Books for Kids to Read – The Arrival By Shaun Tan – BigKidSmallCity Book Reviews

This is Felicia! My girls and I love exploring Houston and we love to read.  I recently heard that reading can prevent dementia.  I hope that this applies to adults reading lots and lots of children books.

This review is of The Arrival by Shaun Tan.

I was lucky enough to be thought of by a friend, who gave us The Arrival, for my girl’s birthdays.  My girls have the same exact birthday, 2 years apart. I don’t like to brag, but apparently I have a very organized and prompt uterus.

This wordless, graphic novel is one of the most brilliant books that I have ever come across. I do not believe that I can review it in a manner that it deserves.  With powerful silence and bewitching art, the author tells an enchanting tale of an immigrant, who comes alone to a bizarre, scary and beautiful new land to give his family a fresh start. He encounters a new language, food, traditions, customs and other immigrants, all with their stories to share.


This is all conveyed without a single written word. Each drawing convincingly evokes strong emotions and is a puzzle piece in this visual book. The plot is so interesting that it is quite easy to sweep from page to page, but I highly recommend savoring each and every surreal, graphic cell. Even if your child is not a big reader, he/she will still be mesmerized by the immigrant’s journey.

I loved this book for two reasons. One, my husband’s family immigrated to the United States from Venezuela and this book gave both of my children (4 and 6 at the time) insight into some of his families struggles as strangers in a new land. There are several parts that remind my husband of tales that his father has passed down to him. Two, we reread over and over again the summer before my girls both started a new school. We wondered if they would feel like the main character in the book as they both would begin to acclimate themselves to a different campus and make new friends.

This is our very first Shaun Tan book. I look forward to ordering more. Also, I would love, love, love to see this book made into an animated short film. Anyone?

Go HERE to get your own copy!

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