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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants

First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants
Editor: Donald R. Gallo
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN-10: 0763632910
ISBN-13: 978-0763632915

Recommended for grades 7-10

Wow! Eleven well known authors write about the immigrant experience for teenagers. The stories are as different as the countries each immigrant comes from and completely absorbing. There are stories from Cambodia, Korea, Romania, Mexico, Venezuela among others.

Pam Muñoz Ryan's First Crossing tells the story of a young teen boy from Jalisco’s first trip across the border in Tijuana. It’s so heartbreaking. The story tells of the coyotes, how much people pay for the crossing and the dangers involved in doing so. It made me cry.

I loved David Lubar’s story of a Romanian boy that gets sent to Alaska rather than Arkansas with his family as they’ve been told. When his new school friends find out he is from Transylvania, they find new ways of testing him for vampiric abilities. It’s funny, quirky and different.

In My Favorite Chaperone, a girl from Kazakhstan describes the differences in culture and learns to fit in. This one was one of my favorites, especially when she is translating for her parents about her little brother and changes the translation to minimize the trouble her little brother gets into.

I think this is an important book for both the YA crowd as well as adults. The stories promote tolerance, explain the immigrant experience and really do a good job explaining all the very real reasons why people come here.

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