Review by Booklist Review
Presenting in terms as universal as stardust and as specific as Minneapolis, four (Coy, Shannon Gibney, Sun Yung Shin, and Diane Wilson) describe the common and varying elements of their backgrounds. Touching on evolution, the text begins by connecting all life on earth to single-celled organisms. A two-page spread then introduces four sets of feet, connected to larger images that demonstrate that the authors' stories relate respectively to Indigenous people, Korea, immigrants on a boat, and Africa. As the authors describe customs and beliefs of people from Ireland, Scotland, and Korea; consider the importance of plants and the land to Dakhota people; and remember the ancestors brought to America by force, they individually and collectively tell the story of how this country has developed and how many unique parts are reflected in people today. Four larger portraits at the end return to the image of footsteps, showing how the past contributes to the present. Children and adults will find much to study and contemplate in this unique and ambitious work.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 1--5--This title captures the universal and individual stories of four authors and their ancestors, both distant and recent. The authors identify as Dakota, Korean American, Black and Irish American, and Irish and Scottish American. Together they present the story of humanity and its development and struggle up to today. Readers will find myriad connections with their own stories and be encouraged to go and collect the stories that make up their history. Rich back matter adds, without overwhelming, to the understanding of this complex and captivating presentation of the human journey as experienced by these four authors and the illustrator. The illustrations capture images from the language as well as evocative emotion, filling the pages beautifully and extending the stories while simultaneously inviting readers to share their own images of family, ancestry, and connections. VERDICT Outstanding in all ways, this title deserves a place in most collections and adds a wonderful opportunity for upper elementary students (and higher!) to unpack our complicated histories.--John Scott
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Four authors tell their stories, not just of the places they lived, but of the history, culture, and spirit of their beings: where they truly come from. Initially, when describing humanity's commonalities, this poetic text begins, "We come from…" (stardust and single-celled organisms, etc.). Then the refrain becomes, "I come from…" for the remainder of the book, with the authors each sharing aspects of their own backgrounds. The four authors represent a diverse array of experiences (Wilson is Dakota, Shin is Korean American, Gibney is Black and Irish American, and Coy is Irish and Scottish American), describing places, folklore, history, and personal memories that range from painful to joyous, taking turns in fixed order without using names. Digital illustrations represent both the historical and spiritual aspects of the text, but many of the human figures lack details and don't engage emotionally. It's a tall order: Some pages address sweeping historical contexts, such as the European slave trade, while others mention specific details, such as Native American boarding schools or the Korean invention of movable type. Readers may be distracted by tracking which author is speaking, as the book offers neither clear delineations of voice nor a comprehensive cohesion of content and style. Rather, what emerges is a quilt of many details that gives the reader less a feeling of understanding one person than a sense of the rich tapestry that is America. (This book was reviewed digitally.) Individual details form a warm and inclusive, though scattered, view of humanity. (more information about where the authors come from, pronunciation guide, further reading, bibliography) (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.