All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel

Dan Yaccarino, Knopf, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-86642-5
In this affectionate personal history, Yaccarino (Lawn to Lawn) traces his ancestry from Sorrento, Italy, to New York City. He links the generations with a humble hand-me-down: a hefty gray grocer's scoop pictured in nearly every spread. The narrative starts with the author's great-grandfather, Michele Iaccarino, who boards a ship for America with the shovel, "their few family photographs and [his mother's] recipe for tomato sauce." In the U.S., he goes by Michael Yaccarino and uses the scoop at his pushcart stand. Later, his son "measures beans, macaroni, and olives" with the scoop, then opens a restaurant featuring the family's tomato sauce. Rather than give dates, Yaccarino shows the passage of time as the shovel passes from fathers to sons, and the respect given the object signals family pride. On snowy days at his father's barbershop, the shovel is "used... to pour rock salt over the sidewalk," and Yaccarino's author photo pictures him with the well-traveled tool. He celebrates classic bootstrap success, subtly incorporating red, white, and green in his palette. Folksy and warm, this is a timely reminder that America is a nation of immigrants. Ages 5–9. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/24/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 40 pages - 978-0-375-96642-2
Paperback - 40 pages - 978-0-375-85920-5
Open Ebook - 36 pages - 978-0-375-98723-6
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