SLJ: Why is this project important to young readers now?
SNW: The U.S. is a nation of diversity and 13% of the people in this country are immigrants—including me! Immigrants and refugees have faced discrimination throughout history. What’s new and shocking is that this is happening at an accelerated pace in America right now and that it’s part of government policy. This has sparked a national, daily conversation about immigration. We hope that First Generation can counter the negative narrative and spread a positive message about the crucial contributions that immigrants and refugees made (and are still making!) in building America.
RW: Immigrants and refugees are being vilified by every branch of our government, and this has been a constant refrain since the last presidential election cycle. Kids need to know about the wonderful people in our book, who are among the millions of great new Americans.