Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land

(Author) (Photographer)
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Product Details

$19.99  $18.59
Carolrhoda Books (R)
Publish Date
10.0 X 9.8 X 0.5 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

John Coy is the author of young adult novels, the 4 for 4 middle-grade series, and nonfiction and fiction picture books including Hoop Genius, Game Changer, Their Great Gift, Dads, and If We Were Gone. He has received numerous awards for his work including a Marion Vannett Ridgway Award, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year, and the Burr/Warzalla Award for Distinguished Achievement in Children's Literature. John lives by the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.
Wing Young Huie is a photographer, an author, and the owner of Third Place Gallery in Minneapolis. He is the McKnight Foundation's 2018 Distinguished Artist.


"An attractive and inspiring look at immigration to the United States, sure to spark discussions at home or in the classroom. Coy takes a simple approach with the text, employing only a few words per page, while Wing uses his mostly black-and-white photographs to illuminate the experience of coming to a new country, working hard, making mistakes, and building a new home. The images carry this volume, featuring people of various ages, occupations, and cultural backgrounds. Lacking captions or explanations, the visuals will lead readers to wonder about cultural differences and notice similarities. Coy and Wing describe their ancestors' paths to America in appended notes, and both explain the process of creating this book. Comparable in format to titles such as Global Babies (2007), Maya Ajmera's Our Grandparents: A Global Album (2010, both Charlesbridge), and Rosemary McCarney's The Way to School (Second Story, 2015), this offering puts a human face on a serious issue. VERDICT: An ideal jumping-off place for teachers and parents interested in starting a conversation about a timely topic."--starred, School Library Journal

-- (2/1/2016 12:00:00 AM)

"Cleareyed photography illustrates the modern experience of immigrating to the United States. The simple opening words are immediately familiar. 'My family came here from far away....' American children have long heard the stories of how their strong and courageous forebears built this country. Most immigration stories for the young, however, are told from a single point of view. Author Coy and photographer Huie have taken the opposite approach. Faces of many ethnic backgrounds grace the moving yet everyday images that fill the pages. Asian, African, and Latino people are shown living their lives in their new land, playing, eating, working, and being themselves. Young Asian Boy Scouts stand next to the American flag. An older woman in a headscarf studies for a test. A tall black girl stands on a track surrounded by her blond classmates. Visually, their different-ness is apparent. Yet the words are universal. 'They worked long, hard hours, at difficult jobs....They saved and did without and sent money back.' The result joins the intimate, individual family stories to the universal immigration experience with a love for freedom and the responsibility that it requires. The last question pulls readers back to the present: 'What will we do with THEIR GREAT GIFT?' Both author and photographer include their own family arrival stories in the endnotes. A heartfelt reminder of a significant American ideal."--starred, Kirkus Reviews

-- (1/15/2016 12:00:00 AM)

"Coy (Hoop Genius) and photographer Huie (Looking for Asian America), in his first book for children, deliver a visual smorgasbord that informs young readers--and reminds older ones--how the United States was and continues to be made. Color and b&w photographs of modern-day immigrants appear alongside a spare, poetic text describing their collective experience in a new country. 'They made mistakes and people laughed. Others didn't understand how much they'd sacrificed. They worked long, hard hours, at difficult jobs....They saved and did without/ and sent money back.' The newcomers (mostly Asian, African, and Hispanic) cover a broad range of ages and appear in everyday scenes: children at a school lunch table or Scout meeting; adults learning a new language or working at night. Some stare with expressive eyes, while others mingle and laugh with family and friends. The message is clear: they are us, as they always have been. The final line, 'What will we do with their great gift?' poses a seminal question for citizens already here. Both author and illustrator detail their own ancestors' arrival stories in endnotes."--starred, Publishers Weekly

-- (12/7/2015 12:00:00 AM)

"Immigration has become a controversial topic in recent years, and this collection of striking photos and evocative words brings a warm, human face to an issue too often spoken about in abstract terms. Huie's moving photos capture immigrant families in a variety of contexts--attending school, lounging at home, performing back-breaking labor, laughing with family, blending in with their new communities, and holding onto old traditions--and though there are no captions or explanations, each image carries significant emotional weight. Meanwhile, Coy's words link each page's photos together, emphasizing common experiences of newcomers to this country: 'They made mistakes and people laughed'; 'They kept going day after day so we'd have choices they didn't have.' It's a powerful message beautifully carried out in the marriage of words and pictures, one reminding readers that immigrants are not just brand-new transplants in their neighborhoods; in many cases, they are the progenitors of the majority of American families. A moving, affirming, and important addition to picture-book collections."--Booklist

-- (2/15/2016 12:00:00 AM)