The Arrival

Starred Review From School Library Journal. Grade 7 Up—Tan captures the displacement and awe with which immigrants respond to their new surroundings in this wordless graphic novel. It depicts the journey of one man, threatened by dark shapes that cast shadows on his family's life, to a new country. The only writing is in an invented alphabet, which creates the sensation immigrants must feel when they encounter a strange new language and way of life. A wide variety of ethnicities is represented in Tan's hyper-realistic style, and the sense of warmth and caring for others, regardless of race, age, or background, is present on nearly every page.

Shaun Tan won the 2011 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from the Swedish Arts Council, the biggest prize in children's literature. “I’ve never set out to deliberately be cross-genre, …, I rarely think about the age of my readers). I just try to make each story or image as engaging as possible, appealing to all parts of my own nature: a child, an adult, a rational critic, an emotional being, an often confused person who doodles, writes and paints as a way of figuring things out. The theme of migration also relates to my personal background, as I’m a part-Chinese, Malaysian, Irish and English person from Perth, Western Australia.