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Added on 25th June 2020

Author and Illustrator Shaun Tan
First published 2006
Publisher Lothian Children’s Books (Hachette), Melbourne, Australia

A poignant journey into the theme of belonging told from the point of view of a migrant seeking better prospects.

Story

After leaving his wife and children, a man sails across a vast ocean to an unknown land. He finds himself in a bewildering city, full of confusing customs, alien animals, and difficult dialects. As he struggles to find food and shelter, the immigrant meets a selection of sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own stories of survival.

Why we chose it

In this ground-breaking graphic novel told in wordless sepia images, Shaun Tan creates a many layered story exploring immigration, alienation, and what it means to be a refugee and leave home and family and settle in an alien country.

Where it came from

Feelings of ‘belonging’ have always fascinated Australian artist and author, Shaun Tan (1974 - ). His father’s own immigration from Malaysia to an isolated suburb in Perth, Australia inspired him to research the stories of other migrants. Tan was heavily influenced by Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, and hoped that his wordless narrative would capture the migrant’s feelings of uncertainty and discovery.

Where it went next

The Arrival is perhaps Tan’s best known work. The graphic novel has received several awards, including the Angouleme International Comics Festival Prize in 2008. It has been adapted for theatre, and Tan’s illustrations have been projected during several orchestral performances.

Associated stories

Tan’s exploration of identity and belonging is central to many of his books, including The Lost Thing (1999), The Red Tree (2001), and Tales from Outer Suburbia (2008)

Added on 25th June 2020

Author and Illustrator Shaun Tan
First published 2006
Publisher Lothian Children’s Books (Hachette), Melbourne, Australia