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

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  385 Ratings  ·  112 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
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Stacey B.
May 21, 2016 Stacey B. rated it really liked it
For diverse children's literature final project.
Apr 28, 2011 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
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
Lauren Thompson
All The Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel is a story about a young man who left his family to follow the American dream. Before he left his parents gave him a little shovel to always remind him of home as well as use it as a tool to help him with his new life in America. He came to America through Ellis Island and changed his name to fit in. He got a job and had a family. The shovel was passed down through the generations to help the sons and grandsons follow ...more
Katiena Frazier
Mar 09, 2015 Katiena Frazier rated it really liked it
This is a very cute book that traces the history a family and a small shovel from a great-grandfather in Italy to the author in America. It can be considered historical fiction. The story is narrated by the author. It begins with his great-grandfather as a child in Sorrento, Italy. His father ave him a little shovel to help him with the farming. When he was grown, he decided to go to America. His father gave him the shovel and off he went. The story continues in this way, with him using the shov ...more
Jun 28, 2015 Shamika rated it liked it
Text Set #2: All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel focuses on the great grandfather of the author, Dan Yaccarino, and his journey to America with his little shovel. As he leaves Italy to travel to New York, his mother tells him to never forget his family. He keeps his family in mind as it grows bigger and bigger. One thing that remains a constant in the family, besides love, is the shovel that he left with when he traveled to New York. As it moves from gen ...more
Rebecca Tenbrook
Jan 22, 2014 Rebecca Tenbrook rated it liked it
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
Helen Tesfaye
Oct 25, 2015 Helen Tesfaye rated it really liked it
This book is about the author’s great grandfather’s story of his life in Italy. As the story goes along, the grandfather, then father, then the author are introduced to a little shovel. This is what connects the generations and the message of hard work has been passed with it. The shovel has made it to the United States and so has the family. Each descendant used the shovel in plenty of different ways, but it was still handed down to be of use for the next person. This book relates to my topic i ...more
Lucie Nguyen
Oct 19, 2016 Lucie Nguyen rated it really liked it
All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel is a realistic nonfiction. It is a story about an Italian American family through the century. It starts with beginning an immigrant who wanted a better life. He came to Ellis Island with hopes and dreams like the next person. He also had a small shovel. The story traces the next generations of Yaccarino men and the many ways that the little shovel is used. "Work hard, but remember to enjoy life, and never forget your ...more
May 12, 2016 Pam rated it liked it
This is a good book to provide children with a perspective of a family's history and an introduction to genealogy. I loved the thread of the shovel all the way through the story which united all the generations. While it is a story of an Italian family, the story line would not be that different for many families of different nationalities. I have one correction for the author Dan Yaccarino, it is highly unlikely that your family's surname was changed at Ellis Island. This myth has been handed d ...more
Carmen Nibali
Apr 30, 2015 Carmen Nibali rated it it was amazing
In this Italian/American memoir Dan Yaccarino’s great-grandfather arrived at Ellis Island. He had a shovel and his parents’ good advice: “Work hard, but remember to enjoy life, and never forget your family.” This book is filled with easy to read and understand words for little readers. The illustrations are colorful and full of warm colors. Children enjoy listening to this book and is a favorite in my home. I give this book five stars because it is a great story for introducing family history an ...more
Lin Lin
Mar 17, 2015 Lin Lin rated it liked it
Shelves: immigration
If you are looking for a typical and happy Italian family's story of immigration to the United States, this book might be it. The "little shovel" reminds children today that "hard working" should always be an important virtue in achieving one's dream and goal in life. As I share this story with my son, I would like to point out that having to change one's name at the immigration center was no slight matter. Nor was the challenging beginning of finding one's foothold in New York City when Irish i ...more
Alondra Munoz
Dec 13, 2014 Alondra Munoz rated it it was amazing
This book was about an Italian family and a little shovel that gets passed down to each generation of children. The story started off with Michele Laccarino who decided to move to America in search of better opportunities. When he arrived to America he worked at a bakery where he used his little shovel to measure out flour and sugar. That little shovel was given to him by his father to help tend the vegtables; that same little shovel got passed down to his children and their children, and so on, ...more
Jan 22, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
I liked how the small silver shovel was one of the connecting threads through the family.
Xinwen Xu
Apr 26, 2016 Xinwen Xu rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Oct 23, 2011 David rated it really liked it
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
Oct 26, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
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
Oct 24, 2012 Jasmin Garcia rated it it was amazing
"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
Sep 21, 2014 Tina rated it it was amazing
Reading Level: Pre-K
Genre: Picture Book, Historical Fiction
Review: What a wonderful story about an Italian immigrant family. The story moves from great great grandfather to author's own family, and depicts the passing on of traditions and mementos throughout the family's history. This is a great contribution to a diverse collection. The simple pictures and storyline will appeal to younger readers, and may even tell a story that is similar to their own.
Sep 27, 2016 Hannah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-lit
This story brings to life immigration and what our descendants mean to us. This is a story of hard work and what it was like for people in history to come to America. This book is amazing to use for history classes at any grade. The illustrations are fun and help make the story that much more special. I would recommend this book for all teachers who are teaching immigration or if they have students who may have immigrated from another country.
Jordan Parker
The little shovel is carried through each generation, helping build a better life than the generation before it. I want to make a goofy connection. I want students to visualize revision in the same way: making drafts better than the draft before it. Their pencil/pen/keyboard will be their little shovel they carry with them throughout their drafts making changes. I will use the text as a sort of metaphor or symbol for revision as change.
Apr 16, 2012 Inez rated it really liked it
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
Nov 17, 2015 Ashlee rated it liked it
Shelves: red-316, biography
This is a good informing book and alerts readers to other traditions. It would be a good choice to read aloud to the class. I would recommend this book for second through 6th graders. Readers would enjoy this book to see other peoples point of view on different traditions. This would be a good book to let students go into depth about their traditions and make up their own story timeline and list there family tradition.
Aug 13, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing
This delightful based-on-a-true story picture book is going right up there with Every Friday for my all-time favorite Yaccarino books.

I will also say that I had the privilege of meeting Dan Yaccarino several years ago at a library function. He is every bit as charming as the writing in this book.

He should have included a photo of the shovel, though. :)
Marjorie Ingall
Sep 27, 2011 Marjorie Ingall rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-3-6, kids-4-8
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
Apr 28, 2015 Kayla rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-my-classroom
I thought this was a good book about immigration. I loved how the shovel was passed down by generations. I thought it was a touching book that deeply discussed the family history. I would like to read this book to my students so they would have a better understanding of immigration or even a better understanding of family history in general.
Pat Salvatini
Feb 10, 2015 Pat Salvatini rated it really liked it
Yaccarino shares his family history back to his great-great-grandfather who came to America in search of new opportunities. The little shovel is a common thread throughout the story as it journeys along with the family and takes on new roles with each new owner. The book carries a wonderful message of family, hard work, and enjoying life.
Stephanie Easton
The autobiography of Dan Yaccarino was about the many generations of his Italian family growing up in America. The style was paragraph form, but not to long for young children. Bright pictures that cover the whole page with the text on top the pictures. Each new generation inherits a shovel that the new family uses in their life.
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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...

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