Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land
by John Coy and Wing Young Huie
World-wide Book Release Party!
John Coy and Wing Huie met on the basketball court 25 years ago and became friends, spending countless hours together in a weekly pick up game. Since then John, a writer, and Wing, a photographer, independently authored more than a few books (John way more than Wing). And now, for the first time, they have carried their teamwork from the basketball court to the printed page (Lerner/Carolrhoda).
Join us for an evening of conversation of arrival stories, book making, writing, photography, and maybe basketball.
Clear-eyed photography illustrates the modern experience of immigrating to the United States. The simple opening words are immediately familiar. “My family came here from far away….” American children have long heard the stories of how their strong and courageous forebears built this country. Most immigration stories for the young, however, are told from a single point of view. Author Coy and photographer Huie have taken the opposite approach. Faces of many ethnic backgrounds grace the moving yet everyday images that fill the pages…The result joins the intimate, individual family stories to the universal immigration experience with a love for freedom and the responsibility that it requires.
Coy (Hoop Genius) and photographer Huie (Looking for Asian America), in his first book for children, deliver a visual smorgasbord that informs young readers-and reminds older ones-how the United States was and continues to be made. Color and b&w photographs of modern-day immigrants appear alongside a spare, poetic text describing their collective experience in a new country…The message is clear: they are us, as they always have been. The final line, “What will we do with their great gift?” poses a seminal question for citizens already here.
Immigration has become a controversial topic in recent years, and this collection of striking photos and evocative words brings a warm, human face to an issue too often spoken about in abstract terms…It’s a powerful message beautifully carried out in the marriage of words and pictures, one reminding readers that immigrants are not just brand-new transplants in their neighborhoods; in many cases, they are the progenitors of the majority of American families. A moving, affirming, and important addition to picture book collections.
– Sarah Hunter, Booklist
An attractive and inspiring look at immigration to the United States, sure to spark discussions at home or in the classroom. Coy takes a simple approach with the text, employing only a few words per page, while Wing uses his mostly black-and-white photographs to illuminate the experience of coming to a new country, working hard, making mistakes, and building a new home…Lacking captions or explanations, the visuals will lead readers to wonder about cultural differences and notice similarities.
-Jennifer Wolk, Beaverton City Library, OR (School Library Journal)