Newly arrived from their faraway homeland, a boy and his family enter into the lights, noise, and traffic of a busy American city. The language is unfamiliar. Food, habits, games, and gestures are puzzling. They boy clings tightly to his special keepsake from home and wonders how he will find his way. How will he once again become the happy, confident kid he used to be? Walk in his shoes as he takes the first tentative steps toward discovering joy in his new world.
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, Booklist
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