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I'm New Here

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  388 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
Maria is from Guatemala, Jin is from Korea, and Fatima is from Somalia. All three are new to their American elementary school, and each has trouble speaking, writing, and sharing ideas in English. Through self-determination and with encouragement from their peers and teachers, the students learn to feel confident and comfortable in their new school without losing a sense o ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Charlesbridge
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It's hard to describe how well-done this is. In simple sentences and visuals, it depicts the experiences of three children who have come from different countries to classrooms in the United States, and struggle to speak English, write English, and participate in a differently-run classroom. If you are an educator or librarian with immigrant children or ESOL children in your life, this is a must-have. And be sure to check out the site for an incredible collecti ...more
Aug 29, 2015 Amy added it
Shelves: j-picture-books
Popularity/appeal rating: 3

Quality rating: 4

In a one-sentence nutshell:
May not be the most popular book, but it's an important one because of how it explains what it feels like to be new to a country where you don't speak the language. Will hopefully inspire empathy and compassion for new students, especially those where English is not their first language.
Vang Xiong
Oct 11, 2015 Vang Xiong rated it it was amazing
This has got to be one of my more favorite books. I love the fact that this book not only teaches students a lesson, but educators as well. We live in a society that is filled with diversity. This book captures that essence, specifically within the school walls. I love the fact that the author poses real challenges that students who are new to the U.S actually face in school. The discussion of cultural clash and the feeling of alienation, confusion, and aloneness, were feelings who, I, once had ...more
Apr 26, 2017 NebraskaIcebergs rated it liked it
n I’m New Here, the stories of three children from other countries struggle to adjust to their new school in the United States. The children are from Somalia, Guatemala, and Korea. They struggle with speaking, reading, and writing in English. The words of their new language sound strange and look like scribbles and scratches. They also struggle with making friends. The people and places around them used to be familiar; now they can’t find their place. The rest of the story tells how the three ch ...more
Jun 05, 2017 Rachel rated it it was amazing
This book had a simple, but clear, message about the adjustment and uncertainties that children feel immigrating to a new culture, home, and school. It struck a personal chord, since one of the little children was Jin from Korea. :)
Jacinda Drakulich
Diverse Literature Text Set: All as One

Rationale: This book introduces us to three children, Maria, Jin and Fatimah. The three children are from different countries and are trying to assimilate their new school in America. The book points out the differences they are seeing and feeling about the language, the school and the other children. In the story the children make friends and are accepted by the other children by way of their “talents.” Maria makes friends by playing soccer, Jin makes frie
Apr 30, 2016 Maja rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rll-538
Everything in their old school’s was familiar, but now everything is different. “Im New Here,” tells the story of three immigrant children as they try to acclimate to their new lives far away from home. Maria from Guatemala, Jin from Korea, and Fatimah from Somalia all struggle to overcome the language barrier, finding much of their school work impossible. While the beginning of their journey is filled with loneliness and confusion their perseverance and bravery allow the students to overcome th ...more
Really well rendered and sensitive book. Also highly relevant, given the current Syrian refugee crisis. This book shows the difficulties that immigrant children have when trying to adjust to new language and culture, from the point of view of three children from different cultures. It is also a very positive and hopeful book. Definitely a good addition to your collection.
Sep 24, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing
"I'm New Here" is a must for every library and classroom. A very important book.
Very timely book in light of the current political year.
Edward Sullivan
Aug 05, 2015 Edward Sullivan rated it really liked it
Heartfelt, empathetic portraits of three immigrant children struggling to adjust to their new American elementary school. Thoughtful and reassuring.
Mary Little
Nov 10, 2016 Mary Little rated it really liked it
Brief Review
Starting to a new school can be pretty scary. Now imagine you're starting to a new school and don't speak the language. This fictional book follows Maria, Jin, and Fatima. Each child deals with the fear and frustration of learning a new language and culture. The author tackles a difficult subject in a simple way that children can understand.

Content Areas
This is a great book for teaching young students about language barriers, compassion, and tolerance. After reading the book aloud
May 08, 2017 Jillian rated it really liked it
Incredibly well-done book to help born-American kids develop some understanding and empathy for immigrant and (as the book calls them) New-American kids who might be joining their class. Presented from the POV of 3 new students, readers will be asked to imagine what it would be like to not only leave behind your friends/family/home/community, but then be dropped in a school where you don't speak the language - or suddenly be unable to read anything - or just plain not know how people live in thi ...more
Emily Fields
Jun 09, 2017 Emily Fields rated it really liked it
This book is very cute and simple for younger kids. It really allows students to see other students point of view when moving to a new country. It also uses some repitition, which is great for younger students!
Feb 10, 2017 Patti rated it liked it
This wonderful, timely picture book is perfect to share with young children regarding immigration and kindness to all who are new. Welcoming, inclusive and kind!
Jan 24, 2017 Lori rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
Simple, yet very poignant.
A wonderful way to introduce students to the challenges and needs of new students, particularly those who do not speak any English. By showcasing their educational skills and talents in their native languages and their desire to make friends, learn and fit in - classmates can gain a new appreciation of the ways in which they can help the transition of immigrant children to a new school, culture and friends.
Richie Partington
Aug 24, 2015 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
Richie’s Picks: I’M NEW HERE by Anne Sibley O’Brien, Charlesbridge, August 2015, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-58089-612-2

“Skyscrapers bloom in America.
Cadillacs zoom in America.
Industry boom in America.
Twelve in a room in America.”
Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, from West Side Story (1957)

“Back home I knew the language.”
“Back home I could read and write.”
“Back home I was part of the class.”

Immigration has always been a heated topic of discussion. At the dawn of the twentieth centu
Tram Nguyen
It is a simple picture book about 3 new students who just moved from different countries. I'm New Here is a realistic fiction where the kids are trying to assimilate. The book did a good job of pointing out different emotions and perspective for each children. For instance, Maria who spoke in Spanish was seeing the language differently and the dialogue was exactly how she heard. The words were broken down as if a baby is gaining its phonological awareness. As each child goes through this challen ...more
Carol Jen
Feb 23, 2017 Carol Jen rated it it was amazing
Simple text, lovely illustrations, great book about what it's like to be an immigrant child in a new school, new world.
Jan 11, 2016 Suz rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-kid-lit
Anne Sibley O'Brien has created a simple book that shows some of the obstacles children face when their families move to America. They have to learn a new language, new customs, new rules, and make new friends. She shows three children - Maria from Guatemala, Jin from Korea, and Fatimah from Somalia - and different situations at school in which they try to fit in. Maria watches classmates playing at recess and wishes she understood what they were saying and could join them. The illustration show ...more
Sunday Cummins
Jul 15, 2015 Sunday Cummins rated it really liked it
This could be a read aloud in the primary grades for classes that are going to have a new classmate from another country or as part of an integrated unit of study on immigration. I'm not sure the new classmate would understand the book - if they are in the early stages of learning English, but he or she might appreciate the illustrations which clearly show how unfamiliar U.S. schools may feel to a foreign student. The illustrations also show the transition - how the new student begins to find hi ...more
Chacha (Vanessa) Centeno
Feb 16, 2017 Chacha (Vanessa) Centeno rated it it was amazing
Love, love, love, loved it. I see this book in so many of the refugee children I work with. I can't wait to read it to them on an outreach. Must own, must share.
Kenzie Wright
Feb 18, 2016 Kenzie Wright rated it it was amazing
O’Brien, A. S. (2015). I’m New here. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.
I selected this book for my culturally diverse text set because it deals with students coming from around the world and being new to a class. Something that you deal with often. This story has Maria from Guatemala, Jin from Korea, and Fatimah from Somalia. This book shows the point of view for each child and compares their new school to their old school, it does a wonderful job expressing their frustration as they are trying to st
May 18, 2015 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Follow three new students in the United States in this picture book. Maria is from Guatemala, Fatima is from Somalia and Jin is from Korea. The three students are all new to school and new to America. They face the same challenges in learning English and understanding the new culture they are in. There is a new language to learn, new alphabet to use, They feel alone, sad and confused. Steadily they start to use their new language to make new friends. They show others their culture and alphabet a ...more
Oct 16, 2016 Michelle rated it it was amazing
This book follows three new students who come from different countries that are all now at the same school, Jin, Maria and Fatimah. All three students are unfamiliar with the new surroundings that they're in as they learn to adapt to their new environment. In their old countries, they felt welcomed and understood, but in America, they all feel lost and out of place. Eventually, the students learn English and begin making new friends which makes them feel more welcomed. Through the sadness and co ...more
Cara Byrne
Dec 19, 2016 Cara Byrne rated it really liked it
A sweet, gentle tale about what 3 children leave behind when they immigrate to a new country and what they gain with time and supportive inclusion.
Nov 10, 2016 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Digitally colored watercolor illustrations are the highlight of this book about children who are starting school in America. The sparse narrative is complemented by the pictures that really help to tell the story.

Being a new person in an unfamiliar place, with a language you don't know can be very intimidating, even for an adult.

Children are often forced to immerse themselves far more quickly than adults are, put into English-speaking schools and integrated with students from the area. This ca
I’M NEW HERE by Anne Sibley O’Brien is a touching picture book following three immigrant children adapting to their new American school.

When Maria, Jin, and Fatimah first arrive in their new school, they’re shy, apprehensive, and confused. However as they observe their peers and begin to participate in classroom activities, they slowing gain confidence.

The colorful, realistic illustrations along with the simple sentences and speech bubbles are perfect for the primary grades.

Librarians will find
Dione Basseri
Jan 29, 2016 Dione Basseri rated it really liked it
Given that this book covers the experiences of three different children, I feel this would have worked better if it was a bit longer than the standard 32 page picture book. Each child has their own challenge to overcome, and they do so, but an extra page or two for each would have really developed things.

I do like that we get more than one immigrant experience, however. Not only does this increase the likelihood that a child will be able to identify with one of the characters, but it also tells
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