The Welcome Chair by author Rosemary Wells and illustrator Jerry Pinkney

Reading Age: 4 – 8

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Simon & Schuster / Paula Wiseman Books

Publication Date: November 2, 2021

In 1825, a sixteen year old named Sam migrates to America from Bavaria to pursue a career in carpentry. Sam’s abilities to also read and write give him an opportunity to make more money as an inventory/ship’s log keeper than a deckhand on his journey to his new homeland. His first job in America is as a bookkeeper. Soon he makes a chair for a family and carves the word welcome in German into the chair’s back. Over the years the chair is used by people of different ethnic backgrounds. Each culture carves the word welcome in its native language which also includes Hebrew, English, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Arabic. The injected message about reading and writing is appealing. The author weaves family history and fiction to create an interesting picture book about immigration that spans over 100 years. Readers will be satisfied with intricacies in Mr. Pinkney’s illustrations that convey struggles and good times in life.

Mr. Jerry Pinkney was a renowned illustrator. My Book Eyes was glad to have met him at the annual Society of Illustrator’s Original Art Exhibit and Reception. He was a personable and gifted artist. He will be missed.

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