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Each account is only 2-3 pages, but each provides vivid insights into the struggles and challenges families face when having to begin life over again in a society that not only speaks a different language, but is often critical and prejudiced toward these newest Americans.
Countries from around the globe are represented, from Ethiopia to Latvia, and from Puerto Rico to Fiji. Each teenager is an example of the incredible resiliency of the human spirit. The wisdom of these young immigrants is often profound and surprising. 13-year-old Alexander Collazos moved from Lima, Peru to San Francisco. He writes, "In Peru, people just seem more sincere. When people are walking down the street here [U.S.] they say, 'Hi, how are you?' They really don't care how you are. [...] I feel more at home in Lima. [...] They can say whatever they want on the television about terrorism in Peru, but I feel safer there than here."
This is a great book for anyone, but particularly for teachers and students. Information on each country represented is provided in the margins, as well as a world map and a helpful index. The photos only add to the personal and emotional nature of each student's contribution.
Reading this book has changed some of my preconceived notions about the immigrant experience and has reminded me that people around the world are linked together by the common need to feel safe and accepted, regardless of their language or country of origin.
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These children are unique and live as a remnant. Many claim their Jewish heritage, not only in name but in action.
Over 40 photographs, many full page so you can see the details of how the kids live, the author states in the book's Forward, "In short, they are the true new branches of this great tree of Judaism, and though a branch or two might break and wither, the tree's roots are strong. The tree still stands."
Should be in every Jewish library betweeen Hitler's "Mein Kem" and Kahne's "Never Again". We're back.
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