A timely and beautiful look at America’s rich history of diversity, from Faith Ringgold, the Coretta Scott King and Caldecot Honor winning creator of Tar Beach
From the Native Americans who first called this land their home, to the millions of people who have flocked to its shores ever since, America is a country rich in diversity. Some of our ancestors were driven by dreams and hope. Others came in chains, or were escaping poverty or persecution. No matter what brought them here, each person embodied a unique gift—their art and music, their determination and grit, their stories and their culture. And together they forever shaped the country we all call home.
Vividly expressed in Faith Ringgold’s sumptuous colors and patterns, We Came to America is an ode to every American who came before us, and a tribute to each child who will carry its proud message of diversity into our nation’s future.
PRAISE FOR WE CAME TO AMERICA:
“As Americans wrestle with the moral and legal aspects of immigration, Ringgold offers a reminder of the country’s multifaceted lineage—and of the beauty to be discovered at cultural crossroads…. The simplicity of Ringgold’s text, combined with the captivating designs, makes this a compelling, must-have narrative for a wide audience.”
–School Library Journal, starred review
“Using a broad brush and folk style familiar from her story quilts, Ringgold pictures families of diverse heritage… her powerful voice emphasizes unity and mutual appreciation.” –Publishers Weekly
“[A] timely look at the diverse makeup and backgrounds of the American people.” –Booklist
In a timely reflection, Ringgold (Harlem Renaissance Party) urges American readers to consider our collective pasts. Using a broad brush and folk style familiar from her story quilts, Ringgold pictures families of diverse heritage, accompanied by general comments on migrant experiences. She takes care to assert that "Some of us were already here/ Before the others came," and "some of us were brought in chains" to American shores. Although her subjects wear the familiar garb of 19th-century Europeans and the traditional apparel of Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and Hindus, Ringgold never mentions a place or faith by name. Instead, she reinforces Americans' global origins in a refrain: "We came to America,/ Every color, race, and religion,/ From every country in the world." Ringgold focuses on bygone centuries rather than the present day, and while the occasional rhyme rings hollow (an image of a ballerina is paired with the vague "Our joyful dance now freed our pain,/ Gently, like soothing rain"), her powerful voice emphasizes unity and mutual appreciation: "In spite of where we came from,/ Or how or why we came,/ We are ALL Americans,/ Just the same." Ages 5 8.