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Summer Reading 2021: I Was Their American Dream

Why Adrianne picked I Was Their American Dream

I love reading and collecting graphic novels, especially memoirs, and this one jumped out at me because of its topics and themes: identity, belonging, and being the child of immigrants. It doesn't hurt that food makes many an appearance as well. The author, Malaka Gharib, is a journalist and editor of NPR's Goats and Soda blog. Having been familiar with Gharib's writing for NPR I felt even more drawn to this memoir when I learned about her background: Gharib is half-Filipino and half-Egyptian, grew up in Cerritos, CA (which is one town over from where I grew up), and had similar interests as me in high school. Reading I Was Their American Dream has been a mirror for my own experiences and a window into others.

About I Was Their American Dream

I Was Their American Dream

by Malaka Gharib


One part Mari Andrew, one part Marjane Satrapi, I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir is a triumphant tale of self-discovery, a celebration of a family's rich heritage, and a love letter to American immigrant freedom. Malaka Gharib's illustrations come alive with teenage antics and earnest questions about identity and culture, while providing thoughtful insight into the lives of modern immigrants and the generation of millennial children they raised. The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigates her childhood chasing her parents' ideals, learning to code-switch between her family's Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid. - Goodreads


[Check out the short video with the author below!]

About the author

About the reader

  Adrianne Francisco, History

This is Adrianne's first summer read selection!