The Orphan of Ellis Island is the story of Dominic Cantori, who has spent his life in foster care. When visiting Ellis Island, Dominic falls asleep in a closet and wakes up in Italy in 1908. Dominic befriends three other orphans who are seeking money for passage to America. When one of the orphans dies, Dominic takes his spot on the journey to Ellis Island and discovers he may have found some real family of his own.
This chapter book is for readers in third-fifth grades. It depicts a portrait of the immigrant experience for Italians moving to the United States in the early twentieth century, providing an important history lesson. For a reader response, I would have students write journal entries as as immigrants and provide other resources to learn about this important group of people, including non-fiction articles and a virtual field trip to Ellis Island.
Woodruff, E. (1997). The orphan of ellis island. New York: Scholastic.