Thursday, September 30, 2021

Our Stories Carried Us Here

Our Stories Carried Us is a graphic anthology of first-person narratives told by immigrants to the US. They came from a variety of countries, including Somalia, Myanmar, Jamaica, Guatemala, Chad, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Mexico, Vietnam, and Liberia. The reasons why they came are varied, and include the desire for freedom, safety, family, as well as economic and educational opportunities. Each tale is pretty journalistic in presentation, so they tell the facts in a fairly chronological way that is both accessible and moving. I learned a lot from reading this book, about global politics, immigration policy, and the lengths some people have to go through to protect themselves and their families. 

Illustration by Aziz Kamal, story by sunshine gao
Each story is illustrated by different artists, so they feature very different tones, styles, and coloring. They are all unique and interesting, and I love this book walking the walk and providing space to showcase a range of nationalities in terms of story and art. 

Illustration by Ana Hinojosa, story by Craig Moodie

As the child of immigrant parents, I found this book enlightening as to how people learn to deal with American culture. As an educator, I saw many opportunities for critical engagement with social issues. As a US citizen, I saw lots of information here that would enlighten others as to who wants to come to this country and why. I highly recommend this book.

This graphic anthology came from the work of Green Card Voices, a nonprofit organization the focuses on immigration and social justice issues and is based in Minnesota. To my knowledge none of the writers or artists have published graphic novels before. The book was edited by Tea Rozman Clark, Julie Vang, and Tom Kaczynski, and it features a cover by multiple award winner Nate Powell as well as a foreward by another multiple honor winner, Thi Bui.

I was not able to locate many reviews of this book, but the ones I have found have been positive. Brett at Graphic Policy said, "I'd love to see more of this," and offered potential avenues to expand on this project. It currently has a 4.58 (out of 5) star rating at Goodreads.

Our Stories Carried Us Here was published by Green Card Voices, and they offer a preview and more information about it here. The initial printing of this book was aided by a Kickstarter.

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