Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Notorious Izzy Fink

Author:  Don Brown
Age Level:  9-14
Pages: 150

Set in the 1890’s on the Lower East Side of New York, The Notorious Izzy Fink follows the life of Sam Glodsky as he fights against poverty, street gangs, and a potential cholera outbreak.
Students will find Sam’s life interesting and very different from their own.  At thirteen Sam’s main focus in life is getting enough money for food for his family while avoiding Izzy Fink and rivaling street gangs.  From hauking newspapers to cleaning basements, Sam scrapes by on pennies until he joins up with Monk Eastman, a well-known gangster, who tempts Sam into a job with the promise of food and money.  But the catch?  He and Izzy Fink must work together. 

The violence, the use of vernacular common to the time period, and the use of coarse language could draw in students who normally dislike reading, especially boys.  Students who like books about scheming, capers, gangs, history, or crime might find this book enjoyable.

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