Reading.org Reviews "Welcome to America, Champ!"
Reading.org (Apr 2013)
As WWII ends Thomas, his mother, and his new baby brother leave their home in England to join his new family in the United States. Thomas’s stepfather is a soldier, and while Thomas looks forward to his new life in Chicago, he is anxious about what things will be like in his new school and new home. Before leaving his familiar surroundings, he questions his stepfather about what things are like in the United States, and takes notes on scraps of paper to help him navigate a new world. While he draws strength from the notes, he also helps encourage an anxious young fellow passenger with a special gift that has given him encouragement. The softly-colored illustrations and inviting text pay tribute to war brides and their families and the sacrifices they made in coming to America. Young readers will quickly identify with Thomas’s mingled fears and excitement as they realize that moving to a new country offers challenges as well as hope for the future. Although readers may know about the existence of war brides, they are unlikely to realize that there were so many of them and that the movement of these women to their new homes was known as “Operation Diaper Run.” Filled with colorful illustrations and text, the book effectively evokes the particular time when citizens across the world celebrated the end of a bloody war. That universal feeling of hope pulses through this title.
—Barbara A. Ward, Washington State University Pullman