My America
My America

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Annotation: From author and illustrator Karen Katz, My America is a picture book celebration of immigration to the United States tol... more
Catalog Number: #219715
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 0-8050-9012-6 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8414-2
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-8050-9012-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8414-6
Dewey: E
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
Whose America? The title pages are telling. As is the cover art.In this read-aloud, the cover image of a sea of smiling faces in many skin hues suggests plurality (we/our) rather than the singular possessive “my.” Within, colorful spreads evoking early childhood drawings and self-portraits accompany text that poses as first-person narratives, as though real children were rendering their individual experiences. One-dimensional depictions of motives and methods of immigration to “America” result in dichotomies—here/there, then/now—that oversimplify differences and perpetuate stereotypes: Tae speaks of eating rice and kimchee in South Korea versus pizza in New York; Samaira from India informs readers: “I wear a bindi on my forehead.” And does a white child (Anna) asserting “All my family lives here….We have been here a long time” belong in this story centering children who have recently “come to live in America”? Notable absences of Native American and African American descendants—whose families have been here even longer than Swedish American Anna’s—underscore a thematic inconsistency, raising the question as to whose America this picture book, in fact, showcases. These simplistic, reductive representations undo otherwise bold attempts to promote empathy and inclusion. The well-known excerpt from Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus” that acts as inscription on the Statue of Liberty closes the text.Recommended as an exemplary instructional tool for how not to “do diversity.” (Picture book. 5-7)
Publishers Weekly
Katz celebrates America-s immigrant roots with this inclusive picture book, which highlights some of the many cultures and backgrounds that make up the country-s residents. In her bright, textural illustrations, smiling figures represent children who call America home, while the text highlights country of origin and state of residence. Faduma, who moved from Somalia to Minnesota, greets readers with a friendly -Barasho wanaagsan,- while Anna, whose family immigrated to Wisconsin from Sweden in 1895, waves, -Hej.- Other countries of origin include India, Iraq, Mexico, Nepal, and Syria. Katz depicts an array of ages, family structures, and experiences, meaningfully ending the story with an excerpt from Emma Lazarus-s -The New Colossus.- Ages 2-6. (June)
School Library Journal Starred Review
PreS-Gr 1 People have been immigrating to America for many years but we usually only hear accounts from the adult's perspective. This book tells unique and interesting immigration stories from a child's point of view. Readers are greeted by each character in his or her native language, learning each child's name and the country they left. Somalia, Nepal, and India are just a few of the countries represented in this book. Some children explain why they came to this country (to go to school, to find food and shelter, to feel safe, etc.) and how they traveled to America. The details about why they had to leave their home country are mentioned but not delved into deeply. The pages show the children in their homelands as well as their new lives in America. Katz's illustrations are bold and beautiful, and each child is full of expression. Interesting details in these scenes help convey a deeper understanding of their lives. The tender lesson for readers is that people are all alike. VERDICT This is a great addition for any school or library, perfect for story hours or one-on-one readings. Barbara Spiri, Southborough Library, MA
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Immigrant children arrive in the United States from countries around the world, traveling in a variety of ways: on boats, on planes, and in cars. Katz, a prolific and popular picture-book author (Mommy Hugs, 2006; Ten Tiny Babies, 2008) tells of children coming to America from nations such as Somalia, South Korea, Mexico, India, Sweden, and Iraq. Large, colorful, child-friendly illustrations uache and colored-pencil collages that feature a variety of patterns and textures ll the pages from margin to margin. Eight children, representing different cultures, ethnicities, and skin colors, are each given their own double-page spread where they greet readers in their native language, introduce themselves, describe where they are now living, and sometimes explain why they came to America. On the verso, there is a drawing of each youngster's original homeland, their mode of travel, and a picture of where they now live. The recto shows a large illustration of the child dressed in native garb. The book ends with the Emma Lazarus quote that graces the Statue of Liberty. Karen Katz fans as well as those looking for a joyful celebration of America's diversity will be drawn to this book. Simple, easily understood text and bright, clear, engaging pictures will help youngsters understand that America is a melting pot of nationalities.
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Starred Review ALA Booklist
School Library Journal Starred Review (5/1/20)
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: P-2

From author and illustrator Karen Katz, My America is a picture book celebration of immigration to the United States told through the experiences of children who have come from around the world. Children come to live in America from many different countries, and for many different reasons . . . In this beautiful celebration of immigration, children from around the world tell their stories, sharing their love of where they're from and where they live now--homes old and new. As they describe the foods they eat, the languages they've learned, the sports they play, and more, the differences and similarities that link us all are revealed.

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