Review: Here I Am

Posted on November 11, 2013

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here-I-am-coverHere I Am
By Patti Kim
Illustrated by Sonia Sánchez
Capstone Young Readers
September 2013
40 pages

When a young immigrant boy arrives in New York City with his family, he is overwhelmed with all the wonder and confusion of such a big city. A closer look at the boy’s pocket reveals a red seed tucked away. For some reason that seed makes him feel really good. Perhaps it reminds him of happier times. Unfortunately the red seed is of no help when it comes to the boy’s struggles with learning the route to his new school and understanding the teacher and the students in the classroom. There are no words for the loneliness and anger he feels. Then one day he accidentally drops the red seed out the tiny apartment window. The seed falls on a little girl’s head. She picks it up and runs away. During the boy’s search for the little girl, his strange new world begins to make “sense.”

Here I Am is a wordless picture book. The story flows in a series of framed drawings, which invoke the feeling of paging through a photo album. Because of this design Sonia Sánchez’s kinetic illustrations stimulate discussion about the boy’s actions and feelings. Patti Kim’s poignant story about emigrating from Korea to America as a child appears in the Dear Reader section at the end of the book to help confirm the reader’s thoughts about what he sees in the pictures. Any child who is faced with a new experience, or helped out a new friend, will find hope and a kindred spirit among these moving images.

Copyright (c) 2013 by Peggy Tibbetts

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Posted in: book review