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The Matchbox Diary

The Matchbox Diary

Author:
Series: Cultural Heritage, Immigrant Stories
Genres: Fiction, Picture Books
Tags: Ages 5-8, Ages 8-12
ASIN: 0763676381
ISBN: 0763676381

The Matchbox Diary: When a little girl visits her great-grandfather, she asks about the collection of matchboxes harboring objects she can hold in her hand, each one evoking a memory.

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About the Book

The Matchbox Diary

When a little girl visits her great-grandfather, she asks about the collection of matchboxes harboring objects she can hold in her hand, each one evoking a memory.

Together they tell of his journey from Italy to a new country, before he could read and write: the olive pit his mother gave him to suck on when there wasn’t enough food; a bottle cap he saw on his way to the boat; a ticket still retaining the thrill of his first baseball game.

About the Author:

Paul Fleischman grew up in Santa Monica, California, the son of children’s book author Sid Fleischman. Drawing on history, music, art, and theater, his books have often experimented with multiple viewpoints and performance. He received the Newbery Medal in 1989 for JOYFUL NOISE: POEMS FOR TWO VOICES, a Newbery Honor Award for GRAVEN IMAGES, the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction for BULL RUN, and was a National Book Award finalist for BREAKOUT. He lives on the central coast of California. Learn more about him here.

A Few Reviews:

“Instantly engrossing, free of self-pity, and resonant with resilience and gratitude . . . A powerful introduction to the American immigrant story.” — Publishers Weekly 

“A sweet story, illustrated alternately in gauzy color for the pictures of the girl and the old man, sepia-toned images for the olden days…” —The New York Times Book Review

“Writing entirely in dialogue, Fleischman employs a natural and believable matter-of-fact tone that provides a fresh view of the immigrant experience, as the humble objects and their stories form the beginning of a loving bond between the little girl and her great-grandfather. Ibatoulline’s illustrations, done in acrylic gouache, are extraordinarily detailed and expressive. Modern scenes appear in warm, amber-toned colors, while framed sepia vignettes depict past memories as if part of a family album. Captivating and powerful.” —Kirkus Reviews 

“Small-scale objects tell a large-scale, European coming-to-America story in this beautiful offering from two celebrated children’s book creators…An excellent title for sharing and discussion, this will resonate with the many kids who will recognize how small, ordinary things can become treasures.” —Booklist 

“Fleischman’s voice for the girl’s great-grandfather is instantly engrossing, free of self-pity and resonant with resilience and gratitude. Ibatoulline…is in equally fine form: his characters’ emotionally vivid faces speak of hard lives and fervent dreams, and his sepia-toned scenes never lapse into sentimentality. A powerful introduction to the American immigrant story, and fine inspiration for a classroom project.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Ibatoulline’s sepia-toned illustrations beautifully express this immigrant’s tale from Italy to Ellis Island and the start of a new life…This lovingly crafted picture book tells an amazing story that is uniquely American. Through unsentimental, yet warm and touching dialogue, Fleischman successfully shares a powerful journey that captures the hardships, self-reliance, strength, and simple joys that characterized early immigrants. It provides an inspirational introduction to the immigration story that captures the humanity of the journey. —School Library Journal


Find more Immigrant Books here!


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