By Mila Vincent~
Our five-year-old critic Mila Vincent loves reviewing books with her grandmother, Johannah Luza, and her mom, Shayna Vincent. Not only will she tell you what she likes best about the books, but she will show you what outfit goes best with the book! Right now, Mila is digging deep into holiday books.
For Chanukah, she reviews Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing by our Theatrically Speaking columnist Nancy Churnin. Her timing is impeccable, with Dallas Children’s Theater presenting Nancy and her book as part of its new free Pages and Heroes Zoom series Sunday, December 13 at 2 pm. Register HERE.
Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing
Author: Nancy Churnin
Illustrator: James Rey Sanchez
Publisher: Creston Books/Lerner Books/Kar-Ben Publishing
Mila: When Irving Berlin was little, his family had to leave Russia because the mean Cossacks didn’t like the Jews, and they even burned their houses down. Irving was just a little boy about five like I am, and he was sad to leave, but the passengers on the ship said America was a good country.
When Irving’s mom saw the Statue of Liberty, she said, “God Bless America!” Irving knew that he would someday write a song about America. He only spoke Yiddish and Russian, but people spoke lots of different languages when he arrived in America.
His family had to live in a one-room apartment that was so crowded. When his daddy died, Irving was only 13 and started singing on the streets, and people gave him money. He helped buy food for his family. Irving Berlin grew up to be famous and wrote “God Bless America.”
Did you know that one of the most famous Christmas songs, “White Christmas,” was written by Irving Berlin? My grandma read that in the back of the book, and I was surprised because Irving Berlin is Jewish! And he wrote over 1,500 songs!
I learned a lot about Irving Berlin, and one of the things I liked was that he came from Russia, just like my great-great-grandma did when she was 14. Maybe they knew each other in Russia!
Johannah Luza, Mila’s Grandma: This is one of my favorite children’s books! The story brings the reader all the emotions of coming to a new country. Children will be surprised to learn how many songs Irving Berlin wrote and how grateful he was to end up in America!