Larry and Friends

July 6, 2015

chidren's bookson immigration

One of the best things about living in London has to be the diversity of the people and cultures.  London is full of immigrants from all over the world living alongside native British people too.  I too am not from here – I’m from India but now London is my home.  In London you can experience culture, food, art and language from almost anywhere in the world and that is just special.  Not that many cities can boast such a diverse range of people but there is one other that immediately comes to mind and that is New York City.  Maybe it’s even more diverse than London if that’s possible and it’s another city I love for this reason.  So I was absolutely delighted to receive a kids book last week called Larry and Friends that celebrates exactly this aspect of city life.

childrens books on immigration to America

Larry and Friends by Nat Jasper and Carla Torres is a children’s book on immigration and all that is great about it. It is set in New York but it could be London or any other big, multi-cultural city.  The book is about Larry the dog who is born and bred in NYC but his group of friends are from all over the world.  Larry is celebrating his birthday and one by one his animal friends arrive at his party.  As each friend arrives we get a little insight in to their lives – where they are from, what they do and how they ended up making NYC their home away from their native countries.  His friends come from Peru, India, Korea, Iran, Tibet, Puerto Rico and lots more places but are all now living in NYC.  There isn’t a typical story as such but each character has a little back story of their own.  And the illustrations are colourful and so detailed and all done in a beautiful painting like style.

childrens picture books on immigrationchildren's bookson immigration

Anya really enjoyed this book and picked it up to read by herself too.  She didn’t immediately get the significance of the animal friends from all over the world but we ended up chatting about how some people leave their native countries to settle somewhere else.  It was an interesting conversation and we talked about how London is one of those kind’s of cities.  She has friends from Pakistan, Lebanon and China so this made the book even more relevant.  While this children’s book celebrates immigration, diversity and friendship, it also subtly puts across little life messages like it’s always important to be yourself, you can overcome adversity, knowledge is to be shared and more.  Larry and Friends is a lovely, happy and uplifting book on a topic that I think we need to see more of in kids books.  Unfortunately it’s not that easily available outside the US but you can order from there although shipping is expensive.

P.S. If you are looking for more kids book recommendations you might enjoy these:
Maps
What do you do with an Idea?
Once upon an Alphabet

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  • HonestMum

    What a wonderful book, I hope they make it easier for we Brits to buy, I’d love to explore themes of immigration and ethnicity more with my own children as it’s so relevant to my family and background x

    • ebabee likes

      I have asked why it’s not available here – hopefully I can update the post accordingly. It really is a lovely book on every level – happy, uplifting and fun! xx

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