This fascinating book, about emigration from Germany, immigration to the US, and genealogical research, was originally published in Germany. Charlesbridge Publishing has brought the English translation out this year. The design of the book feels different than other American books–it’s a narrative story but it’s laid out on the page more like a Dorling Kindersley book, where tiny packets of text explain small, detailed illustrations. I can’t imagine how it would work as a read-aloud but it’s certainly an engrossing read for an independent reader.
In this story, we see the Peters family pushed by economic conditions in 1869 to leave Germany. We follow their preparations and their complicated transportation path all the way to Nebraska. We watch them set up a new household and make friends. In a wordless spread, we see their farmhouse and prosperous farm once they have been in America a few years.
The next spread shows the same farmhouse (but with modern updates, like a swimming pool) and many more outbuildings and motorized farm equipment. Now we follow the descendants of the original Peters family as they research their ancestors and make a trip back to Germany to try to find their ancestral home.
This is a fascinating story of immigration and of family connectedness.
In the New World: A Family in Two Centuries, by Christa Holtei, illustrated by Gerda Raidt, translated by Susi Woofter. Charlesbridge: 2015.