May: A New England Childhood

by Laurel | April 30th, 2010

May: A New England Childhood

May: A New England Childhood

My copy of May: A New England Childhood by Guenveur Burnell arrived and must say I couldn’t be more pleased with it.

Upon ordering, I had not fully realized that Ms. Burnell is the artist (she holds a degree in art from Kent State), the illustrations are quite lovely. The text of the book is derived, in part, from audio recordings she made of conversations with her parents thirty years ago.

What I like about the book is the simplicity — capturing memorable vignettes that can be related to by many immigrant families in the early twentieth century. For people with ties to Holyoke or the immigrant experience in general — and that really is a great majority of the American population — this is a sweet book that will likely remind you of stories your grandparents may have told you.

Lastly, this is a picture book. For anyone teaching local history in Holyoke (or really any mill town), particularly up to middle school, this book could be an asset — it is something I would have wanted in my classroom library. For those of you with children or grandchildren, it will aid in providing understanding of the immigrant experience in a poignant way — and it just may help you open the door to pass along your own family stories. Click on the book title, above, to order this book from Amazon.

Congratulations Guenveur, nicely done!

(Book cover image above from

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