Book Review | “Meet Kirsten”

kirsten“That’s America!” happily exclaimed Kirsten to her friend Marta at the opening of “Meet Kirsten,” an American Girl book written by Janet Beeler Shaw in 1986.

Kirsten is a young girl whose family embarks on a great voyage from Sweden. The Larson family is immigrating to America. Their ultimate destination is her Uncle Olav’s small farm in Minnesota.

The journey is fraught with potential perils. First, the Larsons must survive crossing the ocean aboard the Eagle in a small room below the deck for two months. Once in America, they then must find their way to Minnesota with limited money, unable to speak to English, and amid constant threats to their health. It certainly was not a journey not for the faint of heart.

“Meet Kirsten” is the first of eleven books Shaw wrote introducing Kirsten to her readers and developing their relationship with her with each publication. The American Girl Book Club includes several of these young heroine books. As I read this book over the weekend, it never occurred to me this was a book from over thirty years ago. The story and themes are perfectly present day.

Kirsten is smart, good-hearted young girl. I enjoyed “meeting her” this weekend and think that many other young girls will as well.

“Meet Kirsten” (61 pages) is available at the Jefferson Carnegie Library and on Amazon Kindle. Call (903) 665-8911 or visit the Jefferson Carnegie Library website for information about checking out the book. And visit for a videolink about Kirsten and her experiences in America.




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