Coming To America
I've seen many adults confused and sometimes threatened by the
differences they perceive in Muslim immigrants. With the inflamatory
rhetoric coming out of the White House these days, I worry that fear
of differences will become even more divisive and prejudice will be
handed down from generation to generation.
Bernard Wolf's Coming To America: A Muslim Family's Story is perfect
to reassure children about kids that may become neighbors or classmates.
Rowan Mahmoud is an 8-year-old who lives with her parents and
older siblings. She helps her mother cook supper, watches television
with her sister, Dina, and loves summer vacation. She makes a special
Father's Day card for her dad. In many ways she is like the young
readers who will meet her.
In some ways, though, she is different from them. At times she
misses Egypt and the friends and family members she left behind. Her
parents had not been able to earn enough, even as professionals, to
provide for their family. Her father was the first to immigrate to
America. It took him four years of hard work before he was able to
send for his beloved family.
Coming To America is a good book for youth groups or
homeschooling families. It can lead to stimulating discussion
questions. How did your ancestors come to America? What do you think
they might have found confusing or frightening? What would you hope
for and miss most if you had to make a similar journey? Out of all
your possessions, which would you take and why?
On a personal note, last week Wilson Center and a bunch of other faith
organizations put on a panel discussion featuring people from a wide
range of faith traditions. The theme was can we coexist. There were
a bunch of thoughtful questions each speaker answered. It was easy to
see the respect they had for one another. Although the program was in
a big auditorium the place was packed with people standing in the
back. The only complaint I heard was that it should have gone
longer. There was plenty of good food. We need more programs like
this to break down fears and misperceptions, particularly those that
let us be manipulated by those in power.
A great big shout out goes out to all who participated.
Sent from my iPod