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Welcome to the New World

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,089 ratings  ·  208 reviews
Now in a full-length book, the New York Times Pulitzer Prize–winning graphic story of a refugee family who fled the civil war in Syria to make a new life in America

After escaping a Syrian prison, Ibrahim Aldabaan and his family fled the country to seek protection in America. Among the few refugees to receive visas, they finally landed in JFK airport on November 8, 2016, El
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 8th 2020 by Metropolitan Books (first published October 26th 2017)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,089 ratings  ·  208 reviews

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Dec 16, 2020 rated it liked it
I have been enjoying a lot of non-fiction based or fiction based on non-fiction graphic novels lately. This falls into the first category and is a retelling of the life of a Syrian refugee family around the time of the 2016 United States presidential election. This is a good story to read for a white, middle American male like me who was not as fully aware of the plight and worries of refugees in the shadow of an incoming administration very vocally planning to close borders; it led some to vill ...more
Dave Schaafsma
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Based on the Pulitzer-prize winning comics journalism of NY Times reporter Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan and expanded from that, based on three years of their working with Ibrahim Aldabaan and his family, who fled Syria to seek protection in America. There is a tendency for a lot of people around the world to shut down when the overwhelming subject of immigration/refugees comes up: "What should we do? It all seem
Elizabeth A
Nov 09, 2020 rated it liked it
2020 Nonfiction November Book #3.

I'm an immigrant, but not a refugee, and that's an important distinction. This graphic story was initially published in the New York Times and won a Pulitzer. It's the true story of a Syrian refugee family who land at JKF on November 8, 2016 - election day that puts Trump in the White House. The family is resettled in Connecticut, and there are some of the expected difficulties of an uprooted family trying to make a new home.

I didn't particularity like the illus
Rod Brown
Oct 19, 2020 rated it liked it
On the very day Donald Trump is elected U.S. President, Muslim refugees from the Syrian civil war make their way from Jordan to Connecticut, hoping for a new and better life free from want and danger but coping when reality offers them more of a muddle. Their story is told by a journalist with the New York Times and originally appeared as a serialized comic strip in the paper, winning the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning.

The story does a good job of capturing the vertigo of leaving behind
Toya (the reading chemist)
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
These are the type of stories that I hate having to rate because this is a true story based off of surviving Trump’s US as refugees from Syria.

It infuriates me to no end that the United States has been sold as this all inclusive resort package that accepts people from all creeds. That is an absolute lie and is exactly what plays out in this poignant graphic novel. There’s a scene where the son Naji has these grandiose dreams of what it must be like to be a child raised in the US where you’re sur
Jessica Haider
Welcome to the New World is a short graphic novel about a family of Syrian refugees who move to Connecticut. Ibrahim Aldabaan, his wife and 2 children escaped war-torn Syria via Jordan and moved to the US on the eve of Trump's election in 2016. The American political situation makes them nervous but America still promises a safer life than in Syria. They work with an agency who provides them with a sponsor and guidance for 3 months. The family works to settle into their new life in America. The ...more
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This is an amazing story of a family of refugees from Syria who arrive in America the day that the current occupant in the white house, won the election.

It is truly a heart breaking story. There is hope, but most of it is sorrow, and the book ends earlier than the same story it is based on, that ran in the New York Times.

The characters are all very real, because the author based them on real people. He has been with them since they arrived in the U.S., and been telling their story, up until the
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
My GR shelves are filled with books on the Syrian refugee crisis. I've been following it for years.
Welcome to the New World sounded interesting and unique to me because it chronicled what happens once refugees are resettled, specifically in America. Knowing this story was based on the journey of a real refugee family gave me hope it would be authentic and do justice to the plight of so many others.

And I think it accomplished that. Author Jake Halpern spent years following this family, and he m
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 30, 2020 rated it liked it
A great look into the life of a refugee in the time of the 2016 elections, where the president coming in clearly made things very difficult for refugees. It is definitely a topic I find very important.

I enjoyed it for the most part, getting a small glimpse into the insecurity and fear of people immigrating to America. As someone who was lucky not to experience something like this, I think it gives perspective on something that so many take for granted.

The story didn't flow particularly well, but
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Welcome to the New World by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan is the coolest journalism piece I have ever seen in my life. When I first began reading, it reminded me a lot of George Takei’s ’They Called Us Enemy’ in its raw storytelling using majority black and white illustrations.

This nonfiction graphic novel follows the story of a refugee family who fled the civil war in Syria to make a new life in the United States. This family, unfortunately, arrived the day Donald Trump becomes president and
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I was especially glad to have read this in the Time of Quarantine because it affected how I experienced the part where our main characters - a Syrian family - stay sequestered in their nice middle class home in Homs, Syria as bombs explode around them, agents of Assad roam the streets making arrests, and their food and money supplies dwindle. The feeling many of us have had of fear and anxiety and feeling trapped in the time of COVID are valid feelings, but this graphic novels shows how the
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So glad I won this in a giveaway, this was original, informative, and a catalyst for empathy!

While I’ve heard talk about the Syrian civil war and refugees in the news before, I had no idea what actually happens when refugees come to the US, and I am grateful that this book has reduced my ignorance.

Reading from the perspective of one family makes the story very clear and compelling. I also enjoyed the illustrations and felt that they balanced the reading experience since the family’s hardships a
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked this very much, however I felt it ended rather abruptly with no resolution...which actually could be the point.


Read this a second time but didn’t realize it for sure until I saw it on Goodreads. I thought portions were vaguely familiar. Anyway, I must hat liked it more back in April 2020 because I gave it 4 stars and thought I’d only give it 2.5 this time around. It puts a human face on the plight of Syrian refugees for sure, but I found all the interlocking family members a bit perp
The stark, black-and-white art tells the Aldabaan family story as they become refugees in the US on exactly the day Trump was elected. From Syria to Jordan to Connecticut, this is a quietly powerful story.
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Read more graphic novel reviews at www.graphiclibrary.org.

In the Fall of 2016, the Aldabaan family receives word that they have been approved to travel from Jordan to the United States. Brothers Ibrahim and Issa are able to emigrate with their families, but they are leaving behind their mother and another brother and family. This is after they have all fled war-torn Syria. The eldest son, Naji, can't wait for the family to start their new lives in the United States, but the political climate has
Cherlynn (cherreading)
I can't believe this book has only 15 ratings on Goodreads! Pick it up if you can!

This is a raw and powerful graphic novel based on a true account. It follows a real-life family of 5 who are in Jordan after having fled the Syrian war and are now preparing to leave for America... which soon elects Trump as its president.

The book did a wonderful job in highlighting the struggles of refugees and immigrants as they try to get settled in a foreign land and stand on their own two feet, all the while c
Deborah Zeman
This graphic novel takes a hard look at the struggles of a family of Syrian refugees who arrive in the US on the day of the 2016 Presidential election. The author showcases both teen and parent struggle of trying to fit in, the desire of achieving the American Dream, the worry of how long they will receive help from their sponsors, and the realization that they do not fit in, no matter how hard they try. The drawings are kept to a minimum, with only black and white used, so they don't take away ...more
Mrs C
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A humbling and eye-opening account from the eyes of a Syrian refugee family. The spare but pleasing artwork works well with the story. This is an excellent addition to both adult and YA collections.

Thanks to the publisher for the early access to the book.
Oct 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
“Welcome to the New World” is based on journalist Jake Halpern’s account of a Syrian family’s experiences as they land in America just as Trump is on his way to being President. Ibrahim Aldabaan, his wife, and 5 children escape the Syrian war and reach Connecticut where they’re provided with initial support to settle in. But the clock is ticking. They need to be financially independent and blend in within the next 3 to 4 months.

Life was tough in Syria but it’s not easy in America either for the
Mar 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
It is an actual story of a refugee family, who landed in the US on the day when Donald Trump won the election. It shows the life of people who come from other countries in the hope of living a better life, but end up having a difficult one where they struggle with the new place and new policies. Their life was horrible where they were living earlier because nobody would leave their own country just like that unless they have a life threat. But coming to a new place comes with its own set of solu ...more
Mateen Mahboubi
Dec 13, 2020 rated it liked it
A story of a family of refugees settling in a post-2016 USA and the challenges associated with it. Shortly after reading this, I heard a podcast about the same family and probably connected to that a bit better than this book. Ultimately it's well made but doesn't really take advantage of the medium. The story itself is helpful to understand the challenges of leaving home and the barriers that face you when you arrive to a new place, despite the best efforts of those who want to help. ...more
By Book and Bone
Aug 02, 2021 rated it liked it
The later portion/last two chapters of this graphic novel are very good but unfortunately over all it's quite middling.
Despite this being a true story and real people, it felt as though we were held at arms length from 2D characters. It's an odd experience.

I think that a lot of this is to do with it being written by a journalist. The graphic novel format just didn't work for the most part.
Having said that, it's not bad and has good moments. The illustrations are great too.
Laura Stamp
Feb 15, 2022 rated it really liked it
Graphically illustrated journalism — tells the story of a family that immigrated from Jordan during the Trump years. I love the big problems they face as well as the problems that the kids think are so important, like puberty and talking to girls. This book should be required reading for middle school and high school.
Aug 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Seeing the struggle of a local immigrant was interesting.
Sep 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
really gives you an understanding of what its like being a refugee - what that's like for the immigrants and the people who help them. :) ...more
Feb 27, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 ⭐⭐⭐

This is a graphic novel depicting the struggles and hardships refugees face when arriving in the U.S. It's mostly fact based, as explained by the author/journalist, Jake Halpern. This format is more "easily digestible" and "user friendly" than watching the news or other outlets but the story & art convey a very simple and heart touching truth - there is no easy fix to anyone's problems. But also, it showcases the unrealistic idea that other countries have featuring America as some "Promis
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-giveaway
Even though this graphic novel is less than 100 pages long, you come to care about the different members of the Aldabaan family. In addition, Halpern very skillfully shows the complexity of emotions and the challenges refugees face when they come to the US; especially for those who have come in more recent years.

The art style complimented the story very well. It was in some ways minimalistic: just black and white with usually just as much background detail as needed to convey location, etc. But,
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars -- Based on a real-life family's experiences, a couple and their five children flee civil war in Syria and attempt to make a new life in America.

This is a fantastic graphic book, and really shows off how this format can connect with readers. It will be difficult for readers to think of all immigrants and refugees in a dismissive way after reading of this family's struggles and triumphs in an unfamiliar land. Indeed, the story challenges prejudices both ways--some of the Aldabaan famil
Rabbia Riaz
Such a tragic story of the two refugee families from Syria.
America helped them,no doubt,but they lost their actual homes.Alas!
At the end there was no mother(granny) but only keys.
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