children's books · non-fiction

Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land


“My family came here from far away  . . . because they dreamed of more,” begins the photojournalistic story documenting the experience of American immigrants. In Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land, John Coy’s text accompanies Wing Young Huie’s photography as the two work together to explore the varied and diverse life and experience of immigrants of America.

The photographs show immigrants at work, with their families, communities, both young and old. The photographs are diverse in the communities and experiences represented. What a wonderful book to share how unique and yet similar we all are. Let’s look for similarities and compassion rather than excluding each other and closing our borders.

The end of the book features each contributor’s own immigrant experience either personally or within their family history. John Coy’s family is from Poland, Bavaria, Ireland, and Scotland. His great grandparents were both born in Bavaria, but met in Minnesota in the 19th century. Wing Young Huie, who is the only one of his siblings born in America, is a first generation Chinese American. Wing has been documenting the immigrant experience throughout his photography career, and you can see more of his photography on his professional website.

To get a copy of Their Great Gift, check you local bookstore, Powell’s, or your local library.

young adult

Beyond Magenta


My local newspaper this morning had an image of a car tagged with the hate speech, die fag, painted in red on the hood of a car belonging to a young college student. If you’ve been paying attention to social media, the news, your life, etc. then you’ve seen emboldened racist behavior manifested in all its different forms.

Susan Kuklin’s photography collection, Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out is a beautiful book. The teens interviewed for her photography collection shared their stories and experiences that are as varied and unique as they are in these transcribed interviews and essays. Beyond Magenta is incredible in it allows room for the teens that fill the pages to dictate their own story, a freedom that so often the media, popular culture, their classmates, families, and their world doesn’t even allow.

I’m not going to pretend that all these stories are filled with hope, sunshine, and rainbows. It’s in there, the sunshine and the hope, but there is also so much pain and loss.

My biggest comfort in this book is that you can read it, you can buy it here, here, here, and borrow it from a public library found here. And you can meet these teens, ON THEIR TERMS, thank god for that.

Be active, protect yourself, and protect each other.