The American Girl books are wonderful stories that bring to life some part of American history. This one is about a Sweedish family who emigrate to America, and is told through the eyes of a nine year old girl named Kirsten. It is a great book for those who are starting chapter books, and it keeps the reader wanting more.
ISBN 0590437879 - As a newly converted fan of the American Girls books, Meet Kirsten was a pleasant read for me. I do have some problems with it, but I'll save those for last.
Kirsten and her family arrive in America from Sweden in 1854. On the ship, she's made a great friend in fellow traveler Marta, but they are separated in New York when Kirsten's family goes on a day before Marta's. New York is loud, dirty and crowded with people who speak languages Kirsten doesn't recognize - a problem when she becomes separated from her father. Traveling by train, steamboat and even on foot, the family faces challenges all the way to Minnesota, where they join Uncle Olav and his family.
***SPOILER ALERT*** I was very curious about how realistic the story could be without a death aboard the crowded ship. When the family disembarked and everyone was still alive, I was disappointed (for the lack of reality) and relieved (because it is a childrens' book). Reality returned with a death (I won't say who) along the way across the country and I was rather surprised that they handled it well. If your child is apt to be upset by the death of a character that they identify with, please read the book before handing it over. The illustrations are average and rather bland, with one exception being the burial. The informative pages at the back, filled with historical facts, keep the book from being too much of a sell-the-dolls tool.
From back: Kirsten Larson and her family arrive in America in the summer of 1854, after a long and dangerous journey on a small ship. Everything in the new land is different from the small village Kirsten left behind in Sweden. The way people dress, how they talk, and the ways they travel all seem strange to her. Will she ever feel at home in this new place? Getting lost in a big city and parting with her best friend make her wonder. It is only when the Larsons arrive at a tiny farm on the edge of the frontier that Kirsten believes Papa's promise--America will be a land filled with opportunity for them all.
As an English teacher, I highly recommended Kristen, Abbey, and all the other American Girls to many young elementary, middle school, and Junior High girls. My daughters loved the stories. My oldest has an American Girls' Kristen Doll that she refuses to let go of. Abbey was my youngest daughter favorite. I recommended the books to the daughters of friends and co-workers, and even let slip to an honor student who excelled in English & Literature about the American Girl Store. Your daughters will love these books and every one of the American Girls.
Book 1 of 6 Meet Kirsten After a long, dangerous journey from Sweden, Kirsten and her family arrive at a tiny farm on the Minnesota frontier. Nine-year-old Kirsten and her family experience many hardships as they travel from Sweden to the Minnesota frontier in 1854.