100 Immigrants Who Shaped American History (100 Series)
!00 Immigrants Who Shaped American History is a fascinating book of people, famous and those not as apt to be a household name. The one thing they have in common is that all of them were born outside of the United States and that all of them have left their mark. The names range from John Jacob Astor to Ilhan Omar (House of Representatives), arranged in order by their birth years. Their countries of origin include Germany, England, Poland, Austria, Russia, China, Italy, Nigeria, Somalia, Iran, Sweden, Ukraine, South Africa, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, and on and on.
Each person gets a pen-and-ink portrait and their life story crammed into a single page. Their achievements range from Nobel Prize winners in chemistry to movie stars. The book is jam-packed with information that could be the basis of a curriculum of study for upper elementary students. An interesting feature is the gray tab at the top of each page that lists birth and death dates, plus a black dot for where in the world each immigrant was born. The most astounding fact is that half of the immigrants in this book came to America before or during World War !! because, as Jewish people, they were escaping persecution by Hitler’s hate campaign.
The amount of research is astounding, and the retail price is so reasonable that every classroom teacher can afford to have a copy on their bookcase. The brightly colored cover highlights immigrant #95, Anousheh Ansari, the first Iranian American astronaut.
Unfortunately, some of the sentences have bad grammatical construction such as the following: “Born on September 12, 1966, in Mashad, Iran, Anousheh’s family worked hard to provide her with as many opportunities as they could.” The dependent clause at the beginning of the sentence refers to Anousheh, not her family. This poor sentence construction occurs throughout the book. Another example is “Currently the richest man in the world—and with an incredible story and diverse business portfolio—many believe that there is still much more to come from Elon Musk.” A third example is “Born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa, Elon’s family was very wealthy.”
The font size is small, although the black ink on white background is helpful. The elimination of overused adverbs (only, very, soon, still, almost, often, immediately, widely, etc.) could have allowed for a larger font, with up to eight added adverbs on the page (Elon Musk).
The back of the book has a helpful index, project suggestions, and trivia questions, useful for anyone writing a Famous American report.
Where is Alexander Hamilton? Where is Albert Einstein? Were they mentioned in other titles within the 100 series, which include 100 African Americans Who Shaped American History, 100 American Women, Men, Inventions, Explorers, Authors, Disasters, Folk Heroes, Scientists Who Shaped American History or World History? How did the author come up with her 100 immigrants?
All nitpicking aside, the book is interesting and thorough with something for everyone. Come to think of it, one copy per classroom might not be enough.