First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great by Sandra Neil Wallace, Rich Wallace(Contributor), Agata Nowicka (Contributor)

Hardcover, 96 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher

First Generation collects (as the cover so helpfully states) a group of 36 people who weren’t born in America but chose to make it their home. In one page spreads, the volume explores how these individuals have contributed to America economy and culture. How their achievements in whatever field they work in reflect the greatness of the country they call home.

I think the writers and those who contributed to the volume have good intentions. I certainly enjoyed reading about these individuals who have done so much and whose lives are ones to aspire to. It is important to celebrate the achievements of those politicians write off as being burdens to a country’s economy.

However, we also need something like the Humans of New York that focuses primarily on all those immigrants and refugees who haven’t achieved anything noteworthy. Those people who are struggling to survive and for whom three meals a day is a luxury. These people for whom success is measured not in their contributions but in their daily survival.

So yes, read this book, educate yourself on the achievements of individuals who belong to one of the most reviled group in America today but also keep in mind that there  are many other immigrants and refugees who are just normal people–after all humanity isn’t measured by the amount you earn or how much you contribute to the place you live in. Refugees and immigrants are people with as much right to a place to live and breathe as anyone else in this world. If making a place great comes at the expense of causing pain and oppressing minorities, “great” is probably not the word you should be using.