Saturday, April 5, 2008

Historical Fiction: Nory Ryan's Song

Giff, Patricia Reilly. 2000. Nory Ryan’s Song. NY: Delacorte Press. ISBN: 0385321414.

Twelve-year-old Nory Ryan lives with her granda, two sisters, and little brother on the west coast of Ireland in 1848. With the harsh treatment of their English landlord many, including Nory’s eldest sister and husband, begin to leave for America where no one is hungry and were they are free from the English. While her da (father) is away at sea earning money for food and rent, the potato blithe from the north creeps into the Nory’s family and neighbor’s fields and poisons the crops. As she watches her family and neighbors continuously affected by the diseased potatoes that were once the staple in their livelihood, Nory refuses to give into the hunger and despair. Using her resourcefulness she courageously scales down cliffs for eggs and birds to feed her remaining loved ones. Inspired by her own great-grandparents’ story of emigration to escape the famine, Giff brings to life in the Irish culture through the eyes of a young girl and the vivid details of fear, hunger, and the courage that everyone faced during Ireland’s Great Hunger of 1848-1852. With a glossary of Irish words and a heart-felt letter from the author makes this an enlightening book for all to love and learn from.

*Continue the story of Nory’s journey to America in Maggie’s Door.
*Read more of Giff’s books like: Lilly’s Crossing, All the Way Home, Willow Run, and Water Street.

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