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2 brief Reviews: The immigrant experience in the US

These two books were given to me through my work with the California Global Education Project (we provide professional learning for teachers). Our series is called "Race and Ethnicity: A Global Perspective" and it's been wonderful. We bring in a couple professors from UC Santa Barbara and/or Cal State Fullerton to speak about issues of race and/or ethnicity in different regions of the world (different region each month). We chose three books to give to each participant. I have already reviewed one of the books (One World Two: A Second Global Anthology of Short Stories): and here are my thoughts on these two.

Title: In the Spirit of a Dream: 13 Stories of American Immigrants of Color
Author: Alina Chau and Aida Salazar
Year published: 2021
Category: YA fiction
Pages: 48 pages
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location: (my 2022 Google Reading map)USA

SummaryIn the spirit of a dream, many immigrants of color set out across continents, oceans, and borders, travelling to the United States in pursuit of opportunity. This book is a celebration of 13 American immigrants of color, from world-famous to local heroes, politicians, surgeons, athletes, activists and more.

The biographies include engineer and astronaut Anousheh Ansari; Paralympic athlete and entrepreneur Alejandro Albor; surgeon Ayub Khan Ommaya; jazz musician Candido Camero; dancer Conceiçao Damasceno; Sriracha inventor and businessman David Tran; basketball player Dikembe Mutombo; author Edwidge Danticat; politician Ilhan Omar; comic artist Jim Lee; environmental activist Juana Guttierez; cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and the Undocupoets, a group of undocumented poets.

These stories are told in poems by Aida Salazar and artwork by Alina Chau, Bianca Diaz, Dion MBD, Fahmida Azim, Gaby D'Alessandro, Jose Ramirez, Ken Daley, Nicole Xu, Paulo D. Campos, Rahele Jomepour Bell, Tracy Guiteau, Vanessa Flores, and Yasmin Imamura.

Review: This is a fabulous book full of incredible people who happen to immigrants to the US. Some are famous like Yo Yo Ma and Ilan Omar and some are less known like Alejandro Albor, a paraolympian, originally from Mexico.

The illustrations and poetry that tell each person's story are inspirational, beautiful, and well worth a read. It would be great if every classroom in the US had a copy of this book. It could be used to tell stories, to inspire writings, or to launch a history or geography lesson. Amazon says this book is for 5 to 7 year olds, but I loved it and I am an adult.

Title: America Border Culture Dreamer
Author: Wendy Ewald
Year published: 2018
Category: YA fiction
Pages: 64 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2022 Google Reading map)USA

SummaryIn a unique collaboration with photographer and educator Wendy Ewald, eighteen immigrant teenagers create an alphabet defining their experiences in pictures and words. Wendy helped the teenagers pose for and design the photographs, interviewing them along the way about their own journeys and perspectives.

America Border Culture Dreamer presents Wendy and the students' poignant and powerful images and definitions along with their personal stories of change, hardship, and hope. Created in a collaboration with Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, this book casts a new light on the crucial, under-heard voices of teenage immigrants themselves, making a vital contribution to the timely national conversation about immigration in America.

Review: This book is aimed at 10 years old and up. Again, I am an adult and found it well done. It is, however, an ABC book so younger children will appreciate it more than older ones. Each letter represents a word chosen by an immigrant student and the photograph/artwork that accompanies each letter was designed by the same student. Readers also get the word in their own language, which makes it educational and powerful.

Challenges for which this counts: none

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