by Shaun Tan
Wordless graphic novel
Interest level: Grades 4 and up
5 out of 5 stars
The Arrival is an incredible literary work. This wordless graphic novel conveys an immigrant’s story using sepia-toned, weathered illustrations. The man leaves behind his family to travel to a new land. The journey is long, and his arrival in the new land is confusing and frustrating. He does not understand the world around him and is not able to communicate or read the language.
While the tale Shaun Tan tells in The Arrival is a fictional, fantasy-filled story, the experience is very reminiscent of the ones immigrants to America, and other places in the world, go through each day.
As a reader, the story and happenings are confusing at first, and then with more exposure become more comfortable and known. Our experience as readers mirrors that of the immigrant and brings a higher level of understanding to the story. This book would make a great addition to immigration curriculum in the classroom.
The cover of the book emulates the man’s suitcase, and the endpapers are beautiful, photographic-type sketches of many different immigrants. Overall, all parts of this book are a masterpiece.