For your kids and for you…

I have to admit, I am a big fan of Children’s literature, and of picture books in particular. No matter how, the kid’s corner is my favorite spot at the library, where I can literally spend hours without caring of whining babies around me, of moms and babysitters with the most absurd accents reading books to their kids, or ignoring the annoying music of videogames coming from the computer stations.

So, during my restless hours of browsing and research about books dealing with immigration issues, I came across a bunch of wonderful little treasures, which of course I shared with my own kids.

Enjoy my choice!

  1. The Arrival, Shaun Tan, Arthur A. Levine Books, Scholastic, 2006

My favorite ever. I bought it for 25 cents at a garage sale, one month after MY arrival in the States. I cried and cried and cried, as only those who can relate to it can. The book is a wordless graphic novel in sepia tones describing the journey of an immigrant in the early 20th century. The use of surreal elements to describe the unfamiliar country is one of the most poetic non narrative description of the cultural shock. Best: intended for an older audience but enjoyed also by our little migrants for its superb art.

Book cover - The Arrival, Shaun Tan
Book cover – The Arrival, Shaun Tan


he Arrival - from the book
The Arrival – from the book
  1. Journey, Aaron Becker, Candlewick Press, 2013

I found this book by chance, left on the library table by a previous reader, and got my attention. A terrific wordless picture book about a girl who finds herself lonely and with no friends to play with, possibly in a new town. The book is drawn again in soft sepia tones (I think I like the style) with the color red used to symbolize the use of imagination as a redemptive strategy against loneliness. Best: the urban and new family setting is portrayed with an alienating mood that will speak to many kids experiencing any sort of distress in their new environment.

Journey - cover
Journey – cover
Journey - form the book
Journey – form the book
  1. Here I Am, Patti Kim, ill. Sonia Sánchez, Capstone Young Readers, 2013

I have read some reviews about this book and the most interesting one is the definition of it as The Arrival for kids. A tender wordless graphic-novel-style story about an Asian boy who moves to America with his family. The ink and watercolor art portrays the puzzlement, the loneliness, and the fears of the first days, but also the happiness of the last part, years later. The image of the seed, which needs patience and time to grow, is a beautiful metaphor used to explain the process of adjusting to a new culture. Best: the sequential art provide the visual and narrative for telling the story of the adjusting process.

Here I Am - cover
Here I Am – cover
Here I Am - from the book
Here I Am – from the book
  1. The Matchbox Diary, Paul Fleischman, ill. Bagram Ibatoulline, Candlewick, 2013

An immigration story told from the voice of an Italian-American old man to his granddaughter, using a matchbox containing objects from his past. The terrific art makes the book almost a journal of old photographs, and the tone is warm and comforting. Best: the art and the narrative of the story through the objects makes this book one of my favorite about immigration and sharing family stories.

The Matchbox Diary - cover
The Matchbox Diary – cover
The Matchbox Diary - from the book
The Matchbox Diary – from the book
  1. Migrant, Maxine Trottier, ill. Isabelle Arsenault, Groundwood Books, 2011

This book came after the suggestion of a friend of mine. The story is actually focused on the peculiar experience of the Mennonite migrants who follow the harvest season in Mexico and Canada. However, the beautiful illustrations and the lyrical narrative, will leave a mark on your life. Best: the image of the girl who would just like to be a tree, rooted to one place, letting the seasons change while she remains.

Migrant - cover
Migrant – cover
Migrant - from the book
Migrant – from the book

A final comment. All these books are published in the US. As you know, American publishers do not have a passion for foreign translations (I spoke about it in here), so if you know other good picture books about immigrations, migrants, expats & co. to share, please do share!!



      1. Here in Thailand it is difficult to find good English books sometimes. My mom is coming to visit so I am asking her to add some of these books to her suitcase for us 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s