Shovel City: All the Way to America
All the Way to America got a lot of internet buzz when it came out earlier this year. And rightly so. Its author is the fantastic Dan Yaccarino, who has written several books we already know and love.
Yaccarino's story, based on his own family's, begins on a farm in Italy. His great-grandfather, Michael, worked the land with his little shovel. Whenhe immigrates to America, his father gives him the shovel. The shovel acts as a generational link through the book as Michael raises his family in New York City. Descendants move to the New Jersey suburbs(!), but then (thankfully) back to the city.
Yaccarino's book is a delight from start to finish. His characteristic graphic illustrations are colorful and full of life. I love his images of Little Italy -- he even includes the Feast of San Gennaro. The skyline is frequently in the distance, reminding us of all the people with similar immigrant stories. The movement from farm to city to suburb and back to city reminds me of the current trend of city resurgence. Mid-century, everyone wanted to move out of the city, but these days the city has regained some of its reputation. In fact, this mirrors my own immigrant family's movement - from the Swedish farm to the City (Minneapolis) to the suburbs (CA) and the my move to the City (NYC).
You're destined to enjoy this one.
Read a thorough review at Jen Robinson's Book Page.
Visit the author's website.
One of our favorite Yacccarino books is Every Friday, which I featured here on Storied Cities.
I reviewed Peppe the Lamplighter, also set in Little Italy, but with a much different feel.
Big Kid says: Little Italy: I've been there.