I’m an American: New Title & Activity Creates Connections Through Culture

New Picture Book

Schools, libraries, and communities have long needed an overview picture book on America’s many identities and how the mosaic of this country is deepened by immigration.

Author Darshana Khiani and illustrator Laura Freeman have delivered one beyond our dreams. The textured profiles allow us to explore American cultural differences while showing how deeply we are connected by our beliefs.

Includes profiles of American children with Black, Filipino/Mexican, Chinese, German, Indian, Irish, Japanese, LGBTIA+, Muscogee, Russian Jewish, Somali, and Venezuelan family identities. Also includes historical backgrounds for each group and extensive resources.

Please give a warm welcome to I’m an American.

This beautiful book, I’m an American, is an invitation to inquiry, a cause for reflection, and a gateway to conversation. The crafted collection of origin stories, paired with rich and layered art, highlights what has drawn immigrants to America and qualities Americans have showcased in the face of injustices and hardship. As readers witness the stories of the children in this book and their ancestors, they will begin to reflect on similarities and differences with their own origin stories and recognize common feelings of pride and patriotism, of determination and optimism.

Like the young Venezuelan in this book: I, too, believe in hope and that life can be better. And, I believe young people will lead us there. Sharing the vision of I’m an American—a nation of people united by values and ideals that bring us together more than our differences and what divides us—will spark conversation and make space for our young readers to grow into more compassionate and empathetic leaders—now and in the future.

—Melissa Guerrette, NBCT, M.ED. GRADE 5 TEACHER

Companion Activity

American Identity, Beliefs & Actions

In a guided activity, readers of any age select:

  • 4 personal Identities from “Chinese” to “Best Friend”
  • 8 Beliefs from “Democracy” to “Free Ice Cream” and
  • 8 corresponding Actions to support their beliefs

After adding those Identities, Beliefs, and Actions to a provided template, the template gets folded into an interactive origami piece. The opening and closing of the origami folds (like a traditional “fortune teller papercraft”) allows two people to have a conversation about the Identities and Beliefs they share and how they can support those Beliefs together for a stronger America.

EXPLORE the I’m An American Fold & Share

Source: I’m Your Neighbor Books

Educators Guide

EXPLORE Lesson Plans & Ideas

Source: Melissa Guerrette NBCT, M.ED. Grade 5 Teacher & Penguin Young Readers Group

The Giveaway Winners

Auburn Public Library Auburn Georgia
Birney Elementary San Diego California
Boston public Schools South Boston Massachusetts
Boston Public Schools/Lyndon K-8 Boston Massachusetts
Brookhurst Junior High School Library Anaheim California
Cape Charles Memorial Library Cape Charles Virginia
Central Park Elementary School Pennsville New Jersey
Clear Creek Elementary Hendersonville North Carolina
Dearborn Public Schools Dearborn Michigan
Dorsett Shoals Elementary School Douglasville Georgia
Eastwood Elementary (West Fargo Public Schools) West Fargo North Dakota
Garnet Valley Elementary Glen Mills Pennsylvania
Greely Middle School Library Cumberland Maine
MDOe Presque isle Maine
Norwalk Public Library Norwalk Connecticut
Oaklyn Public School Library Oaklyn New Jersey
Pixley Union School District Visalia California
Sarah Greenwood School Boston Massachusetts
The Spero Project Oklahoma City Oklahoma
The Telling Room Portland Maine
Uplift Education Irving Texas
West Fargo Public Schools Moorhead Minnesota
West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science Walker Michigan
Educator COS Colorado
Educator Lawrence Kansas