Monday, December 10, 2007

The Arrival
By Shaun Tan
Most enjoyed by 4th grade and up

The other day, I posted about one of two amazing books on Zion's library shelves this year. The first was ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’ by Brian Selznick. The second title, and today's feature, is ‘The Arrival" by Shaun Tan.

Imagine leaving your home and family to live in a new country in search of a better life. In the new country, you must find a place to live and a job. You know no one. The food is different. The people are not always friendly. You don’t speak the language. You don't know how to get places, can't read road signs, and rely on the kindness of total strangers. Yet you want to survive in this land that promises so much. Along the way, you make mistakes, miss your homeland and make new friends, many who are making the same journey as you.
Now imagine telling your story, but using only pictures. How do you show people your feelings - the fear, the kindness of strangers, the frustration, the homesickness? Shaun Tan is able to convey all of this through his wonderful artwork. While some might call this a graphic novel, it really isn't. It's an art book that happens to portray the story of a immigrant in a way that makes it meaningful to anyone. Even those of us who have never left America to travel to a new country can share the main character's experiences.
This is not a book to be picked up, read, and set down. You'll want to keep coming back to it over and over. Each time, you'll see, and feel, something new.

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