Rebekkah's Journey: A World War II Refugee Story (Tales of Young Americans)

by Ann E Burg (Author) Joel Iskowitz (Illustrator)

Rebekkah's Journey: A World War II Refugee Story (Tales of Young Americans)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
In 1944 a vacant army base in upstate New York became the temporary home of over 900 men, women and children who had fled Europe towards the end of World War II. With little more than the clothing on their backs, Rebekkah and her mother are just two of the many refugees who come to live in the camp. Adjusting to a strange new world and a new language, Rebekkah puts aside her own fears to try and recreate tiny bits of home for her mother. A fictional story based on the real-life experiences of surviving refugees, Rebekkah's Journey shares the illuminating story of one refugee's arrival on America's shores.
Select format:

More books in the series - See All

School Library Journal

Gr 3-5 In 1944, President Roosevelt invited 1000 European displaced persons to stay at an American army base in Oswego, NY. Rebekkah and her mother are two of the Jewish refugees who make the journey, living in the safe but confining conditions of the base. This quiet story is largely based on interviews with former shelter residents, and is told from seven-year-old Rebekkah's point of view. Perhaps because of its basis in long-ago memories, the narrative seems rather dreamy and loosely connected, with little historical context provided. Mystifyingly, it leaves the biggest question unanswered: Why were the refugees kept fenced in once they reached America? The text is not emotionally involving and does not provide enough detail for reports. The illustrations are muddy and dull, and sometimes have the photographic quality of having caught the characters in unattractive moments. Several times, the art directly contradicts descriptions in the text, as when a rabbi with a "long black beard" is pictured with a short white beard. Despite its shortcomings, the book might find a place in collections that focus on Holocaust studies or modern American history. However, it is unlikely to appeal to general readers."Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL" Copyright 2007 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Ann E Burg
Ann Burg's debut novel, All the Broken Pieces, was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a Jefferson Cup award winner and an IRA Notable Book for a Global Society, among its many honors. All of her subsequent novels in verse have garnered multiple awards and starred reviews. Serafina's Promise was named an ALA Notable, a Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner, and an NAACP Image Award finalist. Unbound was the winner of the New-York Historical Society Children's History Book Prize, the Christopher Award, and an Arnold Adoff Poetry Honor. Flooded was a Bank Street College Claudia Lewis Award winner, a Bank Street College Best Children's Book (with outstanding merit), and a Junior Library Guild selection. Burg worked as an English teacher for ten years before becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Rhinebeck, New York, with her family. Visit her online at
Sophie Blackall found inspiration for her drawings in Rachel Carson's writing and in her deep love for the natural world. "The ripples of Rachel's work affect us still, encircling us, reminding us more than ever that we are all connected." Sophie has illustrated over fifty books for children, including the New York Times bestselling Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows and the Caldecott Medal winners Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick and her own Hello Lighthouse. Originally from Australia, Sophie now splits her time between Brooklyn, New York, and the Catskill Mountains. Learn more at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Sleeping Bear Press
Publication date
August 20, 2006
Tales of Young Americans
BISAC categories
JUV016150 - Juvenile Fiction | Historical | United States - 20th Century
Library of Congress categories
United States
World War, 1939-1945
Jewish refugees

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!