Cover image for Maggie's door
Maggie's door
Giff, Patricia Reilly.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Wendy Lamb Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
158 pages ; 22 cm
In the mid-1800s, Nory and her neighbor and friend, Sean, set out separately on a dangerous journey from famine-plagued Ireland, hoping to reach a better life in America.
Reading Level:
720 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.0 5.0 74694.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.2 8 Quiz: 34084 Guided reading level: T.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



We will dance on the cliffs of Brooklyn. Maggie's Dooris the story of the journey from Ireland to America told by both Nory and her neighbor and friend Sean Red Mallon, two different stories with the same destination--the home of Nory's sister Maggie, at 416 Smith Street, Brooklyn, America. Patricia Reilly Giff calls upon her long research into Irish history and her great powers as a storyteller in this deeply involving, riveting stand-alone companion novel toNory Ryan's Song. From the Hardcover edition.

Author Notes

Patricia Reilly Giff was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 26, 1935. She knew she wanted to be a writer, even as a little girl. She received a Bachelor's of Arts in Education from Marymount College, a Master's of Arts from St. John's University, and a Professional Diploma in Reading and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hofstra University.

After she graduated from college, she taught in the public schools in New York City until 1960 and then in the public schools in Elmont, New York from 1964 until 1971. She then became a reading consultant before finally, at the age of 40, deciding to write a book. She also worked as an educational consultant for Dell Yearling and Young Yearling Books and as an advisor and instructor to aspiring writers. She is the author of more than 60 children's books, as well as a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers.

Together with her husband, Giff opened "The Dinosaur's Paw," a children's bookstore named after one of her own stories. She is the author of the Polk Street School books. Lily's Crossing, about the homefront during World War II, was named a Newberry Honor Book by the American Library Association as well as an ALA Notable Book for Children. The novel also won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor. Pictures of Hollis Woods was also named a Newberry Honor Book and Nory Ryan's Song was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-7. In 1870, 13-year-old Dina is forced to flee Germany after being mistaken for a spy, and she takes her sister's place on a ship to America, where she will live with Uncle, his young wife, Barbara, and baby Marie. After arriving, Dina finds herself in Brooklyn, sleeping in a stifling closet. Worst of all, she must earn her room and board by sewing. Although talented, Dina despises the work, but sewing is part of Uncle's plan to improve their situation, so Dina finds herself either at the machine or doing the endless work of a tenement life. There are many books about immigrants in the U.S; the strengths of this one are its profuse details and its cranky heroine. And a heroine Dina is, sometimes exaggeratedly so, as when she saves both Barbara and Marie from a fire. Yet, Dina is not a stock character; she's a real child, who works hard, literally and figuratively, to find her way. When she realizes that designing dresses is something she loves, readers will cheer her perseverance, and the happy ending seems well deserved. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Listeners can now hear what became of Nory, star of Nory Ryan's Song, in Patricia Reilly Giff's follow-up to that book, Maggie's Door, skillfully performed by Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan. In moving passages that also document elements of Irish and Irish-American history, Nory and her neighbor Sean give separate accounts of their long and dangerous voyage to New York City from the Emerald Isle. Flanagan's subtle, authentic accent is a treat. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-An excellent story meets its ideal narrator in this extraordinary production of Patricia Reilly Giff's sequel (Random, 2003) to Nory Ryan's Song (Delacorte, 2000). Alternating between Nory's point of view and that of her friend Sean, the story traces their struggle to reach the port of Galway, and ultimately her sister Maggie's door in Brooklyn, America. Giff tells the story in a straightforward manner that makes readers feel the horrors of hunger and being wrenched from one's home. Fionnula Flanagan's sensitive narration brings to life the strengths and pain of the characters and their harrowing journey. Much of the story hinges on the dramatic irony of Nory and Sean's parallel journeys, and the many times their paths cross without their knowledge. Flanagan conveys each narrator's tone flawlessly, and her smooth lilt carries listeners along to the affecting conclusion. A rare gem of an audiobook, excellent in every way.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Maryland School for the Deaf, Columbia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



one nory Nory hadn't gone far, just over the rise, when she heard it. A voice? "Ocras," it screamed. "Ocras." Hunger. Nory took another step and stopped. On one side of her were the dunes, on the other the great ocean. A strange place she was in, with wisps of fog drifting across the road. And again that sound. The wind, she told herself, even though she knew it wasn't. Granda had told her of selkies, half seal, half human. When they lived on land they wept bitter tears for the deep; when they returned to the sea they mourned for lost loves on the land. Was that it? The cry of some poor selkie woman? Such an eerie sound. The crying stopped and Nory began to walk again. One foot in front of the other. Away from home, away from that empty house with the door banging in the wind. The trip just beginning. The sand drifted across the road, grains of it sticking to her bare feet. The crying reminded her of her little brother, Patch, and the last time she had seen him, his arms flung out to her from the back of her friend Sean Red Mallon's cart. And where was that cart now, Sean pulling its heavy weight while Patch leaned against Mrs. Mallon in back? How far had they gone along that winding road toward the port of Galway? She quickened her steps. Don't think about Patch, or the Mallons, or the rest of the family, all gone ahead to find a ship, she told herself. Just keep going. Nearly at the crossroads. "Ocras, ocras," came the cry again, and with it the sound of powerful wings. That was what it was, then, not a voice but the call of a great seabird. It swooped down over her head, too close. She dropped her bag and clutched the top of her head with both hands. As the bird rose she saw the snow-white body, the huge wingspan, the curved beak, and eyes that were strangely human. She had seen such a bird once when she and Granda had walked along the cliff ledge. Granda had thrown it a piece of dulse from his pocket. "Travelers must give the white bird food. It will bring luck until the end of the journey," he had told her. "But we're only going home," she had said. "Only a few steps." "Ah, still." Granda. How she missed him! But what could she give the bird? She had so little--papers Da had sent that would get her onto a ship, and a coin from her neighbor Anna sewed into her shawl, and what was in her bag, the bits of things Anna had managed to put together for the long trip ahead of her: herbs for illness, a biscuit so hard it had to be soaked in water, a bit of meat, and two pieces of brack, rock hard as the biscuit. The bird circled over her, higher now. Nory dropped to the ground, scrambling for the bag, and reached deep inside for the biscuit. Anna's voice was in her ear: "There are only these bits of food between you and starvation. Guard them." She held the biscuit in her hand as the bird wheeled over her head once more, but it was too hard to break into pieces. Suppose she threw all of it? Between you and starvation, the wind said. "Traveler's luck," Granda whispered in her head. What should she do? Her mouth tingled with the thought of that biscuit, the softness of it when she'd find a stream for dipping, the taste of it on her tongue. There was no time to think or the bird would be gone. She took a step forward, reached over her head, and tossed the biscuit high into the air. Effortlessly the bird swooped to catch it in its beak. It climbed high over the dunes with it and headed out over the waves that broke at the edge of the strand. "It's the whole biscuit," she called. "For my whole family. Remember that." Her hair blew into her face and she raked it back impatiently so she could see where the bird went. "We're all of us traveling." And that voice in her head again: But you, Nory, are alone. The bird skimmed over the surf, but then, just before it was out of sight, it dropped the biscuit into the sea. Nory's hand went to her mouth, hard against her teeth. Foolish girl, Anna would have said. You needed that food to stay alive. Nory cupped her hands around her mouth. "Don't forget us. All of us. Da. Granda and Celia. Patch . . . and my friend Sean Red Mallon. Don't forget Sean." The bird was almost out of sight. "We are trying for America," she called after it. "We want to stand at Maggie's door in Brooklyn." Excerpted from Maggie's Door by Patricia Reilly Giff All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.