Discussion Questions for Immigrant in Peril
1. Do you have an immigrant story that reveals something important about your family? If so, how is it similar or different from Carl’s?
2. How realistic were Carl’s reasons for leaving Europe for America? Would you have chosen to stay in your home community or leave for a foreign land?
3. Carl faced many losses in Immigrant in Peril. What was the most significant? Why?
4. What is nativism? Is nativism a factor in the immigrant issues of today?
5. Can you relate to Carl’s journey through experiences in your own life?
6. In Cincinnati, Carl faced violence from people who disliked German immigrants. How did he feel after this experience? How would you feel and what would you do in that type of situation?
7. What specific themes were revealed throughout the book, both explicitly and implicitly?
8. How did Carl change through his journey? What events triggered these changes?
9. What role did courage play in Carl’s immigrant journey? What is an example of courage to overcome a fearful situation in your life or someone you know well?
10. If you could be one of the characters in this book, who would it be?
11. What did you think of the ending of the book?
12. How did the setting relate to this story? What was unique about the setting of Immigrant in Peril, and how did it enhance or take away from the story?
13. Did certain parts of this book make you feel uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way?
14. What moral/ethical choices did the characters make? What do you think of those choices? How would you have chosen in a similar situation?
15. How do today’s immigrant issues compare with immigrant issues in the 1840’s? Would you rather be an immigrant to America then or now? Why?
CARL’S LAST LETTER TO HIS PARENTS BEFORE SAILING TO AMERICA
Sulingen, Hannover, Prussia
September 14, 1847
Dear Papa and Mama,
Our journey to America has well begun. We arrived last week in Brake on the Weser River and received your letter from Herr Weber. Two days later we sailed from Bremerhaven to Hull, England, then by train to Liverpool. Tomorrow we depart from Liverpool for New York.
The weather was clear for crossing the North Sea from Bremerhaven to Hull, England. Many travelers were sick in Hull, but we were not. We boarded the first train at Paragon Railway Station at 11:00 am and arrived in Liverpool by 3:00 pm. Elizabeth and the children are well and we are all anxious to be on our way to America. If winds are favorable, God willing, we will arrive in New York, in early November. . . .
. . . . It is with a heavy and hopeful heart that we leave for America. Both of you will always be in our hearts and prayers as we remember our beloved families and home in Sulingen. Please share this letter with Elizabeth’s family with our love.
Your son, Carl (Heinrich Tangeman)
Immigrant in Peril is an historical fiction based on Carl Tangeman's actual immigration story written for young adults. Carl joined over 1.7 million Europeans who immigrated to America in the 1840's. He was pushed out of his home by starvation and political unrest. Tales of freedom and opportunity pulled him to embark on perilous journeys to America.
Look below for book club discussion questions.
On the day of departure, the undisturbed sea promised and hid all that lay ahead.
--Immigrant in Peril
Cheryl D. Clay
Cheryl D. Clay, author of
IMMIGRANT IN PERIL
July, 2016: Immigrant in Peril was chosen by Library Journal for inclusion in SELF-e Select, an online designation for recently published books
November, 2017: Immigrant in Peril was reviewed in
Colorado Country Life
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