Books: Fiction

A Boy from Ireland

Book — Fiction. By Marie Raphael. 2007. 217 pages.
Historical fiction about the life of the Irish in New York City at the beginning of the 20th century for ages 12+.

Time Periods: 20th Century, 1900
Themes: Immigration, Labor, Racism & Racial Identity

Set in 1901, this is the exciting story of Liam, a fourteen-year-old, half-Irish, half-English boy who triumphs over a bully and a cycle of hatred through friendship and the love of a horse.

Liam’s father disappeared long ago, perhaps to America. When his mother dies, Liam goes to live with an uncle in Connemara, Ireland. Here, he is bullied by local boys for his English blood and scorned by his uncle, who holds the English responsible for famines and other sufferings under her rule. When Liam gets the chance to go to America, he is filled with hope. He might find his father there, and he assumes he will find acceptance. But as he travels around New York City with the black carter with whom he works, he sees that here too men are drawn into violence based on historical grievances: Irish vs. English, blacks vs. whites. Soon Liam is drawn in, too. His dreams and his life are at stake. He must find a way to save himself.

A Boy from Ireland links racial and national conflicts to those faced by any young adult, raising issues that are especially relevant today. [Publisher’s description.]

“A poignant tale unsparing in its depiction of ethnic and racial prejudice and, at the same time, heartwarming in its portrayal of friendship and moral awakening. . . . This is a story you will want to share with every young teenager you know.” — Howard Zinn

ISBN: 9780892553310 | Persea Books