Monday, March 28, 2011

All the Way to America

“Work hard, but remember to enjoy life, and never forget your family.” Dan Yaccarino's newest picture book tells the story of four generations of his own family's history. Using a family shovel as the connecting link, an Italian family begins a new life in New York City. Michael (formerly Michele Iaccarino of Sorrento, Italy) uses his father's shovel as he works in a bakery. The shovel passes to his son who becomes the owner of a market and uses the shovel to measure out beans, macaroni and olives.

The influence of family, hard work and enjoying life are sprinkled throughout the narrative. Each generation becomes more “American,” but never loses their heritage. From family recipes to work ethics, the Yaccarino family’s strength and character moves from generation to generation.

This wonderfully told story with classic Yaccarino illustrations, causes readers to wonder. Where did my family come from? What family treasure have we passed from father to son or generation to generation? What family recipes and traditions do we have that came from past generations? Like the author, when students tell their own stories, they will have to edit. Read an interview from Publisher’s Weekly for the inside scoop.

In just a few minutes, librarians and teachers can use this book as a starting point for immigration units or for teaching narrative writing. Go to for teachers to find ready to use teaching guides. This new-for-2011 may be just the book you need- even if you don’t have a family shovel.

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