Shaun Tan evokes universal aspects of an immigrant's experience through a singular work of the imagination. He does so using brilliantly clear and mesmerizing images. Because the main character can't communicate in words, the book forgoes them too. But while the reader experiences the main character's isolation, he also shares his ultimate joy."
My students are in the middle of a unit on Immigration and Race and so one way we have worked towards the goals of our unit was to read this book.
It's nice because it's really accessible to readers of all levels. There are no words, at least no words that anyone in our world can understand. Since students have some background on the immigration process in the U.S., they were able to easily see the different steps in action (especially after learning about Ellis Island, which was where decided to start). We also used this book to talk about settling in a new country and how you begin to find your 'new normal' once you've resolved to settle permanently.
The illustrations are fantastic and highly detailed. This is just a beautiful book that readers of any level and kids and adults of any age can enjoy. It's a great way to begin a conversation about immigration, which so many of us in the U.S. and other countries around the world can find threads of our own stories in.
I give 'The Arrival':