Carry On: Poetry by Young Immigrants

Owlkids. Apr. 2021. 36p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781771474160.
Gr 6 Up–In this haunting collection of poems and portraits, new students at a high school in Outremont, Quebec, share their experience of immigrating to Canada. This collection offers a compelling look at the lives and feelings of student immigrants who originate from countries including Ukraine, Iran, South Korea, Colombia, and the Phillippines. The poems capture worry, excitement, fear, joy, sadness, and the complexities of leaving one life for another. While the experience of leaving and beginning anew is the thread that ties the volume together, the emotions appear in different ways within each poem. Portraits rendered in muted colors accompany the verses, with detailed faces and piercing eyes. Girard explains that the goal of each portrait was to illuminate the light within each student. This book can be taught on its own, highlighted in an art class on portraiture, or paired in the classroom with a novel about the immigrant experience, such as When the Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, Front Desk by Kelly Yang, or Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario.
VERDICT A strong choice. Recommended for middle and high school libraries and classroom collections.

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