Sunday, April 10, 2016

All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel

All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel by Dan Yaccarino is a cute story about immigration and family. Yaccarino writes about his family's history, starting with his great-grandfather and his decision to leave Italy for America. When his great-grandfather, Michele (renamed Michael upon his arrival in the USA) leaves his native country of Italy, his parents give him a small shovel. This shovel ends up playing an important role in each generations' lives and careers. For example, Michael uses it to measure out dried fruit and nuts. Later, his son uses the same shovel to measure out beans, noodles, and olives. This son passes the shovel onto his son, Mike, who uses the shovel to spread rock salt. Ultimately, the shovel ends up in the author's hands, who chooses to use it to grow a garden on his family's small terrace.

I would use this book to introduce the idea of immigration and different family structures, cultures, and values. Although the book holds no dialogue and has a very basic story-line, the reader is drawn to the characters through the vibrant illustrations and steadfast family values. This book would be great for showing younger students in primary grades that although we all may look different and have different backgrounds, family is a constant in everyone's life in one way or another.

Here is a book trailer for the book:

1 comment:

  1. I was drawn to this post because the illustrations were so unique. I just love the depictions! I think it might also be a great book to use at the beginning of the year to start a project about family traditions. It could be fun to have students talk to family members about whether they also have an item (or a recipe, etc) that has been passed from family member to family member. It's amazing how much students can learn about their families from projects like this one! ('s comment - it wouldn't let me sign in!)