This contemplative, wordless picture book weaves the tale of a young immigrant boy’s first journey to his new home in America. Overcome by the foreign city and its lights, noisiness, alien shapes, and new language—depicted in nonsensical letters and symbols—the boy takes solace in a single red seed pocketed from his past, which he carries with him everywhere and which inspires colorful flights of imagination. When the seed falls out of his brownstone window, he ventures beyond his fear to discover generosity, friendship, and a new beginning, sharing the things about his past that he loves in his new place. Kim’s tale is well wrought without the use of words and tailor-made for emerging readers, and it’s perfectly matched by Sanchez’s truly wonderful, sprawling art and colors, bringing the city to life in an understated yet warm crescendo. Here I Am is a unique, smart, and welcoming book designed for starting fresh and softening fears. Grades K-3. --Ben Spanner
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Vivid illustrations depict a touching wordless story of surprising depth . . . The universal tale of the irony of loss that leads to acceptance and growth is portrayed with a rich yet simple sequence of lively visuals. This is a charming and meaningful book I wish I'd had when my son was young.
--Eugenia Kim, award-winning author of The Calligrapher s Daughter
. . . a marvelous picture book, a motile encapsulation of the turbulent world of a child uprooted from a faraway land, the confusion and sadness of his strange new world. Strongly compelling with powerful and whimsical visuals, young readers will feel deeply for and celebrate with this child as he finds himself burgeoning like a seed upon this beautiful soil called America.
A must read. What a triumph. --Da Chen, New York Times best-selling author of the memoir Colors of the Mountain
A KIRKUS BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR! Beautiful, evocative pictures tell the story of a boy who comes from an Asian land to a big U.S. city. Images in this virtually wordless, slender graphic novel range from dreamlike curlicues to bold, dark cityscapes and emotional vignettes. The boy looks out of the window of a plane, great sadness in his body language. He and his father, mother and baby sister go through a crowded airport and a noisy and bewildering city to a small apartment. He finds the subway and the streets confusing, and he does not understand anything at school. The boy cherishes a red seed he has evidently brought from home. By accident, he drops it out the apartment window and then goes on a frantic search for it, finding new and interesting places along the way. He discovers he loves big, salted pretzels and shares some with the pigeons. When a girl with bouncy braids and beads in her hair climbs a tree and hangs upside down, the red seed falls out of her pocket. She and the boy plant it together, and as the seasons pass, friendship, seed and baby sister grow. An author s note describes the storyteller s voyage at age 4 from Korea to Washington, D.C. Sánchez has captured a kaleidoscope of emotion and powerful sensations in a way children will grasp completely. It s The Arrival for younger readers. STARRED --Kirkus
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