Rebecca’s pre-advanced class was asked to write a narrative for the first few chapters of Shaun Tan’s The Arrival. This is a picture book telling the story of an immigrant’s experience in a new land and can be compared to real events on Ellis Island in the 20th century. Here is their work.

Africa, Claudia and Clem

A long time ago, in 1921, on a dark and quiet night a very close family from Ireland was preparing for the departure of the head of the family. The reason was that they didn’t have enough money for survival. There was an economic crisis and they didn’t have any expectations for the future.

The streets were empty and it looked terrifying to his daughter but her father calmed her down and he told her “you don’t have to be afraid, believe in me, I will always love you and soon we are going to be together.”

Following this, he boarded a ship to America. During the trip the weather was very rough and the  passengers suffered from it. Yet, his heart hurt because he was thinking of his family.

Finally after a long and tough trip, he arrived in New York. The temperature was warm and he felt comfortable. He was surprised by the hustle and bustle of the huge city and the big building he had never seen before in all his life.

When he arrived he had a medical test and he was checked by a doctor. He was told that if he wasn’t healthy enough, he couldn’t work in New York. However, he passed the medical test and he started the quest for a job.

Finally, he found a job in a factory but only for a short time because he must fight for the army.

But here comes the sun and after suffering a very tough travel he could go back to his home with a very hard history to tell.

Pilar and Ana

Our story starts in a small and poor village in the north of Scotland.

There was a family seeking an opportunity to get a better life. Then, the father was in a dilemma about whether to keep searching for a job or emigrate. The mother asked, “are you sure about it?” and the dad replied, “I think it’s the best solution right now” and she said that she agreed but what about their daughter. The father answered that she’d be alright.

The departure day arrived. The farewell was absolutely sad. Despite the bad weather, there was a lot of people at the harbour and everybody was crying because of the separations.

They were travelling almost a month and it seemed like a never ending journey but finally, on 10th July, they arrived

The first thing that he had to do was a medical test to check his health after the voyage.

This was the beginning of his new life and the father knew that he will have found a good job and will have a fortune in order to come back home.

Ruben and Christina

In the 20s, a humble man had to leave his family to seek an opportunity to get a better life for him, for his wife and for his little girl. While he was packing, he told his wife that everything was going to be alright and his wife, holding firmly his hand, said to him that she trusted him.

The man was accompanied by his family to the train station and they started to feel depressed. The city seemed darker than before and the streets were extremely lonely.

The journey had begun. The sadness couldn’t destroy the dreams and this ship was overcrowded of them. Despite the awful weather, the fun will rise.

Suddenly a flock of birds appeared in the blue sky, he stared at it and thought that his prayers had already been answered.

After five days travelling, finally the ship arrived in the city harbour. When he stepped onto land he remembered the bird he had passed down to their daughter and the one thing he wanted to believe was to keep his family together.