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This Is Me: A Story of Who We Are and Where We Came From Hardcover – September 20, 2016
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 1—Many children have family members who have immigrated to the United States, and many have had an occasion to fill an overnight bag. Here, a teacher whose great-grandmother came from afar asks her young students to imagine packing a suitcase when you must leave behind most of what you love and care about. "How would you know/in this case what to pack/and that once you had left/there'd be no coming back?" The full meaning of that question and the leap from the experience of a parent or grandparent to oneself are likely to be difficult for the book's audience. While children will relate to the diverse characters' full-of-stuff rooms and the items they choose to pack (dolls, "a first-in-line-ticket" to a Katy Perry show, LEGOs, a camera, a karate gi), their responses undermine the gravity of the question and the plight and flight of many who have come to the United States. Ultimately, the book delivers a positive spin on immigration, while throwing in a few additional messages, including that your suitcase may be "your own history book" but it is not who you are or will be. Cornell's opening watercolor images of an émigré family are rendered in delicate muted sepia tones, while the contemporary scenes blossom into full detail and color. The last spread features a foldout suitcase, ready for the filling. VERDICT Too many messages, delivered in sometimes limp verse, don't do justice to the topics broached.—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal
“[This Is Me] celebrates the diversity of America.” —Booklist
“Kids will find Curtis’ “to know yourself, you must know your roots” message resonant and will be scrambling to fill the pop-up suitcase at the back of the book with items that say to the world, “HI THERE, THIS IS ME!” An excellent springboard for school-age kids to discover who they are and where they come from. ” —Kirkus Reviews
“Jamie Lee Curtis has a knack for simplifying complex topics...and interpreting them in a way children can easily understand...Her latest title, This Is Me: A Story of Who We Are & Where We Came From (Workman Publishing) is about emigration, immigration, and the idea of leaving the old behind for the promise of the new. It’s a celebration of diversity and self, helping young children to begin the process of discovering what makes them unique and what connects all of us together.” —Story Monsters Ink
“To Curtis’ clever, thoughtful verses, Cornell makes sure every page is enhanced with entertainment and education both – from pop culture icons to the surly older teenage sibling to bookish devotions to cultural lessons and beyond. That the book then becomes an introspective, deeply contemplative interactive adventure by the final spread is a gift to every young (and not so youthful, ahem) reader indeed.” —The BookDragon(Smithsonianpa.org)
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Top Customer Reviews
The author, Jamie Lee Curtis, has written another book for children that combines a fun story that the children will take part in, and an educational lesson for us all. One day at school, the teacher shared her story of her great grandmother, and how she came to the United States. She was told to pack a suitcase with her favorite things, she could not take much, and they would not be returning for their other things. This was very difficult. And, then the teacher asked the children what they would bring if they had one small suitcase, what would they choose. Roberto, Shanay, Trey and Kate are just a few of the children, and we see what they chose. When you read this book, you will begin to think about what you would choose.
Parents and other adults will enjoy reading this book to their children. This is the opportune time for the adults and children to discuss where they came from, and what they might choose if they had to leave their homes. This is such a wonderful opportunity to educate our children about immigrants, and why and how other people need and want to leave their home countries. The story is told in rhyme, this is such a fun, lyrical method of reading for adults and children. The illustrations by Laura Cornell are bright, vivid and colorful, and they depict the adventures of children deciding what they would pack if they had to leave home. Empathy and love for each other is so important in this world, and this book is one small start on this journey.
Highly Recommended. prisrob 10-07-16
They are 6 and 4 and they became really really sad. I told them that 16 years ago I packed my suitcases to move to this country. What did that do? Prompt my daughter to ask if I miss my mommy and to ask me if she needs to go away. During the story my son just put his hands over his ears and left. Eventually started crying because the only thing that fits in the cute suitcase at the end in there is one stuffed animal and he would have to leave everything else behind. I'm like - it's pretend!
It's audience must be either older children, less sensitive children or parents who don't mind giving their kids nightmares.
Needless to say this book was a bust for us. They hate it and constantly ask why we aren't returning it to the library.