The original Pilgrims were not the only people to
come to our country in search of freedom. "Give me
your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning
to breathe free." These words are inscribed on the
Statue of Liberty, words that echo the pilgrims'
quest but were written many years later. They were
written for the people who believed that America
would be a safe haven, a country where they could
live and worship and work in the manner they felt
best. The book "How Many Days To America?" is the
story of one family's journey to the land of hope.
Set in the Caribbean, the dramatic
tale is told by the older child and only son of a
family who is forced to leave their home and travel
to our country. "We must leave right now," the
father tells his children one dark night after
soldiers invade their homeland.
"Why?" the son asks.
"Because we do not think the way
they think, my son," is the father's sad reply as he
and his family chose a few small items to take with
them to their new home.
Along the way, the family
encounters many difficulties. The wife's wedding
band and other jewels must be traded for admission
on the boat. During the journey, the travelers get
lost, food becomes scarce, and robbers board the
family endures many hardships to gain what we too
often take for granted - the freedom and liberty
that living in this country brings.
This is a wonderful tale to read
to younger children, or to have your older children
read to younger siblings (as you stuff the turkey,
perhaps?) The family arrives in our country,
appropriately, on Thanksgiving day, and they agree
that giving thanks is the best way to celebrate
their hard but successful voyage and their wonderful
new land. The book can easily inspire a family
discussion about the ways our country is different
than others, and even the youngest child can find
new reasons to give thanks after reading this story.
Reviewed By Mary Dixon Weidler