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“Whether readers are new themselves or meeting those who are new, there are lessons to be learned here about perseverance, bravery, and inclusion, and O’Brien’s lessons are heartfelt and poetically rendered.”
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

I’m New Here

Written by Anne Sibley O'Brien
Illustrated by Anne Sibley O'Brien
Published by Charlesbridge Publishing

Maria is from Guatemala, Jin is from Korea, and Fatima is from Somalia. All three are new to their American elementary school, and each has trouble speaking, writing, and sharing ideas in English. Through self-determination and with encouragement from their peers and teachers, the students learn to feel confident and comfortable in their new school without losing a sense of their home country, language, and identity. Young readers from all backgrounds will appreciate this touching story about the assimilation of three immigrant students in a supportive school community. Anne Sibley O’Brien is one of the founders of I’m Your Neighbor, an organization that promotes children’s literature featuring “new arrival” cultures. As the rate of immigration to the United States increases, topics related to immigration are increasingly more important in the classroom and home. I’m New Here demonstrates how our global community can work together and build a home for all.

Explore the companion picture book Someone New.

Primary ISBN: 9781580896122
Available As: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook
Picture Book, Age 06 or older

Community Represented: , ,

Themes: , , , , , , , , , ,

Setting: United States

Character's Place in the Immigration Journey: Immigrant

Book Creator(s) Connection to the Community Represented: Written with Cultural Advisors

Click here for details about how we define our titles.

Engagement Projects & Resources:

Share your favorite resources for this book with info@imyourneighborbooks.org.

Explore the Reader Experience

Reader Engagement Guide

DOWNLOAD this classroom, library, or home learning guide on immigration, welcoming, and belonging.

Tools Include:

Readers Theater
The two books have interwoven narratives. To explore the interplay of belonging and welcoming in the two stories, consider looking at the books side by side. We have created a Readers Theater Script to choreograph this interplay.

Scripted Conversation
Whether you use the verbatim script or not, the progressive conversation gives you ideas to examine the commonality of being NEW, explore what it feels like to feel “DIFFERENT”, understand that being NEW and DIFFERENT can make someone feel like they do not BELONG, and discover that we all have a role in WELCOMING immigrants and refugees into our schools and communities.

Movement Game
A shared space of welcoming and belonging happens when steps are taken by the new arrival and the “already here” members of the community. This open-ended movement game allows readers to role play challenges and actions that move communities closer together.

I’m Your Neighbor Signs
The phrase, “I’m your neighbor” is one you could say to anyone in your neighborhood. Whether you are new or have been in the neighborhood a long time, the phrase will make a connection. We offer a cut-out speech bubble and the phrase in 10 languages to copy into that bubble.

More Ways to Welcome
We include a list of fundraising and simple tasks to help immigrants and refugees —including expanding your collection of books.



This book is part of the Welcoming Library. The Welcoming Library is a traveling collection of picture books set in our New Arrival and 
New American communities. From small towns to big cities, these immigration stories are helping readers 
(of all ages) Welcome and Belong. Explore More.