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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

All the Way to America, Dan Yaccarino

I saw this book offered on The Picnic Basket just after I'd read somewhere that someone thought it might be a Newbery award book this year. I was thrilled when the publisher sent me a copy.

The full title is All the Way to America: The Story of A Big Italian Family and A Little Shovel, and I thought it was just delightful.

One thing I really liked about this story was that it was the actual family history of the author, not just a good story about made up people. I loved how he showed the progression of relationships throughout the tale and wove details into the text and the art that reminded you the generations were shifting. But what I loved most was the constant of the shovel that his great-grandfather used in Italy and continued to use when he came across the sea to America, searching for a better life, but never forgetting what he'd left behind. His grandparents then used the shovel in their work, as did his parents, and now so does he. Well, he also uses it for fun in the garden. I thought it was interesting how they showed different uses for the shovel over time. My favorite was when it was used in the store.

This book has bright drawings and even includes some old family photos. I think this will be a wonderful book for opening up discussions of immigrants in America and also discussions of family history. A great picture book to use with older readers as part of a lesson in addition to using with younger readers.

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