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Fats here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2016 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.




Text by: John Coy
Photographs by: Wing Young Huie
Published by: Carolrhoda Books (2016)
ISBN: 978-1-46778-054-4
“The interaction of disparate cultures, the vehemence of the ideals that led the immigrants here, the opportunity offered by a new life, all gave America a flavor and a character that make it as unmistakable and as remarkable to people today as it was to Alexis de Tocqueville in the early part of the nineteenth century.”
— John F. Kennedy, A Nation of Immigrants


Both descended from immigrant families, author John Coy and photographer Wing Young Huie teamed up to create this beautiful book that pays tribute to the immigrant experience. It begins with a line that encapsulates the arrival stories of immigrants: My family came here from far away… because they dreamed of more.


Coy’s simple and lyrical text is juxtaposed with stunning photographs by Huie. This book may be a short read but I think it did a great job presenting a collective immigrant experience. It speaks a language that every immigrant can relate to.


“Their journey was long and difficult, and when they arrived,
they didn’t know the language or how to do certain things…
They shifted between languages, between cultures, between places.”

Their Great Gift talks about the sacrifices that immigrants have made since their arrival in the United States. Whether at work or in school, immigrants have taken the extra mile to provide for their families. They are sometimes misunderstood or laughed at for being different but they never give up and manage to pull through. I like that the book recognizes the struggles of immigrants and celebrates their courage through words and pictures. It’s a short but thought-provoking read.


3 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Celebrating the Immigrant Experience in “Their Great Gift”

  1. I just shared another book by John Coy, and know this one, Fats. It’s terrific, and moving! One of my dental hygienists years ago was an immigrant from Ireland, decided to move here at the age of 18. Her story was an inspiration, & I couldn’t imagine what it was like to arrive knowing no one, with little education. She worked at any job, she told me, saved and saved, then went to school to become a hygienist. Thanks for sharing this book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fats Suela

      I always find immigrant stories fascinating! I’m an immigrant myself and it was a challenge being the new person in a strange land. I’m lucky to find jobs wherever I go. I have my own share of struggles but I’m sure other immigrants have been through worse and survived! I’d love to check out other books written by John Coy!


  2. Pingback: “Home Life” – A Glimpse into North American Life in the Nineteenth Century – Gathering Books

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