Parents' Guide to

The Arrival

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Wordless immigrant story is a visual masterpiece.

The Arrival Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

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.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (3 ):

THE ARRIVAL has been called a graphic novel, but it bears little resemblance to others of that genre. It's completely wordless, and the pictures are a cross between scrapbook photos and storyboards for a silent movie. Done, incredibly, entirely in pencil and tinted in sepia tones, it's visually almost entirely metaphorical -- only the people, an array of nationalities and ethnicities, are recognizable. Everything else is designed to engender in the reader the same kind of awe and confusion that an immigrant might feel upon first arriving in a strange new country.

The Arrival is aimed at older children and adults, and kids will need some help from parents if they're to get anything out of it. It assumes a high degree of visual literacy, as well as familiarity with the immigrant experience. Even for older readers, it rewards repeat viewing and careful poring over and pondering of each frame. This brilliant and gorgeous book is in the vanguard of an evolution in literary and artistic forms. With the success of this book and others like it, we are likely to see a blossoming of new shoots and branches on the literary tree. If this is an example of the new directions they will take, long may they grow.

Book Details

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