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POETRY BY YOUNG IMMIGRANTS

A sensitive and heartfelt voicing of the immigrant experience.

A collection of poems written by immigrant students at the Paul-Gérin-Lajoie-D’Outremont high school, in Outremont, Quebec, Canada.

Originally published in French as Bagages—mon histoire, this Canadian import features 15 poems by young immigrants from many corners of the world: Moldova, Iran, South Korea, Israel, Philippines, Uruguay, Pakistan, China, Venezuela, and the United Arab Emirates. They are deeply personal and expressed in different ways. “Now I advance / Slashing my chrysalis,” declares Dohee Kim, from South Korea. “I have gained the future / I have lost the past,” reflects Hernan Farina Forster, from Uruguay. “Thank you, FaceTime / For showing me their tear-streaked faces / Even here in Canada,” writes Arad Panahi, from Iran. The poems are marked by very universal themes, predominantly sadness over the people and places left behind and uneasiness over what lies ahead. Alongside the poems are striking full-page portraits in muted sepia tones on cream-colored paper. While some of the portraits correspond with the author of the accompanying poem, most do not. It must be presumed they are portraits of other young immigrant students at the school, not included in this poetry anthology. The English title of the book plays on the double meaning of the phrase, expressing so simply what it means to be an immigrant. Immigrants are the sum total of the baggage they carry on with them as well as the future they forge as they carry on with their lives in their new country.

A sensitive and heartfelt voicing of the immigrant experience. (editor’s note, illustrator’s note) (Picture book/poetry. 10-15)

Pub Date: April 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77147-416-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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EXCLUSION AND THE CHINESE AMERICAN STORY

From the Race to the Truth series

Deftly written and informative; a call for vigilance and equality.

An examination of the history of Chinese American experiences.

Blackburn opens with a note to readers about growing up feeling invisible as a multicultural, biracial Chinese American. She notes the tremendous diversity of Chinese American history and writes that this book is a starting point for learning more. The evenly paced narrative starts with the earliest recorded arrival of the Chinese in America in 1834. A teenage girl, whose real name is unknown, arrived in New York Harbor with the Carnes brothers, merchants who imported Chinese goods and put her on display “like an animal in a circus.” The author then examines shifting laws, U.S. and global political and economic climates, and changing societal attitudes. The book introduces the highlighted people—including Yee Ah Tye, Wong Kim Ark, Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, and Vincent Chen—in relation to lawsuits or other transformative events; they also stand as examples for explaining concepts such as racial hierarchy and the model minority myth. Maps, photos, and documents are interspersed throughout. Chapters close with questions that encourage readers to think critically about systems of oppression, actively engage with the material, and draw connections to their own lives. Although the book covers a wide span of history, from the Gold Rush to the rise in anti-Asian hate during the Covid-19 pandemic, it thoroughly explains the various events. Blackburn doesn’t shy away from describing terrible setbacks, but she balances them with examples of solidarity and progress.

Deftly written and informative; a call for vigilance and equality. (resources, bibliography, image credits) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9780593567630

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING

Full of laughter and sentiment, this is a nudge for readers to dare to try new things.

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A 1989 summer trip to Europe changes Caldecott Medal winner Santat’s life in this graphic memoir.

Young Dan hasn’t experienced much beyond the small Southern California town he grew up in. He stays out of trouble, helps his parents, and tries to go unnoticed in middle school. That plan gets thwarted when he is made to recite poetry at a school assembly and is humiliated by his peers. When eighth grade is over and his parents send him on a three-week study abroad program, Dan isn’t excited at first. He’s traveling with girls from school whom he has awkward relationships with, his camera breaks, and he feels completely out of place. But with the help of some new friends, a crush, and an encouraging teacher, Dan begins to appreciate and enjoy the journey. Through experiences like his first taste of Fanta, first time hearing French rap, and first time getting lost on his own in a foreign country in the middle of the night, he finally begins to feel comfortable just being himself and embracing the unexpected. This entertaining graphic memoir is a relatable story of self-discovery. Flashbacks to awkward memories are presented in tones of blue that contrast with the full-color artwork through which Santat creates the perfect balance of humor and poignancy. The author’s note and photos offer readers more fun glimpses into his pivotal adventure.

Full of laughter and sentiment, this is a nudge for readers to dare to try new things. (Graphic memoir. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85104-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2022

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