The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Tan, Shaun. The Arrival. Scholastic, Incorporated, 2007. 128 pages. Tr. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-439-89529-3.
Annotation: In a wordless graphic novel, a man leaves his wife and child to embark on a journey to a foreign country. The lonely experience of the immigrant is portrayed as a new and, hopefully, better life is created.
Summary: In this wordless graphic novel, a man leaves his wife and child and the familiarity of his homeland and embarks on a journey to find a better life in a foreign country. He boards a steamship filled with other refugees and arrives in a weird yet wonderful country. The country has different architecture, alphabet and symbols, technologies, foods, culture, and animals. The novelty of the city and the distance from home creates much sadness and anxiety. Slowly he assimilates as he gains friends, employment, and confidence. The end is happy when he reunites with his family in the new country.
Evaluation: In this sepia-toned graphic novel, the immigrant experience is sensitively portrayed. The pencil illustrations capture the anxiety, confusion, loneliness, and wonder as an immigrant slowly assimilates into a new and strange culture. The complexity of feelings and issues for immigrants is expertly depicted with the detailed artwork. Readers will empathize with the difficulty of starting something new. Recommended for ages 12 to 17.
Genre / Subject: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Stories Without Words, Immigration, Identity, Loneliness, Persistence,Aspirations
Awards: 2008 ALA Notable Books for Children, 2008 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner, 2008 ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 2008 ALA Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens, 2008 ALA Great Graphic Novels for Teens, 2008 American Booksellers Award – Children’s Literature Honor Book