The Arrival

by Shaun Tan

A riveting wordless book follows a young man as he journeys from home to a new land.... read more

A riveting wordless book follows a young man as he journeys from home to a new land. In a place where he is the outsider and everything is strange to him, he struggles to communicate, to make a living, and to connect with others. He does this while missing the family he left behind and longing for the day they can be reunited. Artist Shaun Tan’s story of the immigrant experience may not sound either unusual or extraordinary, but it is both. The new land in which the young man arrives is otherworldly—full of flying airships, strange buildings, and odd creatures, in addition to many, many people with customs and language he can’t understand. Whom can he trust? How will he survive? With his strange new world, Tan has created a powerful yet wholly accessible visual metaphor that conveys the complete sense of displacement and confusion that is part of the immigrant experience. His images—black-and-white and sepia-toned—are marvelous at setting tone and mood, whether conveying the sense of threat and urgency that led the young man, and others with whom he finally makes friends, to flee their homes; the chaos and sensory overload that comes with arrival in the new world; or the lightness—and even moments of levity—when friendships are formed and reunions take place. The Arrival has appeal for fans of graphic novels and fantasy alike, while offering rich possibilities for classroom use. (Age 11 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

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