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One Good Thing about America
     

One Good Thing about America

by Ruth Freeman, Kathrin Honesta (Illustrator)
 

It's hard to start at a new school . . . especially if you're in a new country. Back home, Anais 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. Anais misses her family - Papa and grandmother Oma

Overview

It's hard to start at a new school . . . especially if you're in a new country. Back home, Anais 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. Anais misses her family - Papa and grandmother Oma and big brother Olivier because here in Crazy America there's only little Jean-Claude and Mama. So she writes letters to Oma - lots of them. She tells her she misses her and hopes the fighting 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. One Good Thing About America is a sweet, often funny middle-grade novel that explores differences and common ground across cultures. It arrives amidst the prevailing climate of fear and doubt in America. This story of a refugee child restores hope and reminds us that America is, in fact, a nation of immigrants where we must accept our differences in order to survive and that s one very good thing.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2017-02-01
Congolese immigrant Anaïs adjusts to her new home in Maine over the course of one school year.Readers follow her progress in her letters home to her grandmother, who insists that she write in English and enumerate "one good thing about America" every day. Unsurprisingly, her letters feature an English language learner's incomplete command of grammar and spelling; at the end of her first, Anaïs expresses her frustration: "Please let me use le français. I am very tired with English today." Thus encouraging readers' empathy, Freeman goes on to record, in her protagonist's voice, a year that includes many comings and goings at the shelter where she lives with her mother and little brother and in her ELL classroom—but, sadly, not the arrival of her father or older brother, who are in hiding from the Congolese government, a situation that's only vaguely explained to readers but a clear and ever present worry for Anaïs and her family. There are also the usual markers of an American school year: holiday observances, school projects, and friendship ups and downs. ELL teacher Freeman realistically populates Anaïs' classroom with other immigrant children, including a Somali girl and an Iraqi boy, deftly disproving monolithic notions of both Africa and Islam. She expressly writes for an audience of English-speaking and presumably native-born Americans while articulating the hope that "one day soon…my students will write their own stories." A touching if incomplete fictional glimpse at one immigrant girl's experience. (glossary) (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780823436958
Publisher:
Holiday House Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
03/21/2017
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Ruth Freeman teaches English language learners at an elementary school. She is the author of two books illustrated by Cat Bowman Smith, “Bedtime!,” a National Council of Social Studies Notable book, and “Hairdo: What We Do and Did to Our Hair,” which Kirkus Reviews called “a cut above.” She is also the author of two books illustrated by John O’Brien, How Sweet It Is (and Was): The History of Candy and Underwear: What We Wear Under There, voted a Children’s Choice Finalist for 3rd-4th Grade Book of the Year. A native of Pennsylvania, Ms. Freeman now lives in Maine.

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