Newcomers to America: Stories of Today's Young Immigrants

Newcomers to America: Stories of Today's Young Immigrants

by Judith E. Greenberg
Trough candid interviews and conversations, Newcomers introduces the young faces and voices of some of America's most recent immigrants- young people from El Salvador, Lithuania, Cambodia, Korea, and other lands, who have come here in search of freedom and opportunity.


Trough candid interviews and conversations, Newcomers introduces the young faces and voices of some of America's most recent immigrants- young people from El Salvador, Lithuania, Cambodia, Korea, and other lands, who have come here in search of freedom and opportunity.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Laura L. Lent
Both Kosof and Greenberg focus on the recent wave of immigrants to the United States. Although each writer relies heavily on oral interviews as her primary means of gathering data, and each reaches many of the same conclusions, Kosof's organization and writing style make her book the more useable and interesting of the two. Kosof has visited with immigrants attending different schools across the United States; Greenberg has handpicked fourteen immigrants, all of whom come from different countries and cultural backgrounds. Though their interview selection methods differ, both authors want to discover how today's immigrants compare with past groups. They look at their reasons for coming to America, as well as their experiences since arrival. With a couple of exceptions, both authors ascertain that the newest immigrants encounter many of the same problems and prejudices that past groups have had to overcome. In many instances, the authors similarly conclude that the American educational system continues to provide immigrants with an opportunity for success. Consequently, many of the immigrants' children feel compelled to excel in school so that their parents' sacrifices will not be in vain. Kosof states that recent immigrants are considered a "liability to society" because they "are no longer needed as laborers," a view not inconsistent with the past. In her historical review of the immigration experience in the United States, Kosof asserts that "today's concerns about the immigrants are old concerns. Whenever the economy is in recession, when jobs are scarce, fear of immigrants coming here and taking away jobs from Americans escalates." She points out that immigrants have always come here because there are "seemingly limitless opportunities." It has been a haven for the persecuted and the poor throughout time, and all immigrants believe that although there are many hardships and hurdles to overcome, their children will have better lives here than in their native lands. Likewise, both authors state that although past immigrants tended to come from Europe, the bulk of the immigration population since 1970 has been from far and mideastern countries, like Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam; and from the Caribbean region, Mexico and other Latino countries. Therefore, Greenberg says our population of school age children in the year 2025 will be equally divided among whites and people of color. Besides prejudice due to skin color, Kosof indicates that language is an additional barrier. Many recent immigrants do not speak English at all, but English as a Second Language (ESL) and other bilingual programs are often subjects for debate. One side argues that assimilation would occur sooner if these programs were eliminated, freeing tax dollars for Americans' needs; others claim these programs make the transition for new arrivals easier. Finally, the large number of illegal immigrants has affected the public's perception of immigration, so all are looked at in a negative way. Kosof's clarity and organization makes her book more enjoyable and understandable. Rather than writing interviewees' answers down word-for-word as Greenberg does, Kosof extracts relevant information from the interviews, retelling poignant personal stories. Greenberg's style quickly becomes mundane as the reader wades through all her fourteen people's answers. Greenberg's chapter on the immigrants' favorite native foods is interesting, though it dilutes her original focus. Because the conclusions that both Kosof and Greenberg reach are so similar, I recommend that school libraries buy Kosof's more lucid book. Neither book will bring young adults flocking to read; however, for research and for teens with an interest in the immigrant experience, Kosof's book is clearly superior. Index. Photos. Further Reading. Note: This review was written and published to address two titles: Newcomers to America: Stories of Today's Young Immigrants and Living in Two Worlds: The Immigrant Children's Experience. VOYA Codes: 2Q 2P M J S (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6 UpExcerpts from interviews with 14 Americans who immigrated to the United States as teenagers cover variations on the theme of leaving a homeland and settling into a new country. There are chapters on the journey here, fitting into a neighborhood, surviving at school and job, holding onto one's original culture, and preparing traditional foods. Greenberg lets the subjects themselves point out the hardships and discrimination new citizens have often faced, but emphasizes the benefits and positive aspects of immigration for them and our society. The integration of the individuals' personal accounts and primary source materials adds authenticity, but readers are introduced to so many people from around the world that they will have a hard time trying to keep them all straight. Black-and-white photos show generic scenes and people rather than the particular immigrants presented and portrayed. Finally, the subtitle is inaccurate, as many of these individuals left their homelands years ago and are no longer "today's young immigrants." Alexandra Bandon's Asian American Indians and Dominican Americans (Silver Burdett, 1995) also use case studies to highlight more specific information on the emigration and immigration experience.Janet Woodward, Franklin High School, Seattle, WA
Hazel Rochman
On the bases of her interviews with recent immigrants who came here as teens from across the world, Greenberg talks about the recent wave of immigration. Each chapter begins with a general discussion, followed by excerpts from the 14 interviews. These young immigrants want to remain anonymous (the black-and-white photos in the book are of generic immigrant situations), so it's sometimes hard to determine which of the 14 is talking: is "Anna" the one who . . . ? The documentation is thin, with little beyond the usual "experts agree" and "studies show," and there's only a brief bibliography. What's outstanding here is the diversity of individual voices. Readers will see not only the common experience of living between two cultures but also the differences. There are those who came as refugees and those who came with privilege, those who speak English and those who must learn it, those who feel at home and those who are strangers in their schools and families.

Product Details

Scholastic Library Publishing
Publication date:
In Their Own Words Series
Product dimensions:
6.31(w) x 9.31(h) x 0.59(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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