Here I Am by Patti Kim

Title: Here I Am
Author: Patti Kim
Illustrator: Sonia Sánchez
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Expected Release: September 1, 2013
Source: publisher (NetGalley)

Synopsis (from NetGalley):

Newly arrived from their faraway homeland, a boy and his family enter into the lights, noise, and traffic of a busy American city. The language is unfamiliar. Food, habits, games, and gestures are puzzling. They boy clings tightly to his special keepsake from home and wonders how he will find his way. How will he once again become the happy, confident kid he used to be? Walk in his shoes as he takes the first tentative steps toward discovering joy in his new world. For ages 5-9.

I opened Here I Am on my e-reader and, because I didn’t read the synopsis closely enough, I was surprised to find that the story is told completely in pictures. There is no text whatsoever!

And it moved me to tears. The concept of portraying a child’s experience of moving to a foreign land is brilliantly executed. I think my favorite part is how the signs around him – in town, in school – are complete gibberish at first, and slowly become more clear as time passes.

The artwork is just stunning. It captures every feeling and new experience perfectly: lonely, overwhelmed, excited, curious, happy. The sights and smells and even motion felt so real when looking at these pages! Sanchez is a truly gifted illustrator.

I remember feeling many of the same emotions as the boy in this story when my family moved to Italy when I was a kid. Here I Am is an encouraging book for children of immigrants, expats, or even members of the military, whether the family is moving to the United States or leaving it to live somewhere overseas.

I encourage you to watch the beautiful book trailer and see for yourself:

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

Have you ever lived overseas? What was that first week or so like?