Jessie, a young girl living in a poor village in Europe, receives the opportunity to emigrate to America. At first, Jessie is hesitant — having lost her parents years ago, she lives with her grandmother who she does not want to leave behind. But with her grandmother, Jessie decides to take the opportunity in hopes of a better future. Heartbroken to leave her grandmother behind, Jessie boards the ship to America. The story’s feeling goes between sadness and hope, as Jessie makes friends, begins her new life in New York City, and saves for a future day when she can purchase a ticket to America for her grandmother. Through Jessie’s experience, readers can get a glimpse into the experience of the many immigrants who arrived to America in the 19th century, each with their own stories of loss and hope. P. J. Lynch’s rich watercolor and gouache paintings deepen the emotion of the story through dark tones, light sources, and detailed expressions.

jessie gma

Illustrated by P.J. Lynch

Awards: Kate Greenaway Medal, Bisto Merit Award

Published 1997, Candlewick