First CrossingFirst Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants
Edited by Donald R. Gallo
Published by Candlewick Press

“Newly transplanted teens will find the voices represented in this collection far more relevant than those echoing forth from the huddled masses of Ellis Island, and American-born readers will gain insight from the palpable depictions of what it’s like to be thrust into ‘the middle of a game where [you] don’t know the players, the rules, or even the object.'” —Jennifer Mattson, Booklist

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Description
Fleeing from political violence in Venezuela, Amina and her family have settled in the United States. Sarah, adopted, is desperate to know her Korean birth parents. Adrian’s friends have some spooky — and hilarious — misconceptions about his Romanian origins. Whether their transition is from Mexico to the United States or from Palestine to New Mexico, the characters in this anthology have all ventured far and have faced countless challenges. Each of these stories is unique, and each one has something to say to all of us.

Reviews & Accolades
“Covering a wide range of cultural and economical backgrounds, these stories by 11 well-known authors touch on a variety of teen experiences, with enough attitude and heartfelt angst to speak to young adults anywhere…Many of the stories open with a brief description of the country the family is leaving, or the lifestyle they flee; details that set a foundation for the teens’ achievements and relationships. There’s the chronic irony of children shrugging off anchors from their homeland while laden with guilt to respect the traditions that their parents cling to; they’re caught in a conflict of change, assuming responsibility while remaining obediently subordinate. These selections will provide teachers with a wealth of material to use in multicultural literature units.” —Alison Follos, School Library Journal

“The contemporary teen immigrants in Gallo’s newest story collection hail from a mix of countries–Cambodia, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Mexico, South Korea–reflective of current immigration trends. Among the 10 stories, readers will encounter teens who have left homelands behind for reasons not so different from those of earlier generations; others’ circumstances are more distinctly modern…Newly transplanted teens will find the voices represented in this collection far more relevant than those echoing forth from the huddled masses of Ellis Island, and American-born readers will gain insight from the palpable depictions of what it’s like to be thrust into ‘the middle of a game where [you] don’t know the players, the rules, or even the object.‘” —Jennifer Mattson, Booklist

“…The title expresses the theme that runs throughout the collection: the tales are not about border crossings but, rather, cultural crossings. Many of the characters have come to the US as a result of political upheaval in other countries…the ten stories are often surprising and very readable.” —KILATT

Groups Represented
Hispanic, Venezuelan, Venezuelan-American, Kazakh, Chinese, Native American, Palestinian, Swedish, Korean, Korean-American, Haitian, Cambodian, Romanian

Themes
Immigration, family relationships, adoption, celebration, cultural identity, overcoming cultural misconceptions

Setting
Various U.S. cities, Tijuana, Venezuela

Author Research
TBA

Engagement Projects
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