Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy, everyone shares wonderful non-fiction picture books. Here are two must-haves that share the challenges of being an immigrant.
The story of John Goy and Wing Young Huie's collaboration started years ago on the basketball court. They played on a team for a long time. When an editor said he'd like to do a book with Wing's photos, Goy leapt at the chance to work with his friend in another way, and they began to create. Using a path with Wing's photos taken for a long time, Goy began to weave words around them. Both tell the stories of their own families in the back matter. This story is told with few, but telling words, like "My family came here from far away. . .because they dreamed of more." and "They gave advice: 'Work hard.' 'Do well in school.' 'Never give up.' And even more inspiration comes from the pictures, many many pictures showing hardship, persistence, talent, and joy. The book brings a connection to what we all want to have in our lives: safety for ourselves and for family, a chance to make a living, a chance to "be" something.
Saya's mother is sent to an immigration detention center, needing proper papers. Saya is so very sad, and misses the bedtime stories from her mother. Dad finds a way for the mother to make tapes for Saya, telling and singing stories based on the old folk stories from Haiti. One night, Dad tells Saya that she could write her own story too, and she does. He decides to send it to a reporter, who writes the story for the newspaper, and many people come forward to support this family. The mother gets to go home to her little Nightingale while she works to get official papers. The author's note shares that she too was separated from her parents for years who lived in the U.S. while she and her brother lived with an aunt and uncle in Haiti. She continues to share more about the sadness of so many children separated, give the figure of 70,000 parents who have been jailed and separated from their children, then deported in recent years. The book was published in 2015. The illustrations remind me of extraordinary folk art images, just as the cover shows.