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I IS FOR IMMIGRANTS by Selina Alko Kirkus Star


by Selina Alko ; illustrated by Selina Alko

Pub Date: June 15th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-250-23786-6
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

An alphabet book that celebrates everything that immigrants have brought to the United States, from ambition to Zen.

Each letter of this exuberant and poignant alphabet book is represented by a montage of words and images that include feelings, ideas, and things that people from all over the world have brought with them to their new home. D is for Dreamers (and dreamers), dumplings, diversity, and Day of the Dead. H is for holidays, heritage, hijabs, Holi, Hanukkah, and hope. Y is for yucca, yoga, yogurt, Yiddish, yearning—and “you.” By including both the tangible and the intangible, Alko reinforces the idea that the U.S. is more than just a conglomeration of cultures; it’s a quilt of shared values. The text is hand-lettered in varying sizes, incorporated into the overall compositions, and the accompanying images are painted and collaged with verve, emphasizing a folk-art–like artistic sensibility with saturated colors, bold brush strokes, and found objects. In the concluding author’s note, Alko shares her own immigration story and reiterates that “America isn’t any one thing”—that it is both magnificent and complex. Readers from all backgrounds with have a blast looking for references to their own heritages and finding commonalities. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Vibrant, vigorous, and multifaceted—just like America.

(Picture book. 3-7)