cover image I’m an Immigrant Too!: An Australian Story

I’m an Immigrant Too!: An Australian Story

Mem Fox, illus. by Ronojoy Ghosh. Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-3602-2

This celebration of immigration, titled I’m an Australian in its country of origin, offers American readers a fresh perspective on both Australia, the home country of Fox (Time for Bed), and on issues of citizenship and diversity that are dominating the news. “I’m Australian! How about you?” asks a child in the first spread. The answers start with Australian-born parents (“My mum was born in Sydney,/ my dad in Ballarat”) but soon introduce readers to kids whose parents left countries around the world to find refuge, hope, and a sense of belonging in their adopted home. Crisp, full-bleed spreads by Ghosh (Ollie and the Wind) seem to focus on the present, pointedly juxtaposing the characters’ dramatic backstories. As father and son wait at the bus stop, the narration explains, “Syria was where I lived,/ but then we had to flee./ Our family’s now in Brisbane,/ and we’re as safe as safe can be.” Referring to war and refugees’ desperate flights in sing-song, rhyming lines may feel jarring. Still, there is also something deeply heartening about a book that asserts, “We open doors to strangers,” and ends with such a hopeful, unifying image: “Together now, we live in peace,/ beneath the Southern star.” Ages up to 8. [em](Oct.) [/em]