly after moving the whole family from New York City to a small town in Pennsylvania.
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Birdie Fried is 12 in 1917 when her father dies, leaving her mother with six children to provide for in the mill town of Steelton, Pa. The Frieds are Russian-Jewish immigrants; Mr. Fried was about to open a small grocery when he died. Desperate to avoid going back to N.Y.C.'s roach-infested tenements, Birdie and her sibs pitch in to do everything they can to help their mother, who knows very little English, manage the store. Its eventual success is due in large part to Birdie, who doesn't allow prejudice to prevent her from advertising for customers in the poor black neighborhood her family has been warned to avoid. Based in part on the author's family history, this affecting novel shows how immigrant families ventured everything they had in the days before social safety nets. Birdie's strong-willed, compassionate mother is especially memorable, as are descriptions of compromises between the family's Orthodox beliefs and the exigencies of commerce. Anti-Semitic and black prejudices of the period are dealt with frankly. Some dialogue in Hebrew, Yiddish (usually translated), and dialectical English. Unusually good historical fiction. (Fiction. 8-12) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
In 1917 the Fried family has moved to Steelton, Pa., to run a general store. But when their father dies, the children must make the store succeed or face returning to slum life in New York City. The story focuses on 12-year-old Birdie, whose pluck leads to the store's eventual success. Birdie sees the local prejudice against blacks as similar to the anti-Semitism her family escaped in Russia, and she encourages her mama to extend credit to black families, especially since none of the other businesses will. An old-fashioned heartwarmer, Lehrman's novel doesn't break any new ground; neither her characters nor their setting really shine. Based on family history, the meager plot far outweighs the players; while Birdie might have been a real girl, she never comes to life in these pages. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Pu, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110027546322
Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0027546322 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0942280