In this companion story to I'm New Here, three elementary schoolers--who aren't new--begin to understand and embrace three immigrant students.
Anne Sibley O'Brien's passion for multiracial, multicultural, and global subjects grew out of her experience of being raised bilingual and bicultural in South Korea. She is the author and illustrator of many books for children, including I'm New Here, A Path of Stars, After Gandhi, and The Legend of Hong Kil Dong- The Robin Hood of Korea. She is also the author of Abracadabra, It's Spring!, Hocus Pocus, It's Fall!, and In the Shadow of the Sun. Anne lives on an island in Maine.
In I'm New Here (2015), O'Brien told the story of three new immigrants from their perspectives. Here, she tells the same story from the perspectives of the peers who welcome them. Jesse, Jason, and Emma are struggling to connect with their new peers--Maria from Guatemala, Jin from South Korea, and Fatimah from Somalia--who seem so different from them. Jesse, a white boy, sees Maria watching his team play soccer. He wonders if she even knows how to play, thinking, "Our team is already great as it is. I don't want to mess it up." Jason, a black boy, wants to share his comics with Jin, but since Jin can't read or write English, Jason wishes he "had a superpower to help him." Emma, a white girl, tries to explain to Fatimah, who wears hijab, what's happening in class, but Fatimah does not understand. Each student uses a talent of theirs (soccer, writing, and drawing) to connect with their new classmate and make a friend. O'Brien's watercolor-and-digital illustrations again make effective use of white space to positively depict the students who are already "home" moving through discomfort and confusion to welcoming their new classmates. The author includes a note discussing intergroup anxiety, how to overcome it, and strategies for dissolving barriers. Informative and genuine, the book offers much to learn about connecting, expanding understanding, and overcoming differences--a great companion to the previous title.--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In this companion to I'm New Here, O'Brien conveys the
confusing emotions, and how to conquer them, of those who are
already inside a group when someone new arrives. Through three
simple tales, readers see the story of how three different children
formulate their thoughts and figure out how to welcome three new
friends into their class. The text and vocabulary are very simple
and sometimes interspersed with dialogue between characters to show
exactly how one can be welcoming. The watercolor illustrations
assist with the stories beautifully, showing exactly what the
students are doing and how that can sometimes inaccurately
represent their thoughts and emotions. O'Brien has taken great care
in detailing her character's emotions, from nervousness to
happiness, through facial expressions, body posture, and shading.
Together, text and illustration combine to set a great example of
creating connections and welcoming new members into a close-knit
community. VERDICT A great book to help students of all ages
understand how they can welcome new members into their classrooms
--School Library Journal This companion to I'm New Here (2015) focuses on the same new-to-the-U.S. children (Maria from Guatemala, Jin from South Korea, and Fatimah from Somalia), but from the perspective of their classmates...Once the ice is broken, friendships follow. O'Brien's watercolor illustrations portray multi-ethnic teachers and students involved in typical primary-grade activities. Most scenes depict the children involved in specific tasks (organizing a soccer game, sitting at the writing table, creating art), and the use of white space as background highlights the kids and their feelings. Satisfyingly, most of the rapprochement is handled without adult intervention; an author's note for adult facilitators is appended.