Booktalk for The Arrival by Shaun Tan
- Grades: 6–8, 9–12
About this book
New country, new home, new hopes and dreams.
Everyone comes from somewhere else. And if you live in your native country, then your parents, grandparents or ancestors came from a different country or countries. When they got here, they discovered places and creatures they had no experience with. People spoke a language they couldn't speak or read. They had to find a place to live, a job, and food. They were alone, they knew no one, and their friends and families were far, far away. This is the story of one of those immigrants.
"Life in my country has grown too hard, too dangerous, too difficult. I must leave,* and find a new country, a new home, a home for me, my wife, and my daughter.* My journey is very long and hard,* and when we reach the new land, it is like nothing I have ever seen before.* I wait in long lines,* while people poke at me, pinning signs on me that I cannot read. They ask me questions I cannot understand.* But finally, they finish. I am taken to a box with a window in it that floats high in the air,* and travels for a long time.* When it lands, I am in the strange and confusing city that will become my new home.*
The streets and full of people* and odd-looking animals that go with them. There is noise and talking and music. And even though I cannot understand a word, I know I have done the right thing in coming here. This country is not dark and dangerous, with threats lurking around every corner. This is a place where people are happy and free. A place where my wife and I can bring up our daughter in peace and safety.
But first I must find a place to stay. A friendly man carrying an animal in a basket on his back sees my confusion, and offers to help. He takes me to what must be an apartment house, and I am able to rent a room.* Inside it, I find a strange animal that reminds me of other creatures I've seen following people around.* Can it be that in this country, everyone has their own companion? It seems friendly enough. Perhaps I have made my first friend. I unpack* and hang up my picture of my family.
Tomorrow I must look for a job, and write a letter to my family, telling them of this *strange and wonderful new country that is going to be our new home!"
Note to booktalker:
Because the story is told in pictures, it's important to include them as part of your talk. I have included asterisks in the text of my talk that refer to the pages described below, in sequential order. Or you can select other pictures to illustrate your talk. Do point out important details in the pictures, to be sure your audience notices them, but don't interrupt the flow of your talk to discuss them, just point to them and continue with your talk. You may also want to pause when you first show a picture to make sure everyone has a chance to see it. It's a good idea to paperclip pages together inbetween the ones you intend to show to make it easier to turn to them.
Man, woman and suitcase
City landscape with serpents' over it and family walking through it
Tiny ship on the ocean
Harbor with two statues, and ship in foreground
People in lines, medical exam
Pictures showing confusion
Small picture of box, balloon high in air
Balloon over strange city
Ballroom lands and man leaves
People and animals in the street
Friendly stranger and drawing of bed
Interior of apartment
Creature on bed
City landscape with apartment houses in the rear
This booktalk was written by university professor, librarian and booktalking expert Joni Richards Bodart.