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Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land
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Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  309 ratings  ·  95 reviews
With lyrical text and thought-provoking photography, Their Great Gift explores the experiences of immigrants in the twenty-first century, focusing on the lives of children. Images of families who came to the United States from many different parts of the world celebrate the diversity of our country and contain a vision of hope for the future.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Carolrhoda Books (R)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  309 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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Destinee Sutton
I love a lot of things about this book. The big thing is how real and true it is -- the photographs and the simple text give it such wide appeal. I don't know what percentage of people are descendants of immigrants who moved to another country for a better life, but I'd guess it's high, especially in the United States. So for most people, something in this book will ring true. It's powerful and important to share with young people.

I also like that this book is positive without being too RAH RAH
Laura Giessler
May 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebooks-nf
A photo journal on the topic of immigration. The photographer says in a note in the back that all photos were not taken specifically for this project. Perhaps that's why it felt a little disjointed to me. Still, the photos and relatively simple text could jumpstart important conversations and the sharing of stories, which would be fantastic. The culminating question seemed a bit "off" to me: What will we do with their great gift? I guess the "we" is "we, the people of the United States", but it ...more
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This picture book is filled with gorgeous photographs of diverse people who live in the United States. The book speaks about the way that families came to our country. It talks of the dreams that they had and how difficult it was to make the journey and learn a different language. It is about the hard work that it takes to be an immigrant, the mistakes that are made, the way money is sent back home. At it’s heart this is a book about determination, grit and resilience, qualities that make our ...more
Note: I received a digital review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Janine Darragh
Gorgeous photos depicting immigrants from around the world. Sparse text to support. I especially like that the author/photographer have included their own "arrival stories" at the end of the book.
Marathon County Public Library
This beautiful, heart-warming children’s book gave me goosebumps. The photographs portray a multitude of immigrants who came to America from many different countries. In simple, almost lyrical text it imparts the great sacrifices that the previous generation made, not only to bring their family to a new country, but to survive and provide new opportunities for their children. The messages to their children are similar—work hard, do well in school and never give up. The great question, or ...more
Nancy Kotkin
A photographic essay depicting the immigrant experience in America. I love the idea of this picture book, and feel it is especially needed now with what is going on in the United States. But the execution of this book has some issues. Since the photographs were not taken for this actual book but were selected from the photographer's archive, many of them look dated and some of them don't match the text as closely as they should. The pages of this book appear crowded with too many photos, rather ...more
Oct 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: pbnf-300
This is mostly a photography book of many ethnically and culturally diverse people who have immigrated to the US. The short and simple text briefly tells of some of the contributions of these immigrants. The photos are mostly black and white with a few color ones here and there. This is a nice book to introduce young children to immigrants.
Krissy Neddo
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes after reading reviews about this "timely topic." But was disappointed by so many b/w photographs. One reviewer mentioned they look like pictures from the 1970s and 80s. I agree. I have discarded several culture and country books from the 80s with similar dated photos from my library. Wonderful message in text but will take some discussion. Best shared with older students.
Mary Lee
Straight to my heart. We'll read this one over and over again, I'm sure. Maybe make our own version.
Julie Kirchner
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book, by local author John Coy and local photographer Wing Young Huie, is nominated for our state Star of the North award. On the first reading, I was immediately moved by the incredible photographs. Touching, thought provoking, and a perfect reflection of the beautiful fabric that is our country of immigrants. While I think much of the powerful impact of this book is lost on a younger audience, the excitement that came from my primary students as I explained what an immigrant is and their ...more
Mar 09, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is largely a collection of photos with minimal yet poignant text. The photos depict immigrants to the U.S., and I could imagine a reader pausing on each page to examine the photos and see themselves in the emotions, families, and settings. Each picture holds a story and invokes questions and conversations. Unfortunately, I am not sure how the photos will hold up over time. The mix of black-and-white photos with color photos didn't really work for me.

The lines . . .
"They made mistakes
Megan Martin
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful picture book with beautiful photos. It is written for second grade readers but should be read by all ages. It shows diversity among Americans who once were immigrants arriving to our nation with nothing and working their hardest so that their children can have a better future. I wish everyone to read the story. It shows the love for the idea America stands for to people around the world whose human rights don’t exist where they live. This is a must read book to show why our ...more
Zheling Zhang
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: immigration
The book is easy-to-read and has many great illustrations. It shows the diversity of the United States and contains a vision of hope for the future. They made mistakes, didn’t speak English, worked at difficult jobs, but they never give up. They always have hope and courage to begin their new lives. At the end of the book, the author and the illustrator tell us about their arrival stories and why they wanted to write the book.
Brian Walker
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-a-day-2017
I love the positive message and beautiful images for us to view and talk about. It is a wonderful way to start a conversation with your child about people who are different from you...and yet are just like you. The last image of the smiling little brown girl staring through to your soul is perfectly coupled with the last line of text, "What will we do with THEIR GREAT GIFT?" Ten stars for message and artistry.
This book is about the children of immigrants understanding and being grateful for the sacrifices and hard work of their ancestors. It’s about the trials and tribulations immigrants face in a new country, leaving behind family and friends, maybe not speaking the language, learning a new culture, struggling to make money and maybe sending some of it back to relatives in their native land.

The text is simplistic but effective and the photographs were varied and interesting.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"With lyrical text and thought-provoking photography,
Their Great Gift explores the experiences of immigrants in the twenty-first century, focusing on the lives of children. Images of families who came to the United States from many different parts of the world celebrate the diversity of our country and contain a vision of hope for the future."
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
This beautiful collection of photographs depicts immigrants from various walks of life and tells about the choices and sacrifices they make to have a better life. It is a great introduction to the topic of immigration for young children.
Nov 06, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was interesting because of the lesson it was trying to teach, but mostly because of the photography. I think illustrations would have made this book less serious, so I think the choice of photography was smart.
Nat Whitman
Using large spare text paired with color and black/white photos-Coy skillfully brings the reader into the lives, joys, and dreams shared by immigrants the world over. This powerful text humanizes the remarkable stories immigrants carry with them to new lands.
Jenny Larges
No AR rating as of 12/17

Both the writer and photographer live in Minneapolis. This is an awesome photo book of immigrants who share their story of sacrifice for "courage, sacrifice and hope in a new land"

I would use this book for social studies, diversity and family tree projects
Brandon O'Neill
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: youthlit
A beautiful reminder to us all when we are constantly bombarded with messages to fear "the other". We were all the other at one time or another.
Katie Lawrence
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Really beautifully done introduction to the concept of immigration and all the sacrifices and hopes it can involve. The photography is stunning and underscores the short text really well too.
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent exploration of immigrant lives through moving photographs with sparse yet powerful text. Highly recommended for grades 2 & up.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: homeschool
Simple, but nicely written. Will have 2nd graders read it on their own instead of having it as a read aloud.
"They kept going day after day so we'd have choices they didn't have."

Alison T. Johnson
Feb 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book felt forced and disjointed.
Brenda Kahn
This beautiful photoessay would make for a great discussion starter/ reminder.
Brandy T
3 1/2 stars

Story of immigration through pictures.
Learn your story and what you have to give back.
Miko Lee
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Amazing photo book about immigration. Diverse images help to shed light on the many faces of America.
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John Coy is the author of young adult novels, the 4 for 4 middle-grade series, and fiction and nonfiction picture books. John has received numerous awards for his work including a Marion Vannett Ridgway Award for best first picture book, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, Bank Street College Best Book of the Year, Notable Book for a Global Society, and the Burr/Warzalla Award for Distinguished ...more