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Now in a full-length book, the New York Times Pulitzer Prize–winning graphic story of a refugee family who fled the civil war in Syria to make a new life in America After escaping a Syrian prison, Ibrahim Aldabaan and his family fled the country to seek protection in America. Among the few refugees to receive visas, they finally landed in JFK airport on November 8, 2016, El Now in a full-length book, the New York Times Pulitzer Prize–winning graphic story of a refugee family who fled the civil war in Syria to make a new life in America After escaping a Syrian prison, Ibrahim Aldabaan and his family fled the country to seek protection in America. Among the few refugees to receive visas, they finally landed in JFK airport on November 8, 2016, Election Day. The family had reached a safe harbor, but woke up to the world of Donald Trump and a Muslim ban that would sever them from the grandmother, brothers, sisters, and cousins stranded in exile in Jordan. Welcome to the New World tells the Aldabaans’ story. Resettled in Connecticut with little English, few friends, and even less money, the family of seven strive to create something like home. As a blur of language classes, job-training programs, and the fearsome first days of high school (with hijab) give way to normalcy, the Aldabaans are lulled into a sense of security. A white van cruising slowly past the house prompts some unease, which erupts into full terror when the family receives a death threat and is forced to flee and start all over yet again. The America in which the Aldabaans must make their way is by turns kind and ignorant, generous and cruel, uplifting and heartbreaking. Delivered with warmth and intimacy, Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan's Welcome to the New World is a wholly original view of the immigrant experience, revealing not only the trials and successes of one family but showing the spirit of a town and a country, for good and bad.


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Now in a full-length book, the New York Times Pulitzer Prize–winning graphic story of a refugee family who fled the civil war in Syria to make a new life in America After escaping a Syrian prison, Ibrahim Aldabaan and his family fled the country to seek protection in America. Among the few refugees to receive visas, they finally landed in JFK airport on November 8, 2016, El Now in a full-length book, the New York Times Pulitzer Prize–winning graphic story of a refugee family who fled the civil war in Syria to make a new life in America After escaping a Syrian prison, Ibrahim Aldabaan and his family fled the country to seek protection in America. Among the few refugees to receive visas, they finally landed in JFK airport on November 8, 2016, Election Day. The family had reached a safe harbor, but woke up to the world of Donald Trump and a Muslim ban that would sever them from the grandmother, brothers, sisters, and cousins stranded in exile in Jordan. Welcome to the New World tells the Aldabaans’ story. Resettled in Connecticut with little English, few friends, and even less money, the family of seven strive to create something like home. As a blur of language classes, job-training programs, and the fearsome first days of high school (with hijab) give way to normalcy, the Aldabaans are lulled into a sense of security. A white van cruising slowly past the house prompts some unease, which erupts into full terror when the family receives a death threat and is forced to flee and start all over yet again. The America in which the Aldabaans must make their way is by turns kind and ignorant, generous and cruel, uplifting and heartbreaking. Delivered with warmth and intimacy, Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan's Welcome to the New World is a wholly original view of the immigrant experience, revealing not only the trials and successes of one family but showing the spirit of a town and a country, for good and bad.

30 review for Welcome to the New World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    I have been enjoying a lot of non-fiction based or fiction based on non-fiction graphic novels lately. This falls into the first category and is a retelling of the life of a Syrian refugee family around the time of the 2016 United States presidential election. This is a good story to read for a white, middle American male like me who was not as fully aware of the plight and worries of refugees in the shadow of an incoming administration very vocally planning to close borders; it led some to vill I have been enjoying a lot of non-fiction based or fiction based on non-fiction graphic novels lately. This falls into the first category and is a retelling of the life of a Syrian refugee family around the time of the 2016 United States presidential election. This is a good story to read for a white, middle American male like me who was not as fully aware of the plight and worries of refugees in the shadow of an incoming administration very vocally planning to close borders; it led some to villainize and threaten people from other countries and cultures to an extent I was not fully aware of. One of the tough things about a story like this is that my anxiety really acts up when I hear true stories of people being awful to each other. It is one of the reasons I have backed away from the news and most social media in 2020 – just too much hate! I don’t understand why it has become more normalized to be mean to each other. I know there are many thoughts and opinions on this, and it is not my intention to begin a political discussion, that will just get my anxiety going even more. But, to willingly read a story taking me out of my comfort zone like this is a pretty big deal in 2020. The fact that it shows normal people trying to lead normal lives being met by hatred and fear is disappointing and, frankly, nauseating. All of that being said, while it was a good story that I am glad I am aware of (despite my disappointment in the behavior of my fellow man), I was not quite as captivated by the way the story was told and the accompanying imagery as I had hoped I would be. It was by no means “bad”, it just did not grip me as much as some other non-fiction graphic novels do. Also, some of the dialogue felt forced to make a point – if the delivery does not feel organic, for me it stands out and feels odd. What I am guessing what happened was the author took several real-life scenarios and tried to summarize them on one page which led to a few awkward deliveries. I can summarize my overall experience in this way: an interesting and important story with a lackluster delivery. But you may enjoy the delivery more than I did – and I think you should try it!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Based on the Pulitzer-prize winning comics journalism of NY Times reporter Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan and expanded from that, based on three years of their working with Ibrahim Aldabaan and his family, who fled Syria to seek protection in America. There is a tendency for a lot of people around the world to shut down when the overwhelming subject of immigration/refugees comes up: "What should we do? It all seem I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Based on the Pulitzer-prize winning comics journalism of NY Times reporter Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan and expanded from that, based on three years of their working with Ibrahim Aldabaan and his family, who fled Syria to seek protection in America. There is a tendency for a lot of people around the world to shut down when the overwhelming subject of immigration/refugees comes up: "What should we do? It all seems hopeless!" Halpern and Sloan provide an answer through their comics journalism: Get to know the detailed stories of refugees such as this family--good people who just need help to survive--and help them. Period. Are a lot of them criminals? Of course not. Hopefully the coming US administration will enact more empathetic policies many of us can get behind and participate in. This is a decently illustrated, straightforward story Halpern and Sloan have constructed, with an epilogue that reveals how the family has been doing since the original Times series. They also have a section on methodology detailing how they "got" the story, in working closely with the family.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    2020 Nonfiction November Book #3. I'm an immigrant, but not a refugee, and that's an important distinction. This graphic story was initially published in the New York Times and won a Pulitzer. It's the true story of a Syrian refugee family who land at JKF on November 8, 2016 - election day that puts Trump in the White House. The family is resettled in Connecticut, and there are some of the expected difficulties of an uprooted family trying to make a new home. I didn't particularity like the illus 2020 Nonfiction November Book #3. I'm an immigrant, but not a refugee, and that's an important distinction. This graphic story was initially published in the New York Times and won a Pulitzer. It's the true story of a Syrian refugee family who land at JKF on November 8, 2016 - election day that puts Trump in the White House. The family is resettled in Connecticut, and there are some of the expected difficulties of an uprooted family trying to make a new home. I didn't particularity like the illustration style of this comic, but there is a starkness that does work well for the story being told. I liked the themes explored, but it seemed to end rather abruptly. It's an important book for those unfamiliar with the the trials and tribulations of what families like these go through, but this story doesn't dive deep enough - so many issues are handled rather lightly, and there is nothing light about this situation. I do understand that going deeper might have made this not as accessible to some readers, and while not a YA book, I'd recommend it for older teens. I'm probably not the target audience for this one.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    These are the type of stories that I hate having to rate because this is a true story based off of surviving Trump’s US as refugees from Syria. It infuriates me to no end that the United States has been sold as this all inclusive resort package that accepts people from all creeds. That is an absolute lie and is exactly what plays out in this poignant graphic novel. There’s a scene where the son Naji has these grandiose dreams of what it must be like to be a child raised in the US where you’re sur These are the type of stories that I hate having to rate because this is a true story based off of surviving Trump’s US as refugees from Syria. It infuriates me to no end that the United States has been sold as this all inclusive resort package that accepts people from all creeds. That is an absolute lie and is exactly what plays out in this poignant graphic novel. There’s a scene where the son Naji has these grandiose dreams of what it must be like to be a child raised in the US where you’re surrounded by lavishness and not leaving in an actual war zone. However, when Naji arrives in the US, how he is treated and what he experiences makes his miss Syria even more despite the constant turmoil he was subjected to. This resonated with me as a reader because it is ludicrous that the bigotry and xenophobia in this country makes refugees miss literal war zones. There are a lot of heartbreaking scenes in this book. The sacrifices that each of the family members must make in order to pursue a better life will tear at your insides. But even though there’s so many roadblocks in front of the Aldabaans, they refuse to give up on each other and doing whatever it takes to build a better future. Their hope and dreams were infectious. Thank you Henry Holt & Co. for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    On the very day Donald Trump is elected U.S. President, Muslim refugees from the Syrian civil war make their way from Jordan to Connecticut, hoping for a new and better life free from want and danger but coping when reality offers them more of a muddle. Their story is told by a journalist with the New York Times and originally appeared as a serialized comic strip in the paper, winning the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. The story does a good job of capturing the vertigo of leaving behind On the very day Donald Trump is elected U.S. President, Muslim refugees from the Syrian civil war make their way from Jordan to Connecticut, hoping for a new and better life free from want and danger but coping when reality offers them more of a muddle. Their story is told by a journalist with the New York Times and originally appeared as a serialized comic strip in the paper, winning the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. The story does a good job of capturing the vertigo of leaving behind the people and place you love for one that seems almost alien, the stress that puts upon you, and the relief that comes when caring people reach out to help you.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book left me with no words. I wasn't really cognizant of the fact that this is a TRUE story until I got to the afterwords. All I can say is wow. It is not easy to step into someone else's shoes when one has no concept of what the other is going/has gone through. This graphic novel helps to show those who live perhaps more comfortably not to take it for granted and to be more inspired to help others in need. I had to fill out a doctor's form earlier this week and one spot to be filled in was This book left me with no words. I wasn't really cognizant of the fact that this is a TRUE story until I got to the afterwords. All I can say is wow. It is not easy to step into someone else's shoes when one has no concept of what the other is going/has gone through. This graphic novel helps to show those who live perhaps more comfortably not to take it for granted and to be more inspired to help others in need. I had to fill out a doctor's form earlier this week and one spot to be filled in was "race". I put "human". It doesn't matter what we look like, what language we speak, what we worship, we are ALL human beings, with hearts and minds and thoughts and feelings. We are all worthy of dignity and respect and basic rights. We all want to be safe with our loved ones, without having to worry if we can have the basics, such as food, shelter, clean water, etc. This book was nothing short of amazing and I will be recommending it to just about everyone who walks into our store. Such a good book with such an important story to tell. 5, we can do better for all humankind, stars. My thanks to NetGalley and Henry Holt & Company/Metropolitan Books for an eARC copy of this book to read and review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Haider

    Welcome to the New World is a short graphic novel about a family of Syrian refugees who move to Connecticut. Ibrahim Aldabaan, his wife and 2 children escaped war-torn Syria via Jordan and moved to the US on the eve of Trump's election in 2016. The American political situation makes them nervous but America still promises a safer life than in Syria. They work with an agency who provides them with a sponsor and guidance for 3 months. The family works to settle into their new life in America. The Welcome to the New World is a short graphic novel about a family of Syrian refugees who move to Connecticut. Ibrahim Aldabaan, his wife and 2 children escaped war-torn Syria via Jordan and moved to the US on the eve of Trump's election in 2016. The American political situation makes them nervous but America still promises a safer life than in Syria. They work with an agency who provides them with a sponsor and guidance for 3 months. The family works to settle into their new life in America. The kids take English lessons and Ibrahim searches for a job. They worry about being exposed to anti-muslim sentiment. This was a good read about the refugee immigrant experience. The story mostly focused on their lives during their first few months in the US. We see the struggle of the kids trying to fit in at school and Ibrahim's time working low wage jobs in an attempt to support his family. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys immigrant experience stories and anyone who wants to read more about refugees. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is an amazing story of a family of refugees from Syria who arrive in America the day that the current occupant in the white house, won the election. It is truly a heart breaking story. There is hope, but most of it is sorrow, and the book ends earlier than the same story it is based on, that ran in the New York Times. The characters are all very real, because the author based them on real people. He has been with them since they arrived in the U.S., and been telling their story, up until the This is an amazing story of a family of refugees from Syria who arrive in America the day that the current occupant in the white house, won the election. It is truly a heart breaking story. There is hope, but most of it is sorrow, and the book ends earlier than the same story it is based on, that ran in the New York Times. The characters are all very real, because the author based them on real people. He has been with them since they arrived in the U.S., and been telling their story, up until the final installment of the strips, which unfortunately, were left out of this book, for some reason. So, while I recommend the book, for its stark look at the truth about what happens to refugees when they come to the U.S., I also recommend reading the final chapter in the New York TImes link above. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kaora

    A great look into the life of a refugee in the time of the 2016 elections, where the president coming in clearly made things very difficult for refugees. It is definitely a topic I find very important. I enjoyed it for the most part, getting a small glimpse into the insecurity and fear of people immigrating to America. As someone who was lucky not to experience something like this, I think it gives perspective on something that so many take for granted. The story didn't flow particularly well, but A great look into the life of a refugee in the time of the 2016 elections, where the president coming in clearly made things very difficult for refugees. It is definitely a topic I find very important. I enjoyed it for the most part, getting a small glimpse into the insecurity and fear of people immigrating to America. As someone who was lucky not to experience something like this, I think it gives perspective on something that so many take for granted. The story didn't flow particularly well, but the art style was decent and I think it touched on a lot of important points in so short a time.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ally

    Welcome to the New World by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan is the coolest journalism piece I have ever seen in my life. When I first began reading, it reminded me a lot of George Takei’s ’They Called Us Enemy’ in its raw storytelling using majority black and white illustrations. This nonfiction graphic novel follows the story of a refugee family who fled the civil war in Syria to make a new life in the United States. This family, unfortunately, arrived the day Donald Trump becomes president and Welcome to the New World by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan is the coolest journalism piece I have ever seen in my life. When I first began reading, it reminded me a lot of George Takei’s ’They Called Us Enemy’ in its raw storytelling using majority black and white illustrations. This nonfiction graphic novel follows the story of a refugee family who fled the civil war in Syria to make a new life in the United States. This family, unfortunately, arrived the day Donald Trump becomes president and the US growth in racism and islamophobia. The beauty of this novel is not just the moment in time the story took place, but how it was told through the perspective of different family members. Children being excited about their new life where they can have their own rooms and live that teenager life they see in popular media. The parents, on the other hand, are anxious for a chance for a better life but guilty for leaving part of the family behind. This story really sang to me because I too am an immigrant to the USA. Similar to children in the book, I didn’t have much choice, but it changed my life. One particular element that I enjoyed and made me remember my childhood is the language barrier one faces when moving to the United States. Obviously, the children in the novel picked up English quickly (much like I did), but the struggle of the parents learning English reminded me of my parents. Even to this day, my parents sometimes face challenges due to language barriers which Halpern and Sloan were able to articulate in the panels so smoothly without making fun of the language barrier. Halpern and Sloan showed the perspective that the family that the immigrant left behind creates this image of ‘Oh, you live in the USA? You must be rich.’ Those scenes hit home, and it a struggle every migrant has to face. The Aldabaan’s soon found themselves not only figuring how to keep themselves financially afloat but having to also worry about sending money back to their families in Jordan because they were now ‘rich Americans’. This graphic is raw and intimate. It handles the immigrant experience so tastefully without sugarcoating the struggles and joys a family goes through. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to further understand the immigrant experience. An eArc copy of this graphic novel was given to me by Henry Holt & Co in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    3.75 I was especially glad to have read this in the Time of Quarantine because it affected how I experienced the part where our main characters - a Syrian family - stay sequestered in their nice middle class home in Homs, Syria as bombs explode around them, agents of Assad roam the streets making arrests, and their food and money supplies dwindle. The feeling many of us have had of fear and anxiety and feeling trapped in the time of COVID are valid feelings, but this graphic novels shows how the 3.75 I was especially glad to have read this in the Time of Quarantine because it affected how I experienced the part where our main characters - a Syrian family - stay sequestered in their nice middle class home in Homs, Syria as bombs explode around them, agents of Assad roam the streets making arrests, and their food and money supplies dwindle. The feeling many of us have had of fear and anxiety and feeling trapped in the time of COVID are valid feelings, but this graphic novels shows how the Aldabaan family - and so many more like them - had those feelings amplified to the nth degree. I think many of us have the image of refugees as tattered and destitute, but rarely do we have the image of what their lives looked like before horror befell them. Only a small part of the graphic novel is about this family's Before as the main thrust of the book is about their attempts to adapt to live in Connecticut, but it was the Before parts that really stuck with me the most. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, or if the fact that this graphic novel was originally serialized on NYT, but the pacing of the Aldabaan's story in America seemed really fractured and jumpy. Was that intentional to give the feeling of how the family felt? I'm not sure, but I would have preferred a more cohesive narrative, or perhaps a focus from the POV of one of the family members. The notes at the end of the book about the process the creators developed for this ambitious project were super interesting. I especially found it interesting that one of the creators showed the family Persepolis to give them an idea of what the project could look like. Persepolis covers some of the same ground as this book, but because it comes from Satrapi's unique perspective it was far more cohesive and compelling, at least to me. Even though I completely intellectually understand how hard things must have been for this family I had a hard time feeling emotionally connected the story...until I got to the final three pages where some artwork by the mother of the family - Adibaah Aldebaan - were included. Looking at her evocative art, I started sobbing. I hope that someday she is in a place where she could make a graphic novel of her own. Thank you to Henry Holt and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    So glad I won this in a giveaway, this was original, informative, and a catalyst for empathy! While I’ve heard talk about the Syrian civil war and refugees in the news before, I had no idea what actually happens when refugees come to the US, and I am grateful that this book has reduced my ignorance. Reading from the perspective of one family makes the story very clear and compelling. I also enjoyed the illustrations and felt that they balanced the reading experience since the family’s hardships a So glad I won this in a giveaway, this was original, informative, and a catalyst for empathy! While I’ve heard talk about the Syrian civil war and refugees in the news before, I had no idea what actually happens when refugees come to the US, and I am grateful that this book has reduced my ignorance. Reading from the perspective of one family makes the story very clear and compelling. I also enjoyed the illustrations and felt that they balanced the reading experience since the family’s hardships are beyond anything I and many have ever experienced. This is a quick but powerful read, and I’d recommend this to anyone, especially my fellow Americans who hear about Syria and refugees in the news but don’t truly understand the situation and the perspective of these people.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aileen

    The stark, black-and-white art tells the Aldabaan family story as they become refugees in the US on exactly the day Trump was elected. From Syria to Jordan to Connecticut, this is a quietly powerful story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Read more graphic novel reviews at www.graphiclibrary.org. In the Fall of 2016, the Aldabaan family receives word that they have been approved to travel from Jordan to the United States. Brothers Ibrahim and Issa are able to emigrate with their families, but they are leaving behind their mother and another brother and family. This is after they have all fled war-torn Syria. The eldest son, Naji, can't wait for the family to start their new lives in the United States, but the political climate has Read more graphic novel reviews at www.graphiclibrary.org. In the Fall of 2016, the Aldabaan family receives word that they have been approved to travel from Jordan to the United States. Brothers Ibrahim and Issa are able to emigrate with their families, but they are leaving behind their mother and another brother and family. This is after they have all fled war-torn Syria. The eldest son, Naji, can't wait for the family to start their new lives in the United States, but the political climate has Ibrahim and his wife, Adeebah, unsure of what they're going in to. Once in Connecticut, they receive help from IRIS, a refugee resettlement agency, and told that they need to become self-sufficient within four months. The whole family adjusts to oddities of America, such as basements and Life Alert. Naji and his sister, Amal, start school and are treated as outcasts. The family constantly wonders if they've really left behind the worse life. My heart is breaking after reading this book. This is such a powerful and important story, and a great way to build empathy. For those who supported the Travel Bans or any other policies limiting refugees, I would hand them this book as an example of how public policy impacts decisions and lives of real people. At the beginning of this story, Ibrahim and his brothers are faced with the difficult decision of leaving their elderly mother in Jordan. Imagine receiving a text message from your parent that says you might not see them again because of political fears. Politics aside, this would be devastating to most people to know that when they got on the plane, destined for a better life, they were saying goodbye for the last time without knowing it. This story is also an important empathy-builder even for those who thing they are doing the best they can. In the story, the family has help from a refugee resettlement group, who send tutors to help the kids learn their English. One of them refers to the oldest son as a "kid", even though he's seen things like dead bodies and his desolate town. As a person who works with students, I know I'm guilty of calling them all kids at some point, but many of them, not just refugees, have had such experiences that wouldn't qualify them as children anymore. Acknowledging the struggles someone has endured before you met them is so important. The illustrations are a little basic, but powerful. The focus is very much so on the family and their beginning days of resettlement, and the illustrations serve as a humanizing element to the words spoken by each person. While the drawings may seem to be plain, each character is individual and nuanced, so I never had trouble telling any of them apart. Yes, there is some political conversation included here as it relates to the policies on immigration and refugees, but that should not keep it out of libraries, even in conservative areas. Sara's Rating: 10/10 Suitability Level: Grades 9-12

  15. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    This graphic novel takes a hard look at the struggles of a family of Syrian refugees who arrive in the US on the day of the 2016 Presidential election. The author showcases both teen and parent struggle of trying to fit in, the desire of achieving the American Dream, the worry of how long they will receive help from their sponsors, and the realization that they do not fit in, no matter how hard they try. The drawings are kept to a minimum, with only black and white used, so they don't take away This graphic novel takes a hard look at the struggles of a family of Syrian refugees who arrive in the US on the day of the 2016 Presidential election. The author showcases both teen and parent struggle of trying to fit in, the desire of achieving the American Dream, the worry of how long they will receive help from their sponsors, and the realization that they do not fit in, no matter how hard they try. The drawings are kept to a minimum, with only black and white used, so they don't take away from the story. The only issue I had was that the story ended abruptly, no indication of what happened to the family. It may be that the author chose to do so in order to leave the reader wondering and of the hope that, due to the fact that this was based on a real-life story, the reader my choose to seek out the answers for themselves.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andrienne

    A humbling and eye-opening account from the eyes of a Syrian refugee family. The spare but pleasing artwork works well with the story. This is an excellent addition to both adult and YA collections. Thanks to the publisher for the early access to the book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    I liked this very much, however I felt it ended rather abruptly with no resolution...which actually could be the point.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mateen Mahboubi

    A story of a family of refugees settling in a post-2016 USA and the challenges associated with it. Shortly after reading this, I heard a podcast about the same family and probably connected to that a bit better than this book. Ultimately it's well made but doesn't really take advantage of the medium. The story itself is helpful to understand the challenges of leaving home and the barriers that face you when you arrive to a new place, despite the best efforts of those who want to help. A story of a family of refugees settling in a post-2016 USA and the challenges associated with it. Shortly after reading this, I heard a podcast about the same family and probably connected to that a bit better than this book. Ultimately it's well made but doesn't really take advantage of the medium. The story itself is helpful to understand the challenges of leaving home and the barriers that face you when you arrive to a new place, despite the best efforts of those who want to help.

  19. 4 out of 5

    SaraCat

    Even though this graphic novel is less than 100 pages long, you come to care about the different members of the Aldabaan family. In addition, Halpern very skillfully shows the complexity of emotions and the challenges refugees face when they come to the US; especially for those who have come in more recent years. The art style complimented the story very well. It was in some ways minimalistic: just black and white with usually just as much background detail as needed to convey location, etc. But, Even though this graphic novel is less than 100 pages long, you come to care about the different members of the Aldabaan family. In addition, Halpern very skillfully shows the complexity of emotions and the challenges refugees face when they come to the US; especially for those who have come in more recent years. The art style complimented the story very well. It was in some ways minimalistic: just black and white with usually just as much background detail as needed to convey location, etc. But, since the story is so powerful, this meant that the art didn't get in the way of the story. It made space for the reader to focus on the Aldabaans. I especially recommend this to anyone who is looking to better understand what refugees experience when they leave to resettle in a new country. Though, I would not say this is any kind of definitive source, but it can be a good starting point for more reading and researching.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rabbia Riaz

    Such a tragic story of the two refugee families from Syria. America helped them,no doubt,but they lost their actual homes.Alas! At the end there was no mother(granny) but only keys.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

    This graphic novel is very well-designed, and documents the story of a Syrian family's arrival in the United States on the 2016 election day. This book focuses on their adjustment process and struggles, the gap between helpers' good intentions and abilities, the pain of feeling isolated and different, and the trauma that the family members carry from their past. The story is well-paced and engaging, and the notes at the end show how fact-based this truly is. I also appreciate that book wasn't ne This graphic novel is very well-designed, and documents the story of a Syrian family's arrival in the United States on the 2016 election day. This book focuses on their adjustment process and struggles, the gap between helpers' good intentions and abilities, the pain of feeling isolated and different, and the trauma that the family members carry from their past. The story is well-paced and engaging, and the notes at the end show how fact-based this truly is. I also appreciate that book wasn't nearly as political as I expected it to be. The author focuses on the refugee story, and even though politics creates a highly relevant real-world backdrop to their experiences, the author only addresses politics insofar as they affect the story, instead of hijacking the narrative to vent his own thoughts.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Wayne McCoy

    'Welcome to the New World' by Jake Halpern with illustrations by Michael Sloan is a non-fiction graphic novel of one Syrian family as they immigrate to the US on the eve of the 2016 election. Ibrahim Aldabaan and his immediate family flee Syria after Ibrahim escapes from prison. All the haste means they have to leave other family behind. Arriving at JFK on November 8th, 2016, they land in a world where the rest of their relatives are unable to come to the states because of a Muslim ban. Their new 'Welcome to the New World' by Jake Halpern with illustrations by Michael Sloan is a non-fiction graphic novel of one Syrian family as they immigrate to the US on the eve of the 2016 election. Ibrahim Aldabaan and his immediate family flee Syria after Ibrahim escapes from prison. All the haste means they have to leave other family behind. Arriving at JFK on November 8th, 2016, they land in a world where the rest of their relatives are unable to come to the states because of a Muslim ban. Their new world offers many challenges, like learning a new language an culture to finding work. Add to that the kind of fear of Muslims that some citizens have and you have a pretty tense story. I really liked this story, expanded from a New York Times Pulitzer-winning graphic story. The illustrations are kind of rough sketches but add a nice touch to this true story. I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Henry Holt & Company and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    4.5 stars -- Based on a real-life family's experiences, a couple and their five children flee civil war in Syria and attempt to make a new life in America. This is a fantastic graphic book, and really shows off how this format can connect with readers. It will be difficult for readers to think of all immigrants and refugees in a dismissive way after reading of this family's struggles and triumphs in an unfamiliar land. Indeed, the story challenges prejudices both ways--some of the Aldabaan famil 4.5 stars -- Based on a real-life family's experiences, a couple and their five children flee civil war in Syria and attempt to make a new life in America. This is a fantastic graphic book, and really shows off how this format can connect with readers. It will be difficult for readers to think of all immigrants and refugees in a dismissive way after reading of this family's struggles and triumphs in an unfamiliar land. Indeed, the story challenges prejudices both ways--some of the Aldabaan family's greatest champions are elderly white retirees who volunteer their time to transport them to appointments and help them acclimate. Many of us would automatically think of such citizens as being hostile to Muslim immigrants. Anyway, this was a well-done story that held my interest and felt timely and thoughtful.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alissa Middendorf

    This story highlights the complexities refugees go through when leaving their home countries in hopes of a better life. I work first hand with the refugee community in my city and this book was still very eye opening for me - I will be recommending it to my colleagues. In order to truly love and support for our neighbors, we need to try to listen to their stories and this was an insiders look into what the Aldabaan family experienced as they started their lives in a new world. I really enjoyed t This story highlights the complexities refugees go through when leaving their home countries in hopes of a better life. I work first hand with the refugee community in my city and this book was still very eye opening for me - I will be recommending it to my colleagues. In order to truly love and support for our neighbors, we need to try to listen to their stories and this was an insiders look into what the Aldabaan family experienced as they started their lives in a new world. I really enjoyed the epilogue as a follow up to the story.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Beautifully done story of a Syrian refugee family that manages to get out of a refugee camp and comes to the United States. It's not categorized as young adult, but I think it could be, as it focuses largely on two of the children who are middle-school/high-school age. It's well-written and drawn. It's brief; for me, it could have been longer with more details. But it's easy to read as it is. The short epilogue and the explanation of how the book was written pull things together at the end, whic Beautifully done story of a Syrian refugee family that manages to get out of a refugee camp and comes to the United States. It's not categorized as young adult, but I think it could be, as it focuses largely on two of the children who are middle-school/high-school age. It's well-written and drawn. It's brief; for me, it could have been longer with more details. But it's easy to read as it is. The short epilogue and the explanation of how the book was written pull things together at the end, which is helpful. I hope a lot of people read this book. The US has become way too xenophobic, and it's valuable to get another viewpoint.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Karam (bookishskippy)

    4 stars 🌟 This is a story about a retelling of the syrian refugee family 👪 who made a vow to move to america 🇺🇸 for a better life. Later did they know it was the same period of the trump's election. Understanding to shift from one place to another is never easy this was a heartbreaking book about their survival. I enjoy reading every part of the book and urge you to pick it up. Life wasn't easy when there was an travel ban imposed for people. After all we are humans and we are meant to live in pe 4 stars 🌟 This is a story about a retelling of the syrian refugee family 👪 who made a vow to move to america 🇺🇸 for a better life. Later did they know it was the same period of the trump's election. Understanding to shift from one place to another is never easy this was a heartbreaking book about their survival. I enjoy reading every part of the book and urge you to pick it up. Life wasn't easy when there was an travel ban imposed for people. After all we are humans and we are meant to live in peace not hell.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    A great read and insight into what the immigration experience can be like for families in America. I really hope the Aldabaan family is receiving pay for sharing their story. It was upsetting to read in the back of the book how much they are still struggling, despite their story being the basis of a Pulitzer Prize winning NYT series.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carol Chapin

    This is a graphic novel, so I finished it in an afternoon (a short afternoon). It is based upon a comic strip in the New York Times – one that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. The creators followed the experiences of an immigrant family for a few years, beginning with their arrival from Syria on Election Day 2016. The story focuses on the children, particularly one son of high school age. I was both engrossed in and touched by this book. I’m not opposed to immigrants, but thi This is a graphic novel, so I finished it in an afternoon (a short afternoon). It is based upon a comic strip in the New York Times – one that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. The creators followed the experiences of an immigrant family for a few years, beginning with their arrival from Syria on Election Day 2016. The story focuses on the children, particularly one son of high school age. I was both engrossed in and touched by this book. I’m not opposed to immigrants, but this book made me more empathetic to the hurdles they face, both because of the trauma of what was left behind and from the difficulties of trying to survive in a strange country.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mosammet Asma

    I was unsure of how much I would like this graphic novel when I glanced at the author names and then saw it was based on a refugee family from Syria. However, after reading the story, I saw how accurately it portrayed the resettlement process, the trauma, and how the children settled into school. I have interned at a refugee resettlement agency and was able to identify so many similarities. Naji even became friends with a new Bangladeshi student in his school which is really cool! The way this c I was unsure of how much I would like this graphic novel when I glanced at the author names and then saw it was based on a refugee family from Syria. However, after reading the story, I saw how accurately it portrayed the resettlement process, the trauma, and how the children settled into school. I have interned at a refugee resettlement agency and was able to identify so many similarities. Naji even became friends with a new Bangladeshi student in his school which is really cool! The way this character spoke was very familiar to me as I am from BD. I enjoyed reading this as I don’t usually read much graphic novels. I believe the intention for this novel was to touch upon the process for those who are not familiar with the refugee resettlement process - and it did it well. I only wish it delved deeper into the characters traumas and what happened in Syria.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    This is truly an amazing piece of journalism. It's reminiscent of Maus and Persopolis in today's age, showing "everyday Americans" the struggles refugees go through. It truly opened my eyes; I had only vaguely known about what's happening in Syria before reading this and now I am ready to join an immigrant welcoming service. The art is creative and a great way to push the story along. This book is incredibly clever. I would recommend it for all Americans to read to understand another's perspecti This is truly an amazing piece of journalism. It's reminiscent of Maus and Persopolis in today's age, showing "everyday Americans" the struggles refugees go through. It truly opened my eyes; I had only vaguely known about what's happening in Syria before reading this and now I am ready to join an immigrant welcoming service. The art is creative and a great way to push the story along. This book is incredibly clever. I would recommend it for all Americans to read to understand another's perspective.

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