The Arrival, a story about a man’s journey from his home to a new and foreign land, is told only through drawings. The reader follows the man as he leaves his wife and daughter to begin a new life in a new and unusual city. He travels across a vast ocean only to be thrown into a world he doesn’t understand with a language he can’t decipher. He must find a place to live, food to eat, and a job to gain income in order to survive and thrive in this new world. Along the way, he must reach out to people for help, and he soon comes to realize that while some people are not keen to aid outsiders, there are people who understand where he is coming from and are eager to assist him. His persistence is what ultimately allows him to settle into this new world and establishes a life that his wife and daughter can easily join.
Besides persistence, the other main theme that struck me what the idea of belonging. The man in the story is so lost and disoriented when he comes to this new place, and he struggles to feel comfortable and secure. However, while he’s trying to establish his new life in this strange place, he meets people that he can connect with and understand where he is coming from. He begins to prosper once he finds others who know what it’s like to be an outsider because he finds his “niche “. This reminds me a lot of the stories my grandfather and grandmother tell me about my great grandparents who immigrated form Italy to the United States. While their story is a little different than the man in the books (they knew people who were already in the US), they still had to overcome the feeling of being ostracized just because they were not American. It took a while for my family to finally feel settled in America, but what finally made them feel like they belonged was finding a group of people who understood their struggles and could relate to the pain and homesickness they felt.
While I thought this picture book was a little intense for young children, I think that it’s true when they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. The illustrator does a great job of detailing emotion in the characters’ faces, and I think these pictures would be a great tool for teaching children about emotions instead of using the usual cartoon faces. This allows them to see it on a near human face.