Cleareyed photography illustrates the modern experience of immigrating to the United States.
The simple opening words are immediately familiar. “My family came here from far away….” American children have long heard the stories of how their strong and courageous forebears built this country. Most immigration stories for the young, however, are told from a single point of view. Author Coy and photographer Huie have taken the opposite approach. Faces of many ethnic backgrounds grace the moving yet everyday images that fill the pages. Asian, African, and Latino people are shown living their lives in their new land, playing, eating, working, and being themselves. Young Asian Boy Scouts stand next to the American flag. An older woman in a headscarf studies for a test. A tall black girl stands on a track surrounded by her blond classmates. Visually, their different-ness is apparent. Yet the words are universal. “They worked long, hard hours, at difficult jobs….They saved and did without and sent money back.” The result joins the intimate, individual family stories to the universal immigration experience with a love for freedom and the responsibility that it requires. The last question pulls readers back to the present: “What will we do with THEIR GREAT GIFT?” Both author and photographer include their own family arrival stories in the endnotes.
A heartfelt reminder of a significant American ideal. (Picture book. 5-9)