The Children's Bookshelf: First Generation

Jan 16, 2019

FIRST GENERATION: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great written by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace and illustrated by Agata Nowicka is a look at how a blue-ribbon collection of artists, scientists, athletes, educators, and activists influences the quality of life in communities across the country.


These stories, vibrantly-told and richly-illustrated, include the contributions of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, born in Paris to Chinese parents,  Grammy Award winner Carlos Santana born in Mexico, Indra Nooyi, the first woman and Hindu to be made chief executive officer at Pepsi Cola, top chef Marcus Samuelsson born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, advocate for domestic workers Barbara Young and Soviet-born Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google.

This cross section of courage, creativity, and hard work is beautifully-illustrated. The 36 portraits are lively, engaging and pop right off the page. The back materials offer further reading sources for each person featured. Throughout the book, there are striking quotes from the trailblazers including the words of tennis player Martina Navratilova: “Labels are for clothing. Labels are not for people.” Albert Einstein’s quote: “Blind respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” And Madeleine Albright’s quote: “Only in America can a refugee become Secretary of State.”

FIRST GENERATION: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great written by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace and illustrated by Agata Nowicka is a fascinating read for children 9-12 years of age (Little, Brown and Company, 2018).    

Questions for FIRST GENERATION

Study the quotations by each of the 36 first generation immigrants and refugees discussed in this book. Which quote is the most powerful for you? Why?  Visualize this quote in your mind’s eye and draw a picture of it. The picture can be created in a realistic or an abstract manner.

Whose mother said, “when you take the elevator up to reach the top, please don’t forget to send it down” as a proverb to live by? What does this proverb mean to you?

Design a poster celebrating the ideas, inventions, good works, athletic awards and artistic contributions made by first-generation immigrants and refugees. Use any medium. Have fun!

Who called himself a “tri-cultural?”  Who is known as the Master of Modern Architecture? Who was the first women to win the Field’s Medal for math? Who was the writer who wrote a book of prose poems that became one the most popular books ever written? Who immigrated to the United States to work with Thomas Edison? Who designed hijabs for girls playing sports?