Friday, January 27, 2017

PPBF: Their Great Gift: Courage Sacrifice, and Hope

So for today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Their Great Gift, the immigrant experience,
by John Coy and Wing Young Huie
 Their Great Gift :
Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land

Written by John Coy
Photographs by Wing Young Huie

Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing, 2016
Grades Kindergarten-5, Lexile 530L

Immigration, America, Family, Photography

My family came here from far away . . .

because they dreamed of more.

A moving collection of photographs from the diverse, everyday lives of modern American immigrant families accompanied by spare text illustrating our similarities, differences, struggles, and blessings.

From Kirkus Reviews—
"American children have long heard the stories of how their strong and courageous forebears built this country. Most immigration stories for the young, however, are told from a single point of view. Author Coy and photographer Huie have taken the opposite approach. Faces of many ethnic backgrounds grace the moving yet everyday images that fill the pages. Asian, African, and Latino people are shown living their lives in their new land, playing, eating, working, and being themselves. Young Asian Boy Scouts stand next to the American flag. An older woman in a headscarf studies for a test. A tall black girl stands on a track surrounded by her blond classmates. Visually, their different-ness is apparent. Yet the words are universal. . . .The result joins the intimate, individual family stories to the universal immigration experience with a love for freedom and the responsibility that it requires. The last question pulls readers back to the present: “What will we do with THEIR GREAT GIFT?” Both author and photographer include their own family arrival stories in the endnotes."

What I Love:
This incredible pictorial journey of random American immigrants from every corner of the globe will capture the heart of the reader like no other picture book. Delicate, poetic text focuses on our shared experiences as well as our struggles. Their Great Gift cements the idea that our families and histories, though diverse, bind us together.

Photo courtesy Wing Young Huie
Photos are poignant, speaking of family, tradition, sacrifice.

From the author's website—
Books don’t come out of nowhere. They are born from observations, conversations, research, school visits and, sometimes, from basketball.
As John says, “Wing and I first met each other twenty-five years ago playing basketball and became friends through spending hundreds of hours on the court. When editor Andrew Karre told me that he’d love to do a book with Wing, I leapt at the chance. I’d always wanted to write about my family’s arrival stories and had been researching them for years. I knew of Wing’s interest in immigration and had seen many of his striking photographs. I wrote text that was revised many times as we decided on pictures. While every family’s arrival story is distinct, I wanted to focus on the overarching connections between immigrants—and between us all.”

1. You'll find an interview with both author and photographer on the publisher's website.

2. Family Search posted some useful resources for kids who want to research their family tree, as well as printable forms to get organized.

Recipe at I Love Hawaiian Food Recipes
3. Scholastic offers a look at historical immigration through testimonies and a virtual tour of the Ellis Island facilities.

4. Get the facts about US immigration from the US government website.

5. Get involved. Sites like VolunteerMatch help you find local opportunities to build community like training to be a literacy tutor or volunteering for summer camps.

6. Taste the immigrant experience with some of my favorite dishes from around the world. Lost Recipes Found posted a good Ukranian borscht recipe. Chungah offers an amazing Indian butter chicken recipe for the slow cooker on her blog. El Boriqua details instructions for the perfect pernil.

7. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Patricia
Reviewed by Leslie

Reviewed by Wendy
Reviewed by Joanne

Reviewed by Barbara
Reviewed by Julie

Both Wendy and Patricia recommend I'm New Here, Seeds of Friendship, and My Two Blankets.

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for Friday, January 27, 2017 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.


  1. What a timely selection! This sounds like a wonderful look inside the immigration experience. And slow cooker butter chicken sounds amazing!

    1. I'm all about my slow cooker. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I love books that celebrate diversity and our common humanity. I review a book for MCBD very similar. Such an important theme for future generations that will some day be leaders!

    1. Barefoot books is very involved in the Diversity movement, and their nooks reflect their beliefs. Thanks for your encouragement.

  3. Oh, yes, our young people need books like this. Great and timely choice.

    1. Photography doesn't usually move me like illustration does, but this book was completely captivating. Thanks.

  4. The topic for this week's PPBF as well as your enthusiasm has me anxious to check this book out.

    1. It's not necessarily a book I would have chosen if I hadn't had to read it for the CYBILS, but I am so glad I read it. I hope you can find a copy soon. Thanks.


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