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Critical Book Review: A Coal Miners Bride; The Diary of Anetka Kaminska
Susan Campbell Bartoletti is the author of picture books, novels, and nonfiction for children, including Newbery Honor book Hitler youth: Growing up in Hitler’s Shadow, The Sibert Medal-winning Black Potatoes, and Dear America: A Coal Miners Bride. Her work has received dozens of awards and Honors, including the NCTE Orbis Pictus award for nonfiction, the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction, and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. Bartoletti began her career as a middle school teacher and later perused a life in writing due in part to the inspiration of her students. She attended Marywood College and majored in English with a secondary education in teaching.
Bartoletti’s novel, Dear America: A Coal Miners Bride features a young polish immigrant by the name of Anetka Kaminsk. The strong headed thirteen year old was raised in Sadowka, Poland with her stubborn young brother, Jozef, and her similarly strong headed grandmother, whom is referred to as Babcia. Anetka’s mother has since passed and her father (Tata) has been living in America for a year now. Her home country of Poland is under strict rule of the Czar and her Tata is in search of greater opportunities. Anetka purchases a blank journal in which she frequently records her thoughts and experiences soon before she recives a life changing letter from her Tata. He wishes Anetka to come to America with her brother and marry a coal miner by the name of Stanley Gawrych. Anetka is both angry and frightened with Tata, she is not interested in marrying someone she does not love, but she must go. Babcia does not join the children on the journey, explaining that there is nothing for her in America. The kids travel with a close friend named Leon instead who has feelings for Anetka which she does not reciprocate. Their journey to America is difficult, but not anymore so than the falsely portrayed...