BOOKS

Book cover of From Far Away
From Far Away
Robert Munsch and Saoussan Askar, illustrated by Rebecca Green. Annick Press, 2017. 32 pages, $18.95
*****
Reviewed by Lindsay Freedman

From Far Away, written by Robert Munsch and Saoussan Askar with art by Rebecca Green, is a picture book based on Saoussan’s experience as a child immigrating to Canada from a wartorn country. The book starts with dialogue about being shot at, having no food and hearing big booms that cause the roof of Saoussan’s family’s home to fall off. These experiences result in her family leaving their home. Saoussan’s initial school experiences are difficult. Because of the language barrier, she doesn’t understand what her teacher is saying and when kids try to talk to her, she can’t answer. Saoussan feels frustrated and isolated.

This book contains some great insight into the experiences students may have when they are beginning life in a new country and a new language. Saoussan describes how she would crawl out and back into the classroom to go to the washroom when the teacher wasn’t looking because she didn’t know how to ask. Another time she saw a paper skeleton in the hallway and thought it was evil. She notes she thought people were going to start shooting each other here, which caused her to scream. She had nightmares about skeletons at school and told her father she didn’t want to go back.

He reassured her that people here do not shoot each other.

Once Saoussan learned English she began to make friends and school started to be fun. She states in the book that she is now in Grade 2, the best reader and speller in the class; the teacher complains that she is never quiet.

From Far Away talks beautifully about experiences of immigration from a child’s perspective. This would be a great book to add to a language arts program or simply use to educate students about immigration and life in a new language. From Far Away can be embedded throughout the curriculum, specifically focusing on equity, citizenship and social justice. This book would be appropriate for junior and intermediate levels.

Lindsay Freedman is a member of the Peel Teacher Local.

MORE BOOKS

Cover of School Days Around the World by Margriet Ruurs and Alice Feagan
Margriet Ruurs and Alice Feagan. Kids Can Press, 2015 40 pages, $19.95
Cover of Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War by Jessica Dee Humphreys and Michel Chikwanaine, illustrated by Claudia Davila
Jessica Dee Humphreys and Michel Chikwanaine, illustrated by Claudia Davila. Kids Can Press, 2015 48 pages, $18.95
Cover of Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth. Triangle Square, 2015 160 pages, $17.29
Cover of The Art of Possible
Edward Keenan, illustrated by Julie McLaughlin. Owlkids Books, 201563 pages, $17.95
Cover of Classroom Routines for Real Learning
Jennifer Harper and Kathryn O’Brien. Pembroke Publishers, 2015128 pages, $24.95
Cover of I Can Dance My Feelings
Hannah Beach. Tournesol Dance, $139.95 (set of six), $24.95 (individual book)
Cover of book A Brush Full of Colour
Katherine Gibson and Margriet RuursPajama Press, 201440 pages, $22.95
Book Cover of Intentional Talk: How to Structure and Lead Productive Mathematical Discussion
Elham Kazemi and Allison Hint. Stenhouse Publishers, 2014, 168 pages, $25.95

Pages