“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Thursday, December 8, 2011

All the Way to America • Picture book

All the Way To America: The Story of A Big Italian Family and A Little Shovel 
written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
Available now  Knopf Books for Young Readers  Ages 5 - 8
The portrait of an Italian-American family from a beloved storyteller.
Story: This is the story of four generations of an Italian American family. It begins with an immigrant who came through Ellis Island with big dreams, a small shovel, and his parents' good advice: "Work hard, but remember to enjoy life, and never forget your family."
Now, many years later, the man's great-grandson, Dan Yaccarino, tells how he succeeded, and how the little shovel has been passed from father to son—along with the good advice.
It's a story that captures the experience of so many American families. One that will have kids asking their parents and grandparents, where did we come from? Tell me your story.
Story behind the story:  Dan has written more than 30 books and earned numerous awards during his nearly 25 years as a published author, and All the Way to America is by far his most personal book to date. It’s his family’s story. Starting with his great grandfather’s immigration from Sorrento, Italy to New York, NY, all the way to his own son, Dan connects the four generations of his family through images, food memories, love of family and history, and a special shovel. The book is dedicated to Dan’s grandmother who was alive to see the sketches and confirm family stories, but unfortunately she passed away before the book was published. The shovel that plays such a pivotal role in the story, is now in Dan’s possession and will one day be in his son’s.

To hear Dan tell his story, watch this interview with him and Vicky Smith, editor of Kirkus Reviews, at the Texas Book Festival:

Can't get enough? Want to know even more?  Read this interview with Dan and John Sellers from Publishers Weekly, check out the teacher's guide, watch the trailer,  tell your immigration story here at the book's blog.

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2011

"A gloriously warm celebration." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★“Folksy and warm, this is a timely reminder that America is a nation of immigrants." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

★"Readers of varied backgrounds will be able to identify with the search for a better life in a new country, the passing along of values and heirlooms, and the addition of new family members. The story will make an excellent family-history discussion starter." –SLJ, starred review
FYI:  All the review copies for this title have been sent.  Please check back and see the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say...


Catherine said...

I received my copy yesterday. It is a wonderful book. I enjoyed the way Dan showed how important family history is. The pictures are gorgeous and help little ones follow the story. I can't wait to use this in my classroom.

I give this a 5!

Catherine Yezak, Special Education Teacher, Marquette Area Public Schools, Marquette, Michigan

Angela said...

WOW. This is a fabulous book. I have an interest in all things immigration and have a nice little text set that I have used with fourth graders. This book would fill a niche previously left blank. I love that it is totally accessible for younger students or older students who need more support. The way that it spans over the generations and is linked all together by the shovel is masterful. This book begs the reader to find out about their own family history as well. Love, love, love it and give it 5 stars!

francie said...

This book is truly beautiful! The story line is excellent, and can definitely be used as a tool in a class setting learning about immigration or family histories. The pictures complement the text and the vibrant colors truly make each scene come alive. I absolutely loved it, and although my grandparents came from a different part of Europe, I felt like I could relate to the story because my own family members have passed down lessons and objects that have been passed through the generations, and I am sure so many other readers will relate to this as well. This book is guaranteed to be appreciated by all who read it. Definitely a 5!

janew said...

I love this book and give it 5 stars for its strong theme, plot line, and accessible language. I've read it many times to a four year-old who has had limited experiences with books and far fewer with positive family relationships. The conversation we have build with each reading and so does her background knowledge about family, travel, places in the US, and so much more. Thank you Dan for another stellar book that opens hearts, minds, and the wonderment of young children!

Tricia C. said...

Just received this book today, and I'm already planning to head to our library so that it can be included in our collection. Our 8th grade history and language arts teachers will definitely use this book in their immigration unit. This straightforward tale makes clear the journey of many of our forebearers and shows their impact on their descendents. I think it will raise questions in the minds of our students about the traditions that may have been passed down in their own families. Wonderful book - 5 out of 5!

PLLoggerR said...

All the Way To America, written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, is a simple story with lots of potential for conversation opportunities. It is really a story of Yaccarino's family, from his great great grandfather's immigration to the US, to today. It speaks about passing traditions on, about family, about change. A wonderful book to use in a wide variety of settings.
A Picnic Basket 4.
Director, Peacham Library

Anonymous said...

Besides just being a heart-warming sotry, this book offers so much to the classroom teacher! As I was reading, I could find uses for a great family story at the early elementary levels all the way to a great addition to a MS/HS study of geneology, immigration, family history, etc. Wonderful book!

I give it a five! For MS/HS social studies/history teachers open to using picture books in the classroom, this would be a great addition to your collection.

Anja Comerford, MLS

Anonymous said...

5 out of 5
I loved the story and how it followed the family of Dan. Heartwarming, easy to follow and a good lesson builder on immigration. I used this book to open a lesson with ELL and English Only students. Great addition to any classroom library.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely book! This family's immigration story is a happy one that many people will relate to. The illustrations were clear and colorful.

Rating: 4

Heather Hart, Branch Librarian
Newport Beach Public Library

Mrs. FB said...

I saw this book offered on The Picnic Basket just after I'd read somewhere that someone thought it might be a Newbery award book this year. I was thrilled when the publisher sent me a copy.

The full title is All the Way to America: The Story of A Big Italian Family and A Little Shovel, and I thought it was just delightful.

One thing I really liked about this story was that it was the actual family history of the author, not just a good story about made up people. I loved how he showed the progression of relationships throughout the tale and wove details into the text and the art that reminded you the generations were shifting. But what I loved most was the constant of the shovel that his great-grandfather used in Italy and continued to use when he came across the sea to America, searching for a better life, but never forgetting what he'd left behind. His grandparents then used the shovel in their work, as did his parents, and now so does he. Well, he also uses it for fun in the garden. I thought it was interesting how they showed different uses for the shovel over time. My favorite was when it was used in the store.

This book has bright drawings and even includes some old family photos. I think this will be a wonderful book for opening up discussions of immigrants in America and also discussions of family history. A great picture book to use with older readers as part of a lesson in addition to using with younger readers.

Anonymous said...

Arrived to our school library on the very day 3rd graders were beginning a unit on immigration. Tied in perfectly - teacher guide was a great addition as well.

Heather said...

My name is Heather and I work for Worth Ave. Group. We’re currently holding a contest for K-12 teachers to win grants for their schools, and iPads or iPods for their classrooms. If you’re interested in participating, feel free to email me or visit the link I’ve posted below.
Have a great day!

Pat said...

It may look like a simple picture book but it's much more. This book is a must have for anyone teaching about immigration. Actually, it's a must have no matter what. A sweet story of one family and their journey to America and how they continued to honor their heritage and traditions. I will use it with third grade but younger students will enjoy it too. The best part - it's about the author's family.

Linda Biondi said...

I received my copy and couldn't wait to share the story with my class. We do an unit on immigration and this fits right in. It's a great link to use with the lesson plan, "Where I Am From" poem. This book sparks an interest in family background and heritage, no matter what grade level.

M. Battista said...

To be honest I requested this book to have an additional title for our library. I didn't expect much since most of the immigrant books we have are either too emotionally charged or just boring. I fell in love with this book. Sweet, yet not too sentimental. It was perfect. The artwork, the story- everything was just right.

Picnic rating: 5
Turlock, CA