“Here I Am” and Immigration-Themed Resources
Learning to live in a new country is challenging. For a young person, this is especially true. In Here I Am, a nearly wordless picture book (story by Patti Kim, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez), a young boy and his family move from rural Korea to urban United States. His first experiences of English are captured in garbled street signs and most amusingly in the blablabla and blabblabbla of his classroom. Everything in the city is strange. He carries a seed from Korea in his pocket. He dreams and daydreams of his old home and familiar ways. And his unhappiness is intensified by his family’s enthusiasm. Only after he drops his seed out an apartment window does he begin to explore his new neighborhood and make friends.
Here I Am can be used in K-5 social studies, language arts, and arts classes. It can introduce a social studies unit on the immigrant experience. It can serve as a model storyboard for narrative writing. And the traditional and digital techniques used in creating the illustrations can serve as models in art.
Scholastic offers a large collection of immigration lessons, narratives, and other resources for PreK-12 in Immigration: Everything You Need.
Two narratives focus on the experiences of a Polish boy and a Chinese girl. Relive a Boy's Journey is a firsthand account describing eight-year-old Seymour Rechtzeit’s arrival at Ellis Island in 1920 and Angel Island: Li Keng Wong's Story describes a seven-year-old girl’s arrival in San Francisco in 1933.