Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 8 to 12
- Grade: 3 to 7
Ice cream!You scream!
Sammy has learned to live by his wits on the voyage from Poland to the Jewish immigrant community that is to be his new home in New York City. It is here he discovers that the vibrant, noisy streets of New York are alive with challenge - even more of a challenge than his new school. Will it be Sammy's wits, or his beautiful singing voice that will keep him out of trouble in the games of stickball in the rough-and-tumble streets?
Rona Arato has written a humorous, life-affirming story about a young boy standing up for himself in the midst of peer pressure from a local gang, prejudice against new immigrants, and his own desire to be accepted for who he is.
About the author
Rona Arato is a children’s author with a strong interest in human rights. As a writer and editor for over twenty years, she has written on a wide variety of subjects including education, business, travel, fashion and Internet technology. Her work has appeared in mag-azines and newspapers in Canada, the United States, and England. Rona is the author of Fossils, Clues to Ancient Life and World of Water (Crabtree, 2004) and Ice Cream Town (Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2007). Her new books include Working for Freedom: The Story of Josiah Henson for Napoleon (Fall 2008), Making a Difference for Maple Tree Press (Fall 2008), and Design It! for Tundra Books (Spring 2009). Rona began writing in the mid 1970s while raising her three children. She has also worked as a public relations consultant for profit and non-profit. She has taught adult Creative Writing for the Toronto District Board and conducted business writing workshops for profit and non-profit organizations in the Toronto area. She has written educational materials for organizations including Mosdos Press in Cleveland, Girl Guides of Canada, and B’nai Brith Canada. From 1994-1998, Rona had the privilege of serving as an interviewer for Survivors of the Shoa, a Steven Spielberg project that recorded the histories of Holocaust survivors. It was this experience that fostered her interest in and desire to write about human rights. Rona discovered Josiah Henson’s story while researching a project on Canadian heroes. She was immediately taken with his strength and courage in the face of seemingly insur-mountable obstacles. His dedication to human rights and freedom spoke to her heart and she hopes that his story will affect others, especially youth, in the same way it has affected her.
"Ice Cream Town is a delightful novel for young readers, filled with the adventures of the new kid on the block struggling to adjust to the New World. It's a fine introduction to immigrant life in the early part of the 20th century, touching upon the inferior living accommodations in the tenements and the poor working conditions. Arato, with humour and wit, depicts the inferiority complex suffered by many newcomers who desperately tried to blend in with the American-born population. . . Ice Cream Town is a pleasurable, inspiring read with historical value."
-- Jewish Tribune
"Rona Arato's first novel for young children is to be applauded."
-- CM Magazine
"This is a feel-good tale about values, and offers a window on a time and place without the typical teen-lit "gritty realism" which is so often more gritty than real."
-- Victoria Times-Colonist
"Readers of historical fiction - perhaps especially those who recognize aspects of their own family history in Sammy's experience - will appreciate the details of the book's setting and its portrait of growing up where "everything is upside down."
"This is a richly detailed, solid piece of historical fiction that gives insight into the early-20th-century immigrant experience."
-- The School Library Journal
"Experienced readers of the Sydney Taylor books will get a grittier and more realistic side of immigrant life from child's point of view."
-- Jewish Book World (US)
Other titles by Rona Arato
Righting Canada's Wrongs: Anti-Semitism and the MS St. Louis
Canada's Anti-Semitic Policies in the Twentieth Century
The Last Train
A Holocaust Story
The Ship to Nowhere
On Board the Exodus
Sammy and the Headless Horseman
On an American Day Volume 1
Story Voyages through History 1750–1899
The Ordinary Things We Use Every Day and the Not-So-Ordinary Ways They Came to Be
On a Medieval Day
Story Voyages around the World
Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium
Protists: Algae, Amoebas, Plankton, and Other Protists
On a Canadian Day
Nine Story Voyages through History