The Children's Bookshelf Reviews "Welcome to America, Champ"
The Children's Bookshelf (Jun 2013)
Welcome to America, Champ, written by Catherine Stier and illustrated by Doris Ettlinger, is a beautifully detailed story of young Thomas and his widowed mother who marries a young soldier stationed in England during World War II. Readers will delight in the celebration of the wedding of Thomas’s mother and the young soldier, Jack and a relationship that develops between Jack and young Thomas.
Thomas knows that when the war is over, he and his mother will move far away to America and while he is excited, it makes him sad to think about leaving his grandparents. While the war continues, Jack is sent away to fight and during his absence Thomas’s new brother is born. Soon after that, they learn that the war has ended and that Jack is safe back in the United States. During the next several months, Thomas, his mother and his new baby brother, Ronnie, receive letters from Jack with the promise of their move across the sea.
When the word finally arrives of their departure to America, Thomas, his mother, and baby Ronnie prepare for their trip. His grandparents throw a going away party and his grandfather gives Thomas some beautiful carvings to take with him on his journey. They will spend five days at sea on their trip to America. During that time, Thomas makes friends with a young girl named Lucy who is also traveling to America. Early in the morning on the fifth day, someone raps on the cabin door to tell them that they can see the statue of liberty. As Thomas and his friend Lucy look at Lady Liberty, they realize that they are nearly to the shores of their new home. Hours later, a soldier with a microphone calls out his mom’s name and as they walked down the gangway, a band plays and they see Jack wave. Within moments, Jack embraces his soldier bride and sons completing the journey of immigration.
Readers also learn that tens of thousands of soldier brides across the Atlantic in much the same way as Thomas and his mother did. These brides king from over 50 countries and left their homes to start new lives with their soldier husbands in United States.
Catherine Stier provides readers with another look at immigration and its impact on families, while the stunning illustrations done by Doris Ettlinger provide a beautiful backdrop to this narrative.
Welcome to America, Champ, written by Catherine Stier and illustrated by Doris Ettlinger is an important piece of historical fiction and is appropriate for ages 6 to 10.