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One Good Thing About America

One Good Thing About America

Story of a Refugee Girl


One Good Thing About America

About the Book

It's always hard to start at a new school . . . and even harder if you're in a new country.

Back home, nine-year-old Anaïs was the best English student in her class, but here in Crazy America it feels like she doesn't know English at all. Nothing makes sense (chicken fingers?), and the kids at school have some very strange ideas about Africa.

Anaïs misses home. She misses their little house under the mango trees, and the family left behind--Papa and grandmother Oma and big brother Olivier. She worries about the fighting that drove her and Mama and little Jean-Claude to leave.

So she writes letters to Oma and tells her about Halloween, snow, mac 'n' cheese dinners, and princess sleepovers. She tells her all about the weird things Crazy Americans do, and how she just might be turning into a Crazy American herself.

Inspired by the author's work with students learning English, this sweet, often funny middle-grade novel explores differences and common ground across cultures. In contrast to a growing climate of fear and doubt, this story of a refugee child navigating her new life restores hope and reminds us that America is, in fact, a nation of immigrants where we must accept our differences in order to survive--and that's one very good thing.

Product Details

On sale: May 14, 2019
Age: 8-12 years
Grade: Grades 3-7
Page count: 160 Pages
ISBN: 9780823442669
Reading level: Lexile: 570L

Author Bio

Ruth Freeman grew up in rural Pennsylvania but now lives in Maine. She is a teacher who works one-on-one and in small groups with English language learners, in addition to being the author of several successful nonfiction picture books.


"Spanning a school year, this touching novel in epistolary format relates the triumphs and travails of a young Congolese refugee, Anaïs, and her family. . . . Highly recommended for libraries seeking timely stories about the immigrant experience." —School Library Journal
"Anaïs' epistolary story, told in easy-to-read letters and charming doodles, might be empowering to English-language learners; and middle-graders unfamiliar with such experiences might find new depths of compassion and understanding."—Booklist