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First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  270 ratings  ·  52 reviews
"Stories by eleven well-known authors touch on a variety of teen experiences, with enough attitude and angst to speak to young adults anywhere." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

Fleeing from political violence in Venezuela, Amina and her family have settled in the United States. Sarah, adopted, is desperate to know her Korean birth parents. Adrian’s friends have some spooky — and h
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Candlewick Press (first published September 9th 2004)
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Shaeley Santiago
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Shaeley by: #titletalk
A short stories collection around the theme of immigration. I was impressed that many different ethnicities were represented in this book. There was a Cambodian girl who worked in her father's furniture shop but dreamed of dancing again for her grandmother. There was a Swede whose father's business bought out a local paper mill, so his high school classmates took out their frustration on him. One story was about a Palestinian Arab playing quarterback for his Albuquerque, NM team. Another story i ...more
Kate Shanks
I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of 10 short stories. I feel like 6 out of the 10 would be suitable to use in the classroom as mentor texts. The four that I would not use are; "First Crossing", "Pulling Up Stakes", " The Rose of Sharon", and "Make Maddie Mad". "First Crossing" seems to encourage the immigration of illegal immigrants from Mexico without going through the legal process of becoming U.S. Citizens. It might open up an interesting debate, but the controversy and message may be a b ...more
Sierra Hunt
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
I didn’t really like this book to be honest. There wasn’t really a story that I loved and I thought a lot of them were just written in a really juvenile way. I mean, I am a bit older than the target audience, but all of these stories are about teenagers, but some of them are just written really young. Another issue that I had was that with a lot of these stories, I feel like I was just left wondering what the point was. Some of the stories I liked more than the others were: My Favorite Chaperone ...more
Ben Truong
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants is a collection of short stories assembled and edited by Donald R. Gallo. It is an anthology about being an immigrant from the teenaged perspective.

For the most part, I really like these contributions. Eleven well known authors write about the immigrant experience for teenagers. The stories are as different as the countries each immigrant comes from and completely absorbing. There are stories from Cambodia, Korea, Romania, Mexico, Venezuela, among ot
Sphinx Feathers
I enjoyed this book a lot! Although I picked it thinking it was nonfiction because it was incorrectly shelved, but it was still good and quite believable as an experience. Although there was one story I didn't enjoy compared to the others, it still wasn't bad. It is a swift read with a lot to offer both an adult and a teen reader.

POP Sugar Challenge: A book about an immigrant or refugee
Nov 01, 2016 rated it liked it
I originally put this book on my list last year thinking it was real life stories. When I picked up from the library, I saw it was a young adult realistic fiction. I was disappointed, only 3 stories were really interesting.
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These stories were able to quickly introduce me to another way of life, another way of looking at, engaging with, and experiencing the world. The more I live and read, the more I realize how little I know about any of it.
Kelly Nowotnik waldron
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gallo has captured stories from different authors to open the readers eyes to what some immigrants may deal with when coming to the US. Though the stories are fiction they are based off events in people’s lives. It is eye opening!
Oct 05, 2020 rated it liked it
A mixed bag of cultural and political make believe muck yuck. I’d love to read what these fine youth and young adult fiction writers could churn out not tethered to a reader expectation that doesn’t exist. Editor Gallo outta be ashamed!
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
Loved this collection of immigration stories about teens. Lots of diversity and authentic voices. Going to use as part of my curriculum next year.
Kate McCartney
There were some good short stories in here. The current immigrant narrative is not one that gets written about very often (even if this book is more than decade old this is still more current than most). Overall I enjoyed the stories. Some felt incomplete, but good short story writing is hard.

2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge - book about an immigrant or refugee
Ruby Rios
Mar 03, 2017 is currently reading it
So, so far in the book Amina and her family are in a sad moment and I dont know what happened because my teacher had to stop so hopefully i get to read the rest today.
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it

I enjoyed reading First Crossing edited by Donald R. Gallo. He found different stories about immigrant teens and how they came to the United States. One of the stories that I read was called First Crossing by Pam Munoz Ryan. It’s about a young boy and his father trying to cross the border to go to the United States to work and support their family in Mexico. The father and son had a difficult life working hard in the fields to help the family with food and clothes. In addition their work allowed
Katie Devaney
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
The range of different cultures represented in this book is fantastic. There was a chapter that connected with a majority of my EL students' backgrounds and/or experiences. This is a good read for teachers and EL students.
Sep 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Review originally posted on my old YA Materials blog.

What I have can never -- and should never be -- copyrighted. What has been passed on to me is harder than any hardware, softer than any software. A series of words, a sequence of movements -- a story, a dance, these things Grandma passed on to me, these things that are almost sacred in their simplicity. And they are mine, yet they belong to me only as much as the flame of a candle belongs to its wick. When the candle is melted away, the fla
Aug 20, 2013 marked it as to-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Quoting from the introduction: "this book includes...stories [from:] Mexican, Venezuelan, Kazakh, Chinese, Romanian, Palestinian, Swedish, Korean, Haitian and Cambodian [cultures:]. All these stories are fiction, though they have their basis in real-life events. Whether recounting or only mirroring real events, these stories show teenagers making their way across borders from there to here, by foot and by plane. You will see most of them struggling through school, fending off prejudice and misco ...more
Nov 30, 2010 rated it liked it

In this book, there was a wide variety of stories all focusing on the topic of teen immigrants living in America. When I was first reading this book, I was dreading the thought that all of the stories were going to be the same; about families sneaking into America. As I kept reading, I read through a variety of stories that all had different plots. For example, in one story the family from Haiti had been living in America for a long time, and the story was simp
Japheth Baugh
Jun 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
When assigned to read "First Crossing" by Donald R. Gallo I thought it would be another mediocre story about illegal immigramts. I later found it to be quite exciting. I found it interesting how the mexicans had to sneak in to the United States by any means necessary. I also found how the "coyote" or the person sneakin them into the States smuggled them in boxes, trunks, under cars and even in the hood of cars very interesting. The mexicans trying to cross the border risked the arrest of the bor ...more
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya
I really wanted to like this but the stories were hit and miss for me. I picked it up mostly because I wanted to read the story by Rita Williams-Garcia after reading One Crazy Summer , which, awesome book...maybe read that instead :)

Anyway, some of the stories were good but I found too many of them to be boring. The biggest problem I had, though, was that some of the stories -- mostly the ones written by authors who are not actually immigrants and/or from the cultures of the characters whose POV
Alex Templeton
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-mg
This was my latest attempt to read and gather good short stories for middle school kids. Unfortunately, I didn't find much good material here. I felt like much of the work was subpar in a literary sense, and/or written specifically for this collection rather than the writer's own need. Frankly, many of the pieces just seemed too clichéd or in some cases cutesy: I can't imagine some of the middle schoolers I've taught getting much out of them that they haven't heard before. I will note Alden Cart ...more
Heleina Conejos
Summary: Although there is an increasing amount of immigrants to the United States from all over the world, their stories are not frequently expressed. Teen voices talk about struggles with learning English, assimilation, and struggling living in two different cultures.

Classroom use: This anthology would be a useful tool in discussing the highly debatable issue of immigration in the United States in a high school United States history classroom. Students should know about the struggles others ha
Jan 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teen readers
A collection of ten short stories centered around teenage immigrants and some of the issues they face.

Just as in real life, the immigrants in these stories are from many different cultural backgrounds and come to live in America for a wide variety of reasons. Some of the highlights: "First Crossing" about a Mexican boy's first illegal trip into the US; "Pulling Up Stakes" about a Transylvanian boy who finds himself befriended by a group of vampire-loving goth kids; "The Green Armchair" about a y
Jun 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really appreciated the diversity of perspectives in this collection of stories about teen immigrants and also the quality of writing given that these stories are written by real writers such as Pam Munoz Ryan and Minfong Ho. I also loved the fact that, in each story, the characters grow and become better people in one way or another. The fact that they are immigrants is a central characteristic, but it is only one piece of the larger puzzle of navigating the complex world of families, school, ...more
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. It was kinda how I envision one of those 'culture days' would be like in school (We never really had those days in the schools I attended). It was like every turn of the page was a new experience just waiting to be had. I chuckled, I sympathized, my eyes misted, I remembered. It was great to read stories from male and female perspectives, to feel the sense of triumph they felt when they accomplished something or when they overcame an obstacle. Though these were works of fictio ...more
Allison Z.
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first short story anthology I read, and fortunately for me, it did not disappoint. First Crossing gave me new perspective, writing about people from many different places, all moving to America. Reading about people going back and forth from Mexico to America and then Mexico again to earn enough money made me more sympathetic and less judgmental towards people who are less fortunate. I also enjoyed the variety in the stories, some being about different culture, others about the proc ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
In general,the book has very interesting stories in it and different chapters. The main characters are Adrian,his family and his friends in school.It's about teens who are from different country and new to america. At the beginning, life was hard for them because,they don't know the language, they are not familiar with the culture and the people's behaviors. After a lot of struggles, the family started to get used to it,they even make new American friends and introduce them to their own culture. ...more
Michelle Stimpson
Oct 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Like any anthology of stories, this is a mixed bag of great stories and stories I didn't like so much . . . it all averages out to three stars. Each story is about a young person who has immigrated to the United States.

I think my students will particularly like "First Crossing" by Pam Munoz Ryan, about a boy whose father migrates between Mexico and the United States.

My personal favorite was "Pulling Up Stakes" by David Lubar. A young man moves to Alaska from Transylvania. This funny read takes
Jun 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone, including my English language learners
This was on a high school reading list in Philadelphia for the summer of '08. I liked it alot. It is very accessible to students because each of the short stories stands alone. Each of the short stories is written by a different author, focuses on a particular challenge that teen immigrants face, and describes how a certain teen overcomes the challenge. A range of countries and cultures are represented. I was a little disappointed to find that the stories themselves are not true, although they a ...more
I had hoped this would be a collection of nonfiction accounts, so I had to let go of that disappointment to properly receive this book. As a collection of short stories by different authors, quality of the material ranges from okay to really good. Some take a lighthearted approach to the material, and some get in to the gritty reality (both of entry into the country and acts of discrimination), but overall I feel it provides a good overview of the teen immigrant experience. Favorite stories: "Fi ...more
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"Stories about journeys have interested readers since the beginning of language," says Donald R. Gallo of DESTINATION UNEXPECTED, his critically acclaimed anthology of short stories by prominent writers of young adult fiction. "Arriving at the destination is the goal, certainly, but the experiences during the journey itself are what transform the character. The most important experiences are often ...more

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