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 Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
"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)
“Woodsons (Each Kindness) gentle, unpretentious writing and Ransomes eloquent artwork breathe life into this story of a close-knit African-American family and their pursuit of a better life. . . . The chronicle of a homely object in an age of disposables and the sense of place Woodson and Ransome evoke make this an especially strong and vibrant fictive memoir.”
“Expressive oil paintings illustrate the clean, well-cadenced text in scenes that include well-researched period details. . . . Theres no doubt of the warmth and strength of the family ties that bind these individuals together.”
“The rope becomes a symbol of family tradition and continuity against a backdrop of historical and social change. Woodsons understated but eloquent text gives specific details of one familys experience, while Ransomes rich oil paintings provide historical context.”
“A warm family saga of a household united by love, pride and an uncommon heirloom. The repetition of the title in a nursery-rhyme style will resonate with young listeners. Ransomes vivid, full-bleed, double-page-spread oil paintings create an upbeat, welcoming vista of rural South Carolina and urban Brooklyn. . . . A quiet affirmation of a strong and close-knit family that, along with so many other African-Americans, found a better life as part of the Great Migration.”
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.
-This immigration story is universal.- --School Library Journal, Starred
Dan Yaccarino's great-grandfather arrived at Ellis Island with a small shovel and his parents' good advice: -Work hard, but remember to enjoy life, and never forget your family.- With simple text and warm, colorful illustrations, Yaccarino recounts how the little shovel was passed down through four generations of this Italian-American family--along with the good advice.
It's a story that will have kids asking their parents and grandparents: Where did we come from? How did our family make the journey all the way to America?
-A shovel is just a shovel, but in Dan Yaccarino's hands it becomes a way to dig deep into the past and honor all those who helped make us who we are.- --Eric Rohmann, winner of the Caldecott Medal for My Friend Rabbit
-All the Way to America is a charmer. Yaccarino's heartwarming story rings clearly with truth, good cheer, and love.- --Tomie dePaola, winner of a Caldecott Honor Award for Strega Nona
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.