cover image I Is for Immigrants

I Is for Immigrants

Selina Alko. Holt/Ottaviano, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-23786-6

Author-illustrator Alko, a Canadian emigrant to the U.S., presents an abecedarian companion to her B Is for Brooklyn that celebrates multicultural elements found within the U.S., including food (bubble tea, falafel, guacamole), instruments (drums, xylophone, zither), buildings (mosques, restaurants, temples), and qualities (ambition, creativity, optimism). Some words present clearer cultural connections than others; the page on P, for example, features a diverse potluck of pierogies, pupusas, pizza, and more alongside the word “pets,” showcasing a cat, dog, mouse, and rabbit sitting beneath the blue feast table. Though some seemingly East Asian figures are portrayed with yellow skin, Alko’s multilayered gouache and collage art is otherwise engaging, with snippets of newsprint, patterned paper, stamps, sheet music, and more overlaid with washes of paint, colorful hand lettering, and depictions of people of different abilities and religions and with a range of skin tones and backgrounds. Readers may not come away with context for the images—particularly regarding cultural and historical explanations behind the words—but this visual amalgam succeeds in highlighting “so much that is wonderful about our diverse American culture.” Back matter includes an author’s note. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Marietta B. Zacker, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (June) [/em]