All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  253 ratings  ·  68 reviews
“This immigration story is universal.” —School Library Journal, Starred

Dan Yaccarino’s great-grandfather arrived at Ellis Island with a small shovel and his parents’ good advice: “Work hard, but remember to enjoy life, and never forget your family.” With simple text and warm, colorful illustrations, Yaccarino recounts how the little shovel was passed down through four ge...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 391)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Tasha
Yaccarino tells the story of several generations of his Italian family in this picture book. The book starts with his great-grandfather who grew up in a farm in Sorrento, Italy. He headed for America in search of new opportunities, leaving his parents behind. His father gave him a little shovel, reminding him to work hard, but remember to enjoy life. His mother told him to never forget his family. As time goes on, Michael and his descendants used the small shovel in a variety of ways. Michael us...more
Rebecca Tenbrook
I enjoyed this book very much. I thought it was a very sweet and touching story of family tradition being passed down from generation to generation. Not only was tradition passed down through a physical object (the little shovel) but also family values (working hard) were passed down as well throughout the book. I really enjoyed the fact that this was written by the great grandson of the first character in this book. He said that everything in the book really did happen and I thought it was a cu...more
Richie Partington
24 March 2011 ALL THE WAY TO AMERICA: THE STORY OF A BIG ITALIAN FAMILY AND A LITTLE SHOVEL by Dan Yaccarino, Knopf, March 2011, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-375-86642-5

"And cases filled with hats and clothes,And the belongings of those who journeyed so far,They're strange reminders I suppose,Of where we're from and who we are."-- Marc Cohn, "Ellis Island"

My Sicilian grandfather arrived in America 102 years ago this week, on the ship "Indiana." He would marry my grandmother Rosa who, eight years earlier, h...more
David
All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel by Dan Yaccarino is the story of the author's Italian American family and its four generations in the United States.

Author-illustrator Dan Yaccarino tells his family's immigration story starting with great-grandfather Michele Iaccarino's arrival in America, the spelling change in his name made at Ellis Island, and a little metal garden shovel he brought from Sorrento, Italy. His parents gave him this advice: "Work har...more
Jessica
Author and illustrator Dan Yaccarino tells the story of his great-grandfather coming to America, and the subsequent generations to come. When his grandfather came to America, he brought over a small shovel, which was passed on through the generations to, among other things, scoop nuts, olives, and other food, sprinkle rock salt over snowy sidewalks, and dig in gardens. It's a little implausible--and a little gross (foodstuffs AND dirt!)--to me that the shovel would be used in every generation's...more
Marissa Reyes
The text All The Way to America by Dan Yaccarino is an amazing piece of children's literature. Children that fill the classrooms today do not know what hard work is and this book shows how much work children put in after school back then, instead of watching television and playing video games. The illustrations were child friendly and so intricate with details that they could exist without the words and still tell the story. Children can relate to this book because many families have heirlooms t...more
Jasmin Garcia
"All the Way to America..." is the story of many generations and a small shovel. The story was written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. He tells the story of his great-grandfather and his journey to America. His great-grandfather brings a little shovel with him and he passes on the shovel throughout generations. He talks about how the shovel was used differently throughout those generations and how the shovel, in a sense, brought success and happiness to the family. Yaccarino states at the end...more
Gwen the Librarian
While not having recent immigrants in my own family, I have still always been drawn to immigrant stories. I think anyone can relate to them, always being new to something, somewhere.

Dan Yaccarino's family story is unremarkable and similar to many others, there is nothing harrowing or tremendously exciting about it, but it is the way he tells it here that makes this book one of my favorites of the year. Beginning with a great-great-grandfather who grew up in Italy, Yaccarino ties the generations...more
Inez
All The Way to America tells the story of an Italian immigrant who moves from Italy to America in search of a better job. He arrives with his little shovel that he spans its uses across the book. When he first arrives, he uses it to measure ingredients in the bakery that he finds a job in. Not long after his arrival, he meets a woman with whom he gets married, and later has 5 kids. In the book you see that his motivation is not only for himself, but also to care for his family and provide for th...more
Marjorie Ingall
I'm forever a sucker for immigration stories. And this book about how the Yaccarinos came to New York made me a little teary. I love Dan Yaccarino's clean, cute-but-not-cutesy illustrations. I love the way Dan's great-grandfather Michele Iaccarino's little metal shovel is passed down from generation to generation, used in ever-changing ways that reflect the lives and livelihoods of each descendant. I love the way a parent could use this very simple story to explain American history, to talk abou...more
Laura
Dan Yaccarino tells the story of his "Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel." When his great-grandfather left Italy, his family gave him a little shovel and tells him to "work hard...remember to enjoy life...and never forget your family." The story traces the next generations of Yaccarino men and the many ways that the little shovel is used.

I really liked this story. The pictures are charming, bright, and interesting. I also enjoyed searching for the little shovel and seeing how it was used ac...more
Rhaynes5
All the way to America is a story told about a family who came to this country as immigrants and successfully made themselves a home in America. This a great book to share with children, I enjoyed the illustrations as well as the story. I would make a self and world connection with the students I share this book with. I would share this with students and discuss with them if they have ever been new to a place, how they felt when they first arrived, and did they get more comfortable as time went...more
Megan Moriarty
"All the Way to America" is a book about an Italian man, "Michael", who leaves Italy to seek a better life in America. He takes along his little silver shovel to work with. The book then talks about the generations of Michael's family who work hard with the little shovel to have a prosperous life. This book is intended for second through fourth graders. It is an entertaining and informing book. I would have this book in my classroom for students to check out and for me to read aloud to them.

Yac...more
Tricia
While this is the story via picture book of author Dan Yaccarino's family...it is also the story of many families who immigrated to the United States with little but determination to succeed and make a better life for their families. While I may not incorporate this one into a preschools storytime, it would be an interesting building block for early elementary children studying or otherwise curious about their family tree. My daughter and I noted the same format for the first spread of the book...more
Chelsea Kimmey
This book could be used during lessons about immigration, family history, or family traditions.
Zara Younus
I love learning about how families who have migrated from another country settled down in America. This book is about four generations of Italians who have learned to survive the American life with their family shovel. This would be a great book to read to students when the topic of immigration or moving to America take place. Students can research their family ancestry, their family name, and make their family tree. We can present the findings on pioneer day or international day! My fifth grade...more
Maria
Yaccarino traces the history of his great-grandfather's immigration to America from Italy and the small shovel that he brought with him. Bright colorful pictures show the different generations and the various uses that the shovel has been put to in its history.

Why I started it: It caught my eye as I was checking in books.

Why I finished it: Family history for the little ones. Simple, colorful and powerful.

Storytime idea: Have the children think of an item or heirloom that has been handed down and...more
Melissa
True confession: This made me cry!

This is perfectly paced, with just enough detail to bring each generation to life. Yaccarino writes for a young audience of his family's successes, but still manages to include nods to the poverty, ethnic community, and Americanization that are a part of many immigrants' stories. The hand-me-down shovel is such an accessible totem of a family's heritage.

I loved watching the clothes styles and the graying hair show the steady passage of time.

Really lovely.
Melanie
Dan Yaccarino tells the story of his great-grandfathers' coming to America. He brought with him a shovel given to him by his father in Italy. That shovel was used to garden in Italy and he used it to measure flour and sugar at the bakery where he worked in New York. The shovel was passed down through the generations and was used to measure tomatoes, beans, macaroni, olives, rock salt and back to gardening.

Yaccarino emphasizes the importance of family and tradition in this beautifully illustrated...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Dan Yaccarino tells the story of his family’s move from Italy to the United States. Everywhere the family goes, they carry their shovel along, and the shovel always serves a useful purpose.

A small biography for the very young.

“So when I grew up, I moved back to the city where my great-grandfather Michele had lived.

‘Work hard,’ my father told me as he handed me the little shovel. ‘But remember to enjoy life.’

‘And don’t forget to call your family,’ said my mother.”

Kate
Sweet and heartfelt but not ideal for younger children who are likely to be bored. Children who are at least 5 or 6 may relate to the story of family history and children of new immigrants may find the book especially relevant. The story could work as a springboard for some great discussions. Because it's not a funny story it might be best to group this with something lighter and more comedic to keep the children engaged in a longer storytime setting.
Stan
Seeking a better life is a common theme for people coming to America; they come because where they lived, opportunities to grow seemed limited. Here is the story of one man's journey to America, and the opportunities his descendants pursued. Looking back, where we came from and those who came before us are important. Family and family values help us make it through hard times. Salute! to those who legally come to America.
Yapha
I read this with the first and second graders, since it was one of the Irma Black Award nominees. It is very sweet look at how the author's family emigrated to America and made a life here. It is reminiscent of The Keeping Quilt, but with a small shovel instead. Although it wasn't their favorite, the students enjoyed it, and so did I. Recommended for an introduction to family history units or Italian-Americans.
Jessica Jones


Follow a shovel all the way form a little farm in Italy to today's present day New York as it tells the story of the authors family and how they worked hard making there way all the way too America to make a better life for their family. This book takes on a journey form Ellis island to owning homes in America. Great story about the american dream can be used to teach immigration.
Elizabeth
I loved this book. Story of author's family coming to America from Italy and the story of the generations that followed. Not highly detailed, but shows how things are passed down from generation to generation. Loved the circular nature of the story.

Pictures really help tell the story. Very clear, but warm illustrations.

Sandybear76
Loved it. The illustrations are bright and colorful. The author tells of his great grandfather coming to America with a little shovel, and how the family grew and prospered, each one using the shovel in a different way. This book would be a good read-aloud for the immigration/family history unit in our 3rd grade.
Bethany
This book I have used in a unit on continents and characteristics of each. One of the characteristics of America is the people that immigrate to our country and how they start a new life here. It is a beautiful picture of how our country has become what it is. This can be a useful tool in many ways.
Samantha
PB#37: What a cute and interesting children's book. It deals with immigration and family values, but the illustrations make it light-hearted and fun. I love how Yaccarino tied in the little shovel passed down to all the generations and the idea to work hard, enjoy life and remember your family. Very cute!
The Library Lady
I wish that Yaccarino had fictionalized this just a bit so that it would have been classified as a picture book rather than a biography. It is going to get lost in the non-fiction and that's a pity, because it has tons of charm, and the little shovel of the title adds a sort of storytelling chorus.
Brianna
Charming x 10. The illustrations are bright, bold, and have cartoon elements without being caricatures. Yaccarino shares his family story and ties it all together with that one little shovel. This would be a nice read-aloud to lead to a class discussion about family stories and heritage.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Great Migration: Journey to the North
  • Orani: My Father's Village
  • All the Water in the World
  • Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat
  • A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis
  • Hopper and Wilson
  • Tia Isa Wants a Car
  • Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride
  • Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom
  • Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic
  • My Side of the Car
  • The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According To Susy)
  • Planting the Wild Garden
  • The House Baba Built: An Artist's Childhood in China
  • Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic
  • Naamah and the Ark at Night
  • Can We Save the Tiger?
  • Time to Eat
Exhibitions of his work have been held throughout the world. He is also the creator of the animated TV Series Willa's Wild Life and Oswald.

Mr. Yaccarino lives in New York City with his wife and two children.
More about Dan Yaccarino...
Five Little Pumpkins (Harper Growing Tree) The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau Doug Unplugged Unlovable Every Friday

Share This Book