Here I Am written by Patti Kim, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez

There are wordless books, and then there are wordless books, ones that radiate, ones that deserve a category all their own. Start with mind blowing. Continue with heartbreaking. Leave with possibility. 

Here I Am is at the top of its class. 

It's the story of a Korean boy who immigrates with his family to the United States. 

Having taught ESL learners over the years, I recognize the many layers of emotions portrayed: confusion, loss, fear, anger and hope to name a few. 

I love how street and other signs, while using English letters, are unreadable by everyone. I love that the teacher's voice is written as blah blah blah blah. It helped me connect to this transition. I've traveled to places where my understanding of the language is basic at best, and this is the experience - grabbing a fragment of understanding but never enough to connect the whole. 

The child carries a seed from home to help him remember all that he has left behind. He's afraid to leave the safety of his apartment building. Then he accidentally drops it out the window where it is picked up by a young girl. He is forced to leave his rooms and chase after her. This is a wonderful thing. As a result he discovers the joy in his new neighborhood and even makes a new friend.



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