This is a great book to read with children to help them understand some of the present-day debates about immigrant workers in America. Like their modern-day counterparts, the brothers in this story leave their home country to seek economic opportunity, not only for themselves, but for the family they leave behind. They endure a harrowing journey across the Pacific and then take on dangerous work. They are mistreated by their bosses, discriminated against and taken for granted. At one point, the older brother loses two of his toes due to frostbite. However, they persevere despite that, and the story ends on three happy notes: 1) they have four generations of descendants, 2) they are able to bring their family to the US, and 3) they take pride in their contribution to one of the most amazing engineering feats in the US: the construction of the transcontinental railway.
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