Booklist - W is for Welcome
Organized as an abecedary, this book celebrates immigration by painting a picture of the variety of paths taken by people who have settled America over the centuries. Letters of the alphabet are matched with concepts such as freedom, liberty, and heroes, which are accompanied by brief explications, terse quintains, and illustrations by a variety of artists. Herzog notes familiar aspects of history, such as the theory that Native Americans crossed the Bering Strait, the arrival of the Mayflower, and the work of Chinese and Irish immigrants on the Transcontinental Railroad. Also noted are the cultural contributions of immigrants such as Levi Strauss, Albert Einstein, and John Muir. But the most interesting aspect of the book is that it provides explanations of the less romantic elements of immigration: the push factors such as war, persecution, and poverty; the lengthy complications of the naturalization process; and the privileges of citizenship. Middle-school teachers might use these points as springboards to discuss the struggles of adaptation and controversy of assimilation.