The Journey of Immigrants and Refugees
by Jen Sookfong Lee
illustrated by Drew Shannon
Orca Book Publishers, 2021
ISBN 978-1-4598-1899-6 (hc)
$24.95, 114 pp, ages 9 – 12
Vancouver native Jen Sookfong Lee has created an informative and attractive work that is designed to explain the nature of human migration. Most of the work focuses on the Canadian experience of settlement, with more than a dozen personal interviews of new arrivals to Canada interspersed amongst the historical narrative. Young readers will learn the important differences and similarities between refugees and asylum-seekers, as well as the distinctions between stateless and undocumented arrivals. Naturally, the text often deals with colonization and racism, as well as the negative and positive experiences that newcomers may face in their new homes. What is particularly interesting is Lee’s deft use of her own family history. Her dad, who moved to Canada at the age of 15, loved Hollywood movie musicals and styled his hair like Elvis Presley, but immensely enjoyed Chinatown cuisine and the shared culture of fellow Cantonese Canadians.
Classroom Connections: Finding Home has a plethora of illustrations, photos, and informative sidebars. There is also a glossary and nearly four pages of print, video, and online resources followed by a comprehensive index. A perfect acquisition for any school resource centre, Finding Home addresses diversity in Canada and various provincial requirements (in Ontario, for example, the Social Studies Grade 6 Heritage and Identity strand and the Grade 10 Communities, Conflict and Co-operation section in the History curriculum). At the very least, classroom teachers could follow Lee’s example and have students interview recent arrivals to share their personal stories or track their own family’s connection to migration.
Review by George Sheppard.
This review is featured in Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Fall 2022 issue.