All the Way to America

What It Is

Acclaimed author-illustrator Dan Yaccarino shares his family history beginning with his great-grandfather’s immigration to America. Like many young men and women searching for a better life, Michele Iaccarino (renamed Michael Yaccarino at Ellis Island) left his family in Italy and headed to New York. He left with few possessions, including a little metal shovel and his parents’ advice: “work hard,” “enjoy life” and “never forget your family.” Michele settled in New York City’s Little Italy, found a job using that little shovel, got married and had a family. When Michele’s son grew up and moved his family to the suburbs, Michele passed on the little shovel and the same advice his parents gave him. And on the story continued through three generations, ending with author-illustrator Dan and his family. Like his elders, he works hard, loves his family and enjoys life creating books for children ... when he’s not helping his young son in the garden with that same little metal shovel.

Why It’s Fun

This is the story of the American dream, and though we’ve heard similar stories many times, Dan Yaccarino tells his tale in a very charming way. While it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of busy lives filled with school, work, activities, chores, etc., Dan effectively reminds us that the key to happiness lies in three simple things: work hard, enjoy life and love your family. And, his illustrations are so vivid that you get the feeling you are watching a cartoon as you read the story.

Who’s Going To Love It

As we celebrate our nation’s history, it’s meaningful to reflect on previous generations who took risks to create a better life for their families, and worked hard to develop the great country that we call the United States. We’ve had this book a relatively short time and it has quickly become a favorite with my six- and nine-year-old girls. The simple story and colorful illustrations would even be enjoyed by kids as young as preschoolers. How about giving it a read as you are waiting for the Fourth of July fireworks to start?

Reading Time

About 2-3 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

10 out of 10

Book Information

All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel
By: Written and Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House Children’s Books (2011)
Approximate retail price: $15.99
Publisher’s recommended ages: 5 - 9


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