Bessie’s Pillow – A Young Immigrant’s Journey – 209


This edition has been edited to be more suitable for younger readers who might be sensitive to a some of the more graphic descriptions.

May this pillow bring you peace. So reads the pillow entrusted, in 1906, to 18-year-old Boshka “Bessie” Markman as she prepares to board a train in Vilna, Lithuania. One of thousands of Jewish immigrants who will leave Europe to escape persecution, she travels to America completely alone. Nearly two years will pass before Bessie finally delivers the pillow to its rightful owner, who turns out to be the love of her life. Will Bessie find the peace that the pillow promises? Or will it elude her? This is not just a story about a pillow, however. Nor is it your usual story about an immigrant to America in the early 20th century. It’s a story of courage, of resilience, and love that never ends.


Bessie’s Pillow – A Young Immigrant’s Journey – Middle School Edition – 209

Ideal for • English • Social Studies • ESOL

This edition has been edited to be more suitable for younger readers who might be sensitive to a some of the more graphic descriptions.

Bessie’s Pillow, Bessie’s Pillow, A Young Immigrant’s Journey is the true story of the author’s grand-mother who immigrated to New York as an 18-year-old in 1906. Written in first per-son, this easy-to-read young adult book can be used in the classroom in a variety of ways—engaging students in reading both for enjoyment and multi-disciplinary learning through:

1. discussion of immigration to the United States via New York from the 1880’s through the 1920s.
2. exploration of the massive technological changes and cultural influences of the early 19th century.

Recommending to my library

“This book is well worth reading. An easy read, the book (based on a true story) is interesting and moves along. Bessie’s life makes you think about what times were like then. She was a unique person with experiences that merit reading about. I am recommending this book to our library and all my friends.” Victor G.

Felt like I was part of the family

“This is a beautiful book with the power to engage and enlighten even people like me, whose family arrived in America 300 years before Bessie. I learned a lot about what it was like to live in New York in the early 20th century, but I learned even more about how alike we are, no matter who our ancestors were or where they came from. This is a story about a young immigrant’s journey, yes, but it’s also a story about survival, compassion, and triumph. And best of all…Bessie was a real woman! By the time I was done reading, I felt like I was part of the family. Thank goodness the author wrote an Afterword — I wanted to know what happened to all of the people I’d fallen in love with. (There are photos of the main characters at the end, too, but don’t peek!)” Booklover, Atlanta, Georgia


Soft cover:
Dimensions: 6 x 0.67 x 9 inches


Additional information

Weight 0.5 lbs