America, My New Home

America, My New Home

by Monica Gunning, Ken Condon
     
 

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From her Caribbean island birthplace, a young girl carries a dream and journeys to a new land that is at once puzzling, frightening, and inspiring. In twenty-three compelling poems, Jamaican-born poet Monica Gunning tells her immigrant's story with gentle humor, grace, and a child's sense of wonder. She desribes a place where skyscrapers, rather than the moon,

Overview

From her Caribbean island birthplace, a young girl carries a dream and journeys to a new land that is at once puzzling, frightening, and inspiring. In twenty-three compelling poems, Jamaican-born poet Monica Gunning tells her immigrant's story with gentle humor, grace, and a child's sense of wonder. She desribes a place where skyscrapers, rather than the moon, light the night; where people dress in woolens, ready for snow; where no one knows your name. Yet this same place offers exciting treasures: dizzying amusement park rides, stirring symphony concerts, flashy circus performers, towering cathedrals, and captivating art museums that speak to those who linger. Above all, this new land is place where "hope glows, a beacon / guiding ocean-deep dreamers / from storm surfs to shore."

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Moving is a frightening experience no matter how old you are. Moving to a new country is even more so. The main character of this story is a young girl whose family has moved from Jamaica to a large American city. While she is in awe of her new country, she misses her homeland terribly. She tells her story in a series of poems. Some of the poems are filled with joy, like her first trip to Washington, D.C. Others show her fear of living in such a big place. One of the best poems in the book, "Alone at Night," describes the girl's terror when she is forced to stay in her apartment alone while her mother works. Novels that are told in verse have become very poplar with adolescents. This book is a good introduction to that genre. The poems themselves are easy to read, yet filled with imagery. They can be taught as individual poems if that better suits the lesson. The storyline is also easy to follow and very interesting. It is a book that teachers will love to use in class, and students will be willing to read on their own. 2004, Boyd's Mill Press, Ages 6 to 10.
—Heather Robertson
Kirkus Reviews
Jamaica-born Gunning turns from her previous offerings of Caribbean poems to these free-verse and rhyming poems about the immigrant experience. They are told from the point of view of a young girl, who, after arriving in a large city, pronounces, "I'm one more unknown face." Referencing New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., she finds that neon lights, hustle and bustle and strangers replace moonlight, a slow pace and a friendly greeting. Her loneliness and fear turn to wonder when she experiences her first symphony, cathedral, library, circus, museum and snowfall. Complemented by colorful chalk-and-oil pastels, the poems speak to anyone new to this country, or, as in "Alone at Night," in which the girl must stay home alone while her mother goes to school at night, to children who have ever felt afraid or helpless. They also offer hope and show that change is okay and even welcomed. An attractive, thoughtful addition to poetry collections. (Poetry. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781629791715
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
01/01/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
32
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
7 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

A former elementary teacher, Monica has written several picture books for children, Perico Bonito, a bilingual book, and The Two Georges, a bilingual ABC book. Her latest work is Not a Copper Penny in Me House, an illustrated book of her poems, an NCTE Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts. She earned a bachelor's degree from City University in New York City, and a master's degree from Mount St. Mary's in Los Angeles. Monica was named one of the Outstanding Elementary Teachers in the U.S. and is a member of a number of organizations devoted to children's literature. The mother of two sons, Monica is originally from Jamaica, West Indies. Who am I? "In the sixth grade, many years ago, I won the school's poetry contest for writing a poem entitled 'My Garden.' But my dream to be a writer lay dormant a long time. During a sabbatica lfrom teaching, I took a course in Children's Literature at Mount St. Mary's College and met several authors. In conversation, I realized there were stories in my head waiting to be put on paper."
Ken Condon, whose illustrations have been published in many different magazines and corporate publications, is the illustrator of three children's books: Sky Scrape/City Scape: Poems of City Life, selected by Jane Yolen; When a City Leans Against the Sky by Allan A. De Fina; and America, My New Home by Monica Gunning. He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife, daughter, and two kitties.

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