Johanna Hurwitz Dear Emma

ISBN 13: 9780060298401

Dear Emma

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9780060298401: Dear Emma
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Having gone away to a Vermont farm as part of the Fresh Air Fund in 1910, orphan Dossi returns to her sister's apartment in New York City where she must find something interesting in her boring world to write about to her new friend, Emma.

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About the Author:

Johanna Hurwitz is the author of over five dozen books for young readers. She is the recipient of many state awards, including the Texas Bluebonnet Award, the Kentucky Bluegrass Award, and the Garden State Children's Choice Award. She lives in Great Neck, NY.

Johanna Hurwitz always knew she wanted to be a writer. She started by telling stories to her brother, who is six years her junior, and she's been making up stories ever since. Born and raised in New York City, she earned her B.A. degree from Queens College and went on to receive a master's in library science from Columbia University. She embarked on a career as a children's librarian, but she never forgot that one day she wanted to write books, too.

She worked at the New York Public Library and in a variety of other public and school library positions. She also taught graduate courses in children's literature and storytelling at Queens College. When she and her husband, Uri -- a college teacher and writer-and their children, Nomi and Beni, moved to Long Island, she continued her library work.

Although she had told original stories to her children, it was not until they were well along in school that Mrs. Hurwitz actually began to write down her stories. That's why, when children ask her how long it takes to write a book, she replies that her first, Busybody Nora, took her whole life.

But since then she has been writing with regularity, portraying with humor and sympathy the everyday incidents that are so important to children. She is particularly fond of seven- to nine-year-olds, because they are " so very open and get excited about small things," and she enjoys writing realistic fiction for and about them.

That these youngsters are equally fond of Mrs. Hurwitz's books is obvious. She has received many child-chosen state awards, including the Texas Bluebonnet Award, the Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Award, the Kentucky Bluegrass Award, the Garden State Children's Choice Award, the West Virginia Children's Book Award, and others.

In recent years, Johanna Hurwitz has crisscrossed the United States from Juneau, Alaska, to Jackson, Mississippi, and from San Diego, California, to St. Albans, Vermont. She has even spoken abroad, from Morocco to Mozambique and from Portugal to Nicaragua. On these trips she has met and spoken to schoolchildren, teachers, librarians, and parents. She has made many new friends and has often brought home new ideas for her next book.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-7-The friendship established between Hadassah (Dossi) Rabinowitz and Emma Meade in Faraway Summer (Morrow, 1998) continues with letters that Dossi writes to the Meade family from 1910-1911. Hurwitz's fluid descriptions of this period fill the girl's letters, describing the cramped living conditions she and her older sister, Ruthi, endure in their Lower East Side room in New York City. Ruthi soon marries Meyer, a pharmacist, quits her job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, and the three move into a spacious tenement apartment. Ruthi gets pregnant and her physical and emotional health are strained when their neighbors are quarantined with diphtheria and when her friend Rosa dies with many other women in the factory's infamous fire. Dossi successfully distracts Ruthi from her grief, and rejoices in the birth of her niece. Throughout this time, the protagonist struggles with algebra but has a successful school year. The format is a bit awkward in that the early letters describe the girls' summer visit and subsequent ones reiterate information from Emma's letters, which are not produced in this book. Period postcards of New York City and attractive woodcuts enliven the story, and the author's notes add historical details. Readers will learn much about this period that was so grim for many U.S. immigrants and other working poor.
Laura Scott, Farmington Community Library, MI
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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