Happy Birthday United States on this 4th of July! To celebrate with picture books, I hope you enjoy two picks with an Asian twist. Both families are immigrants from China. The children in each book , like all children of immigrants, straddle between two worlds trying to be “more-American-like-their-friends” while immersed in the culture and traditions from their home country. But what is lovely in both these books is an acceptance that there is no one correct way to celebrate being an American. This is a homage to the United States of America, the great melting pot nation. Happy Birthday!
In this novel by Joseph Bruchac, Jake Forrest leaves his reservation for a posh boarding school in Washington D.C. The two worlds could not be more different, and the only thing in common in the game of lacrosse. But at boarding school, lacrosse is played with a very different attitude than at home.
Paul Neruda’s childhood is the focal point of Ryan’s fictionalized novel. With regard to passion, Paul’s interest and gift for words was not embraced by his domineering and controlling father. His brother’s gift for classical voice was also rejected by their father in an effort to steer his sons into careers in engineering or medicine.
Journey Home is an important Japanese American story about what happened after the Japanese Americans were released from internment camp and this is also Yoshiko Uchida’s own family story about overcoming barriers, perseverance, and ultimately, of forgiveness.
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord is the story of Shirley Temple Wong as she immigrates to America at age 8 and discovers that American is the land of opportunity by learning about baseball, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the great Jackie Robinson. Four other immigrant stories are listed and all books are approrpriate for grades 3-5.