A timely and timeless picture book about immigration that demonstrates the power of diversity, acceptance, and tolerance from a gifted storyteller.
An ALSC Notable Children’s Book of 2021
A Kirkus Best Books of 2020
A School Library Journal Best Books of 2020
Winner of the 2021 Ohioana Book Award
An Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award, 2022
“An engaging, beautiful, and memorable book.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Lush illustrations and a strong message of hope and perseverance make this a standout title.” —School Library Journal, starred review
When I first came to this country, I felt so alone.
A young immigrant girl joins her aunt and uncle in a new country that is unfamiliar to her. She struggles with loneliness, with a fierce longing for the culture and familiarity of home, until one day, her aunt takes her on a walk. As the duo strolls through their city park, the girl’s aunt begins to tell her an old myth, and a story within the story begins.
A long time ago, a group of refugees arrived on a foreign shore. The local king met them, determined to refuse their request for refuge. But there was a language barrier, so the king filled a glass with milk and pointed to it as a way of saying that the land was full and couldn’t accommodate the strangers. Then, the leader of the refugees dissolved sugar in the glass of milk. His message was clear: Like sugar in milk, our presence in your country will sweeten your lives. The king embraced the refugee, welcoming him and his people. The folktale depicted in this book was a part of author Thrity Umrigar’s Zoroastrian upbringing as a Parsi child in India, but resonates for children of all backgrounds, especially those coming to a new homeland.