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Friday, April 21, 2017

One Good Thing About America with Ruth Freeman [Blog Tour]

Welcome to Day #10 of the One Good Thing About America Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of One Good Thing About America by Ruth Freeman (3/14/17), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Ruth and 10 chances to win a copy of One Good Thing About America, as well as a chance to win a Skype visit with Ruth in the Grand Prize Giveaway!

Books for Further Reading about Immigrants and Newcomers by Ruth Freeman
I would love to share with you some wonderful books about what it means to be new in America. This is in no way a complete list, and they are not in any particular order. They are books I have come across and that are favorites of mine.
For a much longer list of titles (arranged by topic and country), visit the I’m Your Neighbor website at:
My Two Blankets by Irene Kobald and Freya Blackwood
What I especially like about this sweet story is the way the illustrator has drawn how the newcomer first hears English. There are streams of symbols and shapes coming out of people’s mouths, not sounds. A new friend teaches her words and she begins to feel at home. At the end she comes to know that no matter where she is she will always be herself. I love this book!
Joseph’s Big Ride by Terry Farish, art by Ken Daley
A boy who comes to America from a refugee camp desperately wants a bike, and the girl in his neighborhood has one. Her name is Whoosh because she goes by so fast. Will the boy find a way to befriend her and get a ride on the bike? The big, bold illustrations help tell this wonderful story.
I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien
Three new students from three different countries are at a new school. With simple language (good for ELL students!), we follow them as they find friends and ways to shine in their new school.
My Name is Sangoel by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed, illustrated by Catherine Stock
A boy is determined to keep his African name but students at his new American school can’t pronounce it. He finds a clever way to help them learn his name.
Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey by Margriet Ruurs, artwork by Nizar Ali Badr
A beautiful and poignant story, told in English and Arabic, of one family’s journey to escape the war in their country. While the country is not named, the amazing illustrations are by a Syrian sculptor. Each picture is a collage of polished stones bringing to life the people and burdens they carry on their backs as they walk to a new life. The sadness of saying goodbye, the bombs and lives lost at sea are balanced carefully and sensitively with the hopes and dreams for peace in their new home.
The Journey by Francesca Sanna
This story, with its stunning illustrations, begins with a family building sandcastles on a beach. But the waves turn black. War is coming. Soon, on a page almost completely black, “the war took my father.” The mother and two children escape and begin their journey to “a country far away with high mountains.” By car, van, delivery truck, bicycle and finally on foot, leaving more and more of their possessions behind, they arrive at a border and are turned away. There is a narrow escape and a sea to cross. The story ends while they continue to travel on to “a home where we can be safe and begin our story again.” A powerful story.
I Am America by Charles R. Smith, Jr.
We love having this nonfiction book in our ELL room at school because the photographs are so much fun to look at and the text is simple enough for our students to read. At the same time, it is thought provoking for our older students. What does it mean to be “rhythm,” “big, baggy jeans,” or  “candy cane sticks?”
For older readers, here are a few middle-grade novels:
Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Judy Pedersen
I read this book several years ago with a diverse class of middle-schoolers. It is truly a wonderful story of a bunch of neighbors coming to know each other around a community garden. There is something for everyone here because each chapter is told from a different point of view: young, old, immigrant, black, white.
The Good Braider by Terry Farish
 A beautiful story told in free verse of a Sudanese girl learning to make a new life in Maine. She navigates the snow, high school, a culture where girls can go out with boys, while balancing the wishes of her more traditional mother. A story that will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page.
Lowji Discovers America by Candace Fleming
Lowji is a great kid, funny, upbeat and determined to make his way in America, even if it is summer and he can’t find any kids to play with. He makes things happen! And he somehow finds a way to get what he wants, like a dog. Along the way, he meets an assortment of characters in his town and causes lots of commotion. A fun book!
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
It is 1975 and 10-year-old Ha has to flee Vietnam with her family. Told in verse, the story follows Ha for a year as she and her family escape from Saigon and board a ship that takes them to America. Then they have to adjust to their new home in Alabama. A Newbery Honor Book and a winner of the National Book Award.
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate
In this touching book, Kek comes from Africa where he lived with his family but only he and his mother have survived. Now she's missing, and Kek has been sent to a new home in Minnesota where he sees snow for the first time. Slowly he makes friends with a girl in foster care and an old woman who takes him on to help with the cow that reminds him home. Very moving.

Today is the last day of the tour! Stop by the other blogs below for more chances to win!
Blog Tour Schedule:
April 10th – Geo Librarian April 11thLate Bloomer's Book Blog April 12th Mrs. Mommy BookNerd April 13thKristi's Book Nook April 14thLife Naturally April 17th – Books My Kids Read April 18th – Chat with Vera April 19th Word Spelunking April 20th – Middle Grade Mafioso April 21st – The Hiding Spot
Follow Ruth: Website | Facebook Publisher: Holiday House
ONE GOOD THING ABOUT AMERICA is a sweet, often funny middle-grade novel that explores differences and common ground across cultures. It's hard to start at a new school . . . especially if you're in a new country. Back home, Anaïs was the best English student in her class. Here in Crazy America she feels like she doesn't know English at all. Nothing makes sense (chicken FINGERS?), and the kids at school have some very strange ideas about Africa. Anaïs misses her family . . . so she writes lots of letters to Oma, her grandmother. She tells her she misses her and hopes the war is over soon. She tells her about Halloween, snow, mac 'n' cheese dinners, and princess sleepovers. She tells her about the weird things Crazy Americans do, and how she just might be turning into a Crazy American herself.
About the Author: Ruth Freeman grew up in rural Pennsylvania but now lives in Maine where she teaches students who are English language learners, including many newly arrived immigrants. She is the author of several acclaimed nonfiction picture books. One Good Thing About America is her first novel.

  • One (1) winner will receive a signed copy of One Good Thing About America for their personal collection, as well as a 30 minute Skype visit with Ruth Freeman to the school of their choice and a signed copy for the school's library.
  • Enter via the rafflecopter below
  • US Only
  • Ends 4/23 at midnight ET
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