Starting Over in Sunset Park

Starting Over in Sunset Park

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Caring for resilient cats helps eight-year-old Jessica, a newly arrived immigrant, adapt to life in New York City.

Brooklyn is a strange, intimidating place for a girl who speaks no English when she steps off her very first plane after a flight from the Dominican Republic. Jessica and her mom, Camila, must live in their cousins’ crowded apartment until Camila finds work making holiday decorations and they can afford their own place. Isolated on the playground and baffled in class, unable to understand her teacher’s instructions, Jessica is intensely homesick. But little by little, things get better. She begins to learn English, and she loves the cats she and her mom care for to earn extra money. Left behind by traveling owners, the cats make the best of their situation, inspiring Jessica to do the same.

This lovely story humanizes the challenges faced by immigrants to the US. Bianca Diaz’s illustrations bring Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and New York City to vibrant life.

Starting Over in Sunset Park 
Jose Pelaez, Lynn McGee, Bianca Diaz
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Tilbury House
Date Published: June 8, 2021
Audience: Ages 5-8

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