The Arrival

Book review by Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Arrival Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 9+

Wordless immigrant story is a visual masterpiece.

Parents say

age 8+

Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 9+

Based on 3 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Moving, hopeful, and timely.

This is a true graphic novel (no text) that visually tells the story of a man who immigrates to another place in order to make a better life for himself, and eventually, his family (wife and child). As you know, this is an incredibly important and timely issue. This is a longer book, so this will probably take more than one reading with your child. What is wonderful about this book is that though the story is relatable to the real world, the setting is not. Because of the ‘imaginativeness’ of the world in which the character goes from and to, this becomes another LOW STAKES TEXT for you and your child. There are also lovely ‘pet’-like creatures that your child will delight in.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
not rated for age

Visually stunning; immerses viewer in immigrant disorientation, fears, hope

An amazing, beautiful work; deeply affecting. But I got this for myself, not for kids -- it won't necessarily be accessible to younger viewers. There are a few potentially disturbing images of just what various immigrants were fleeing. And note that the overall atmosphere/depiction of immigration is of going to a land where everything is strange and changed and slightly mysterious -- the script, the transportation, the food, the animals, the machines, the musical instruments, everything. The viewer him/herself is thereby experiencing what the immigrant experiences: the wonder, confusion, and disorientation of being in this strange new land. That's a powerful experience for the viewer with the context to understand it, but could be just baffling or off-putting for a younger kid. Despite some sad and scary memories of immigrants from various backgrounds, and difficulties and surprises in communicating, the main character finds help from other characters, and does eventually get to send for, and be re-united with, his family, so it has a positive message. If you look through it with a kid, to explain it, I could recommend it for 8+; otherwise, for viewing alone, depending on a kid's familiarity with immigrant experience, a kid might need to be quite a bit older (12+?) to appreciate it.

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