Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Review: I'm An Immigrant Too! by Mem Fox

by Mem Fox
Illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh
Beach Lane Books
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 8 and up

From beloved Australian author Mem Fox comes a timely picture book about how all of our lives are enriched by the vibrant cultural diversity immigrants bring to their new communities.

What journeys we have travelled,
from countries near and far!
Together now, we live in peace,
beneath the Southern Star.

Inspired by the plight of immigrants around the world, Mem Fox was moved to write this lyrical and rhyming exploration of the myriad ways immigrants have enriched her home country of Australia. Young readers everywhere will see themselves—and their friends and neighbors—in this powerful and moving picture book.


I love the timely theme of this book and to a certain extent, how it was handled. Immigrants include not only people from many cultures but each has their own reasons for immigrating.

This book focuses on the immigration to Australia and shows how many people have moved there due to very differing reasons. The author includes a wide range of countries as the origin of the presented immigrants. Each immigrant child is introduced with their originating country, followed by an explanation why they left and what made them stay or how their life has improved. The text is short (usually four lines) and each child is presented on a two-page spread. The last pages introduce a girl who is still in the refugee camp waiting for entrance, followed by a general message about how immigrants are very welcome and wonderful friends too.

While this is a lovely picture book with a wonderful message, I'm not sure how it will meet the intended audience. The recommended age of eight and up is necessary, since many younger readers and listeners will not necessarily grasp the concepts behind immigration or recognize the countries mentioned. The text, however, is too simple for the older age group and doesn't go deep enough into the subject material. Also, most American children won't recognize the Australian cities mentioned, but, on the other hand, there's a map at the end which helps out. If nothing else, children learn more about Australia as well.

There is a wonderful message in these pages, one that helps kids gain a greater understanding of immigration and the people themselves. It helps to close the gap of foreignness and presents the various kids in a way which makes them as normal as any other child. Still, a little more depth would have been nice, since this grazes quickly over each situation. Also, there is no mention of the original inhabitants of Australia, the Aboriginal, which was too bad considering the immigration history of Australia....which also isn't mentioned since this book only takes a look at the immediate generation.

The message in this book is very important and it offers a lovely way to open up to the topic of immigration and even plants the first seeds to a better understanding of the theme and immigrants themselves.

And here she is...

Mem Fox is an educator and international literacy expert, and her many acclaimed picture books for young children include Yoo-Hoo, Ladybug!; Hello Baby!; Baby Bedtime; I'm an Immigrant Too; the bestselling modern classics Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and Time for Bed; and, for adults, Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. She lives in Adelaide, Australia. Visit her at


Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes, what a timely theme. I'll have to remember this one if I get a new niece or nephew or later, grandkids.

Melissa said...

Good, balanced review. Sounds like an interesting book.

cleemckenzie said...

If a parent reads the book, the message might reach an older audience in spite of the obstacles you mentioned.