“This immigration story is universal.” —School Library Journal, Starred
Dan Yaccarino’s great-grandfather arrived at Ellis Island with a small shovel and his parents’ good advice: “Work hard, but remember to enjoy life, and never forget your family.” With simple text and warm, colorful illustrations, Yaccarino recounts how the little shovel was passed down through four generations of this Italian-American family—along with the good advice.
It’s a story that will have kids asking their parents and grandparents: Where did we come from? How did our family make the journey all the way to America?
“A shovel is just a shovel, but in Dan Yaccarino’s hands it becomes a way to dig deep into the past and honor all those who helped make us who we are.” —Eric Rohmann, winner of the Caldecott Medal for My Friend Rabbit
“All the Way to America is a charmer. Yaccarino’s heartwarming story rings clearly with truth, good cheer, and love.” —Tomie dePaola, winner of a Caldecott Honor Award for Strega Nona
In this affectionate personal history, Yaccarino (Lawn to Lawn) traces his ancestry from Sorrento, Italy, to New York City. He links the generations with a humble hand-me-down: a hefty gray grocer's scoop pictured in nearly every spread. The narrative starts with the author's great-grandfather, Michele Iaccarino, who boards a ship for America with the shovel, "their few family photographs and recipe for tomato sauce." In the U.S., he goes by Michael Yaccarino and uses the scoop at his pushcart stand. Later, his son "measures beans, macaroni, and olives" with the scoop, then opens a restaurant featuring the family's tomato sauce. Rather than give dates, Yaccarino shows the passage of time as the shovel passes from fathers to sons, and the respect given the object signals family pride. On snowy days at his father's barbershop, the shovel is "used... to pour rock salt over the sidewalk," and Yaccarino's author photo pictures him with the well-traveled tool. He celebrates classic bootstrap success, subtly incorporating red, white, and green in his palette. Folksy and warm, this is a timely reminder that America is a nation of immigrants. Ages 5 9.