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Letters From Rifka

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Jennifer Dwyer

on 9 April 2013

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Transcript of Letters From Rifka

Letters From Rifka
By: Karen Hesse Main Characters: -Rifka Nebrot -Cousin Tovah -Papa and Mama -Saul -Nathan Other Characters:
-Uncle Avrum
-Aunt Anna
-Bubbe Ruth
-Sister Katrina -Ilya The story begins with Rifka and her family secretly escaping from Ukraine during the Russian Civil War. The story describes Rifka's journey from Russia to America and the hardships that she had to endure. Plot: Settings: -Berdichev, Ukraine
(Rifka's home-travels by train)
-Motziv, Poland
(Rifka's first stop/typhus-travels by train)
-Warsaw, Poland
(Rifka's family travels by train, ringworm) -Antwerp, Belgium
(Rifka stays here to recover) What was going on in history at this time and why does it matter? September 2, 1919- October 22, 1920
The Russian Civil War is currently taking place during the time period of the book. Rifka's family is Jewish and the Jewish people are being prosecuted in Russia.
-About a year after the end of WWI and the killing of the Romanov family in Russia. Why is Letters From Rifka important for Social Studies and Geography? Many thematic elements introduced in the book are important Social Studies topics
Cultural differences
Conflict between government and citizens
European/ World History
Immigration of people
Poverty and sickness
Rifka has to stay in Antwerp, Belgium to recover from Ringworm. Her family proceeds to America without her. She lives with an older couple while she goes through her treatment. The ringworm causes her hair to fall out. She keeps busy by writing Tovah letters in her copy of an Alexander Puskin poetry book. What is going on in the book? What is going on in the book? Rifka is traveling across the Atlantic Ocean toward America. Her family waits for her in America, they have been exchanging letters. Rifka continues to write letters to Tovah and discovers a talent for different languages.
A large storm hits the ship which causes the ships engine to give out resulting in a delay of arrival. What are the major conflicts? The whole story is one big conflict/ resolution for Rifka. She has to face the prosecution of her people and the separation of her and her family. She can never return to her home and is forced to live on her own for a long time. Sickness and death are also serious conflicts. Why would 5-6 grades enjoy reading this book? Rifka is around the same age of a typical 5-6 grader. Due to the age similarity the students would be able to relate to Rifka more personally. The story is truly a coming of age story in many ways. The reading level of the book is also appropriate for 5-6 graders. Why did Dr. Holmquist pick Letters From Rifka to be covered? Overall, it's a great book with a ton of historical elements and geographic connections. This book is also full of different examples of culture. Letters From Rifka can be used with multiple subjects areas and lesson plans. What is happening in the book? Rifka finally makes it to Ellis Island but she is detained because her hair has not grown back yet. She does not have ringworm but is still seen as a liability. She might be forced to return to Europe if her hair does not grow. She meets Ilya, a young Russian peasant. She ends up becoming a mother figure for him and eventually helps him reach America. What should you know about the book? This is a great book for upper Elementary students. I enjoyed reading this book, it was also a fast read.
Many lesson plans and a possible Unit could be easily based off of this book. To find out if Rifka ever makes it to America... Read the book! -Ellis Island
(Rifka is detained here)
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