Synopses & Reviews
The story of one family’s journey north during the Great Migration starts with a little girl in South Carolina who finds a rope under a tree one summer. She has no idea the rope will become part of her family’s history. But for three generations, that rope is passed down, used for everything from jump rope games to tying suitcases onto a car for the big move north to New York City, and even for a family reunion where that first little girl is now a grandmother.
Newbery Honor–winning author Jacqueline Woodson and Coretta Scott King Award–winning illustrator James Ransome use the rope to frame a thoughtful and moving story as readers follow the little girl’s journey. During the time of the Great Migration, millions of African American families relocated from the South, seeking better opportunities. With grace and poignancy, Woodson’s lilting storytelling and Ransome’s masterful oil paintings of country and city life tell a rich story of a family adapting to change as they hold on to the past and embrace the future.
"In this affectionate personal history, Yaccarino (Lawn to Lawn) traces his ancestry from Sorrento, Italy, to New York City. He links the generations with a humble hand-me-down: a hefty gray grocer's scoop pictured in nearly every spread. The narrative starts with the author's great-grandfather, Michele Iaccarino, who boards a ship for America with the shovel, 'their few family photographs and recipe for tomato sauce.' In the U.S., he goes by Michael Yaccarino and uses the scoop at his pushcart stand. Later, his son 'measures beans, macaroni, and olives' with the scoop, then opens a restaurant featuring the family's tomato sauce. Rather than give dates, Yaccarino shows the passage of time as the shovel passes from fathers to sons, and the respect given the object signals family pride. On snowy days at his father's barbershop, the shovel is 'used... to pour rock salt over the sidewalk,' and Yaccarino's author photo pictures him with the well-traveled tool. He celebrates classic bootstrap success, subtly incorporating red, white, and green in his palette. Folksy and warm, this is a timely reminder that America is a nation of immigrants. Ages 5 9. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
This is the story of four generations of an Italian American family. It begins with an immigrant who came through Ellis Island with big dreams, a small shovel, and his parents' good advice: "Work hard, but remember to enjoy life, and never forget your family."
Now, many years later, the man's great-grandson, Dan Yaccarino, tells how he succeeded, and how the little shovel has been passed from father to son—along with the good advice.
It's a story that captures the experience of so many American families. One that will have kids asking their parents and grandparents, where did we come from? Tell me our story.
About the Author
Jacqueline Woodson (www.jacquelinewoodson.com) is the winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award for Miracle’s Boys and three Newbery Honor awards (for After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers and Show Way), and a two-time finalist for the National Book Award, for Locomotion and Hush. Other awards include the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and three Coretta Scott King Honors. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.
James Ransome (www.jamesransome.com) has illustrated more than fifty books for children and won the Coretta Scott King Award for The Creation (by James Weldon Johnson). His work has also earned him a Coretta Scott King Honor, IBBY Honour, ALA Notable, NAACP Image Award, Bank Street Best Book of the Year, and Rip Van Winkle Award. He lives in upstate New York with his wife, author Lesa Cline-Ransome, and their family.