Who Belongs Here?: An American Storyby Margy Burns Knight, Anne Sibley O'Brien
Who Belongs Here? tells the story of Nary, a young boy fleeing war-torn Cambodia for the safety of the United States. To some of his new classmates, however, he is a "chink" who should go back where he belongs. But what if everyone whose family came from another place was forced to return to his or her homeland? Who would be left? This story teaches compassion for recent immigrants while sharing the history of immigration in America and some of the important contributions made by past immigrants. It is used in schools everywhere for units on immigration and tolerance.
The Who Belongs Here? Teacher's Guide, written by Margy Burns Knight and Thomas V. Chan, offers dozens of imaginative ideas for exploring immigration, refugees, and other topics related to diversity.
Accompanying his story of leaving his homeland and settling in this country is a parallel text, set in italics, that expands some of the ideas presented. Sometimes it provides background information on U.S.
immigration or history; at other times it serves to stimulate discussion, particularly on such topics as intolerance and prejudice.
Notes in the back give additional material on individuals (Pol Pot, Dith
Pran, Dolores Huerta) and concepts introduced earlier. Three-quarters of each double-page spread is covered with brightly colored,
impressionistic pastel illustrations. Unfortunately, the texts do not blend well. Nary's story is choppy; the italicized portions are often superficial and not always relevant. For information strictly on
Cambodian immigrants, consult Nancy Graff's Where the River Runs
(Little, 1993).Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.”
Nary's story, Knight includes information about other refugees and their contributions to the U.S. and challenges readers to confront difficult questions about immigration, racism, and multiculturalism: "What if everyone who now lives in the U.S., but whose ancestors came from another country, was forced to return to his or her homeland?" This book is similar to the author and illustrator's other collaborative effort, Talking Walls
(1992), in that Knight's text compassionately explores the complex issues and O'Brien's full-color pastel illustrations personalize the experiences of Nary and other new Americans. An attractive and telling picture book that provokes a dynamic dialogue about one of the most fundamental questions before our country. Annie Ayers”
Meet the Author
Margy Burns Knight has received the National Education Association’s
Author-Illustrator Human & Civil Rights Award for the body of her work with Anne Sibley O'Brien (Talking Walls and other books) and the
2001 Children's Africana Book Award for Africa Is Not a Country (also illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien). In addition to her work as an author, presenting in hundreds of classrooms around the world, Margy is also a teacher and community volunteer. She is the Service Learning
Coordinator for the Winthrop, Maine, public school system and has taught
English as a Second Language to high school students from Cambodia,
Afghanistan, and Jordan.
Anne Sibley O’Brien has illustrated thirty-one books, including five titles by Margy Burns Knight. She is also the author of fourteen of these books, including The Legend of Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of
Korea, and A Path of Stars.O’Brien’s passion for global subjects was kindled by her experience of being raised bilingual and bicultural in
South Korea as the daughter of medical missionaries. The mother of two grown children, she lives with her husband on an island in Maine.
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