Coming to America: The Story of Immigration

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9780590441513: Coming to America: The Story of Immigration
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Combining warm prose with child-friendly watercolor illustrations, an introduction to the history of immigration to the United States offers young readers a perspective on the heritage that all Americans share.

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About the Author:

Betsy Maestro was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1944. Inspired by her mother, who taught nursery school and went on to be a school guidance counselor and administrator, Maestro always wanted to be a teacher, and in preparation she filled her high school summer vacations with jobs baby-sitting, tutoring, and even supervising playgrounds. She received a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education at Southern Connecticut State College and a Master's degree in Elementary Guidance from the same institution. Maestro taught kindergarten and first grade for 11 years, during which time she became aware of the need for imaginative nonfiction to spark children's interests.

After marrying artist Giulio Maestro in 1972, Maestro decided to try writing herself. Since then the couple has collaborated on more than 50 books for children, all of them picture books, many of them nonfiction and concept books. They have received numerous awards and citations for their work. When she is not writing, Betsy Maestro enjoys reading, cooking, photography, travel, art, and antiques. She and her husband have two children and live in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

From Booklist:

Ages 5^-9. The sentiments of this picture book celebrate America's rich diversity as a nation of immigrants, and the history is inclusive; but the determinedly upbeat message is overdone, especially in the illustrations, which exaggerate folksy culture, beads-and-feathers kind of costuming, festive foods, and gleeful holiday togetherness. Diversity is enriching, and it's who we are, but few Americans will recognize this cute idyll. The history is better. Maestro begins with the first nomads, the American Indians, and does mention that Indians were later pushed off their land. She also notes that millions of Africans were forcibly brought to the Americas as slaves. She describes the successive waves of people who have come here through the centuries: why they left their homes, how they journeyed, what their hopes were, how they settled, and how today's new immigrants continue to come in search of a better life for themselves and their children. It's in the present scenes that the style lapses into sermonizing about "the growing appreciation and understanding of the special character and unique contributions of each cultural or ethnic group" --hardly picture-book text. But the history is a useful introduction. Hazel Rochman

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Publisher: Scholastic, 1999
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