Here I Am: Newly arrived from their faraway homeland, a boy and his family enter into the lights, noise, and traffic of a busy American city in this dazzling wordless picture book.
Here I Am
Newly arrived from their faraway homeland, a boy and his family enter into the lights, noise, and traffic of a busy American city in this dazzling wordless picture book. The language is unfamiliar. Food, habits, games, and gestures are puzzling.
They boy clings tightly to his special keepsake from home and wonders how he will find his way. How will he once again become the happy, confident kid he used to be? Walk in his shoes as he takes the first tentative steps toward discovering joy in his new world. A poignant and affirming view of the immigrant experience.
About the Author
Patti Kim was born in Busan, Korea. Raised in Maryland on both sides of the tracks. Author of A Cab Called Reliable and Here I Am. Married with kids, but can’t stop writing about her childhood.
A Few Reviews
“Here I Am by Patti Kim and illustrated by Sonia Sánchez is a wordless book yet it tells a complex story of one boy’s immigration, and struggle to make America his home. Because it relies on the reader’s imagination to supply the text, it becomes uniquely personal while remaining a universal story as well.
As a wordless book, the success of the story relies on the quality of the artwork. Sánchez’s complex illustrations succeed. They capture the many emotions and struggles which the boy faces. The story begins with the boy peering out an airplane window. This is not the face of an excited child thrilled to be flying the skies to an anticipated destination. Sadness paints his face. Subsequent illustrations depict signs with random letters. Their message remains gibberish to eyes unfamiliar with English. We follow the boy through his days as he confronts, confusion, loneliness, fear, sadness and isolation. Until he finds a seed which becomes a talisman for possibility, for hope and positivity. Eventually, the seed brings him friendship and a feeling of belonging. In the final illustration, the boy imagines that he sees the words “Here I am.” Now he not only can recognize and read the English words, he realizes that he belongs.
As part of the back matter of the book, the author includes comments that explain the back story which motivated her to write Here I Am. With her family, she immigrated to the U.S. from Korea. This is her personal narrative but it is also more global than that. She writes, “If you are an immigrant or maybe just facing something new and different in your life, I hope my story helps you see that you’re not alone.” Gayle H. Swift