February 2016 Issue
January 27, 2016

Check it out: Amina's New Friends

Source: NYSUT United

By Anne O'Brien Carelli Illustrated by Roberta Collier-Morales

Check it Out: Amina’s New Friends bookcoverRecommended by: Wendy Menard, United Federation of Teachers, Midwood High School teacher, Brooklyn

Suitable for: grades K–3 and English as a New Language students

Why I chose this book: This is a touching story about a Somali refugee's first day at school. It enlightens the reader about refugees, and shows how children from around the world just want to make friends.

What I like best: The children in the story demonstrate ways to welcome any new student. Refugee and immigrant students of all ages in English as a New Language classes who are worried about their first days in an American school can relate to this story.

How teachers can use this book: It provides opportunities to discuss different cultures and how children around the world have similar emotions and goals. Students can practice the things in the story that help new students feel welcome. The website www.aminasnewfriends.com has resources for teachers and parents, and includes basic background information about refugees, along with first-person accounts of children and their experiences resettling in the United States.

About the author: Anne O'Brien Carelli is the creator of "Welcome to Our Schools," a program developed by the New York State Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance. It is used in New York schools to help refugee children adjust to American education.

About the illustrator: Roberta Collier- Morales is a children's book illustrator who also creates black-and-white sketches, children's art, cards and calligraphy. Visit www.robertacolliermorales.com.

"Check it Out" features books recommended to teachers and parents by school librarians and other educators. Have a recommendation? Send suggestions, along with your name and local union, to lfrenett@nysutmail.org.