Joseph’s Big Ride
By Terry Farish
Illustrated by Ken Daley
Published by Annick Press, Limited
“A joyful, upbeat tale that takes a positive perspective on an immigrant child’s first encounters..” —Kirkus Reviews
A refugee boy’s determination to ride a bicycle leads to an unexpected friendship.
Joseph wants only one thing: to ride a bike. In the refugee camp where he lives, Joseph helps one of the older boys fix his bike, but he’s too small to ride it.
Joseph and his mother travel to America, where everything is strange and new. One day, he spots a red bike that seems just right for him! It belongs to a girl with a whoosh of curly hair.
When Whoosh crashes her bike, Joseph offers to fix it. His big chance has finally come, except that Joseph doesn’t know how to ride! He crashes a few times, picks himself up, and tries again, until suddenly, with a shout of triumph, he’s riding the bike.
Inspired by the author’s interviews with refugee children from Sudan, this gentle story evokes the experience of a new immigrant. Vibrantly colorful paintings bring a warm and humorous portrait of friendship and diversity to life.
Reviews & Accolades
“Joseph has made a long journey from a refugee camp in Kenya to America. After traveling with his mother, he finds himself in a place he doesn’t understand. Surrounded by a new world, Joseph tries to find familiar things and friendly faces. He discovers both when a girl he later nicknames “Whoosh” flies by on her bicycle, her dark skin matching his but her long, curly hair dominating the view. “Are you going to my school?” Whoosh calls. She points, and he sees a building that’s long like a river. But his mind is on the bike. He will go to school, he decides, because the bike is going there. This sweet and simple tale shows that even when you are transported to a different world, some things never change. Farish captures the normalcy of the day in a life of a refugee child. The narrative, which focuses on building a friendship, is paired with Daley’s vibrant illustrations, which depict just how fast the minds, and bikes, of young children can go.”
—School Library Journal
“A young refugee’s dream of riding a bicycle comes true at last when he arrives in America. Though he’s too short to reach the pedals, Joseph loves to help Daau, an older resident of the Kenyan refugee camp at Kakuma, fix and maintain his bicycle. When Joseph and his mother leave the camp for America, though, he sees a bicycle that looks more his size. How can he persuade its owner, a classmate he dubs Whoosh for the way she zooms along, to lend it to him? His first try, a carefully drawn lion, she takes to be only a general offer of friendship. His second, a bandanna, she rejects because “I like my hair freeeeeee.” “Besides,” she goes on, “my bike broke. A tree hit it.” Third time’s the charm, as Joseph’s skill at bicycle repair earns him his longed-for ride—wobbly at first but soon steady and confident enough for no-hands. Cranking up the visual energy with quick, slashing brush strokes, Daley creates a generic urban setting for his dark-skinned young companions, tops Joseph’s new friend with a huge mop of flyaway hair that reflects her exuberant personality, and generally poses figures with widespread arms and welcoming smiles. In contrast to the traumas and cultural conflicts highlighted in many immigrant stories, such as Mary Hoffman and Karin Littlewood’s The Color of Home (2002) or Sarah Garland’s Azzi in Between (2013), Joseph’s adjustment from the outset seems relatively easy. A joyful, upbeat tale that takes a positive perspective on an immigrant child’s first encounters.”
Unnamed East African refugee family
Kenyan refugee camp at Kakuma
Unnamed US City
Terry Farish is a writing teacher and author with a passion for telling the stories of people from many cultures. Her novel The Good Braider was named a YALSA Best Book of the Year and selected as an American Library Association Outstanding Book for the College Bound and Lifelong Learner. Her second novel, Either the Beginning or the End of the World, will be published in 2015. Her previous picture book, The Cat Who Liked Potato Soup, won a BCCB Blue Ribbon award. She lives in Kittery, ME.
Ken Daley was born in Ontario to parents who emigrated from the Dominican Republic. He draws inspiration for his painting in his African-Caribbean roots. His artwork has been exhibited throughout North America and featured in many print publications. He lives in Macomb, IL.
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