Her family left the town of Pinsk,
fled hunger and religious strife,
searching for a better life.
Milwaukee was her newfound home–
There her dad could work and earn
and even girls could go to learn
in schools that didn’t cost one cent–
except for books–a little fee.
But some friends lived in poverty
and buying books was out of reach.
Though just a student in fourth grade,
Golda ran a book crusade.
She painted poster and sent out mail.
She found a meeting hall to use for free.
That wasn’t all!
After other girls sang songs and recited poems,
came Gold’s part.
The girl from Pinsk spoke from her heart–
words not written in advance–
urging everyone to share their extra change
to care for those less fortunate.
The people listened and were stirred.
When she finished, Golda heard
the clink of coins to help the poor.
her simple words were all it took
for every child to own a book.
Copyright © 1999 Ann Whitford Paul. From the book All By Herself. Harcourt Children’s Books. Reprinted by permission of the author.
In 1909 Golda Mabovitch, an immigrant from the town of Pinsk in Russia, made her first plea for money to help needy people. In adulthood, when she was known as Golda Meir, she raised funds for the new Jewish state of Israel, and in 1969 she became its prime minister.
Ann Whitford Paul became inspired to write after years of reading with her children. She’s published 20 books, including All By Herself. When she isn’t writing she loves to listen to her cat’s purr, follow snail trails and watch spiders spin webs. Her web-site is www.annwhitfordpaul.net.