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Expat Summer Travel

Amah Faraway written by Margaret Chiu Greanias and illustrated by Tracy Subisak, published by Bloomsbury Children's Books.


Summer travel season is upon us. Like many, we are off to visit grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins abroad.


But whether you're traveling to Asia, Europe, Canada, or even a state away, children may be timid when getting together with relatives they do not see often.


In Amah Faraway, readers join the adventure of a little girl named Kylie who travels from San Francisco to Taipei to visit her grandmother, Amah. As would be the case for many, the idea makes her squirm.


The interesting structure in which Margaret Chiu Greanias writes this story underscores the process of getting used to a new place, reaching a point of acceptance and curiosity, and the reversed emotions felt when it is time to leave.


In addition to the author's accessible text, Tracy Subisak's colorful and animated illustrations further transport readers from computer calls to the airport to Amah's home and the Taiwanese markets, introducing the family and culture to readers alongside the main character.


I would recommend this picture book equally to children who don't have to travel very far to see family or who would enjoy visiting a new place in the comfort of their grown-up's lap.


Imagine It!


Imagine a distant relative or an exchange student from another country coming to visit you for the first time.


What would you want to show them about your home, community, and culture? Where would you take them to eat? to have fun? to shop for souvenirs? To whom would you introduce them?


Imagine if the person is nervous about speaking your language. What words would you teach them first? How could you do this?


On paper or poster board, write your answers to these questions in full sentences or simply as a list. Then draw and color what you wrote.


Imagine how beautiful the result would be and how welcomed the person would feel.


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