A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Bobbie Ann Mason (In Country) and Robert Bender (Lima Beans Would Be Illegal).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Charles G. Shaw (1892-1974), It Looked Like Spilt Milk; Louisa Shotwell (1902-1993), Magdalena; Elizabeth Marie Pope (1917-1992), The Perilous Gard; Joan Chase Bowden (1925â€“2010), Candy Claus.
- Itâ€™s Mother Goose Day, to appreciate nursery rhymes of yore. Read My Very First Mother Goose and Here Comes Mother Goose, both edited by Iona Opie, illustrated by Rosemary Wells.
- Itâ€™s also School Principalâ€™s Day. Read Report to the Principalâ€™s Office by Jerry Spinelli, A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech, illustrated by Harry Bliss, and Mr. Lincolnâ€™s Way by Patricia Polacco.
On May 1 we celebrate a relatively new holiday, Immigration Day. Except for Native Americans, the United States is a nation of immigrants; consequently, hundreds of books for childrenÂ present the experience of our ancestors from different perspectives. ButÂ none enable readers to experience the emotions of an immigrant to a strange country as brilliantly as Shaun Tanâ€™s The Arrival.
In thisÂ graphic novel readers follow the story, presented without words, of a lone immigrant, who leaves his wife, daughter, and home, and travels by steamship to a new land. Huddled together with other passengers, he eventually sees his destination, but everything looks bizarre. Even the pets look like they might best be avoided. The language used on buildings and signs perplexes both the immigrant and the reader. Eventually he obtains a job hanging posters, but turns them upside down until corrected. Since the reader is always viewing the scene from the immigrantâ€™s eyes, he or she experiences this strange new land just as the man does.
With kindness from strangers and his own determination, the man makes his way through this surreal landscape and manages to piece a life together. Finally, in an emotional double-page spread, the family is reunitedâ€”they are shown as small specs in a large, overwhelming world. This entire saga has been rendered in sepia-colored drawings in panels of varying sizes. The drawings dictate the pace and emotional impact of the story: the small panels move the action forward; the single or double-paged panels cause the reader to pause.
The Arrival allows viewers to imagine visually how the world appeared to immigrant ancestors, and it unfolds history in an immediate and striking way. Some fifth through eighth grade teachers have integrated the title into immigration units; others have pulled the book into writing classes, so students can tell their own interpretation of the story. Since the entire narrative occurs in the art, there are as many versions of what is happening as there are readers. Like Art Spiegelmanâ€™s graphic novel Maus, The Arrival can be appreciated both for its artistry and for its social and political content.
If you have missed the books of Australian genius Shaun Tan, who in the last two months has won both an Oscar and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, often called the â€śNobel Prize for Childrenâ€™s Literature,â€ť run, do not walk, to the nearest bookstore or library to pick up The Arrival.
Hereâ€™s a page from The Arrival:
Originally posted May 1, 2011. Updated for .