Holiday gifts for newcomers

1. Subscription to a daily mainstream national newspaper. I recommend The Globe and Mail and/or the National Post. Both often feature items related to immigration and both are well written and present clear points of view on issues of immigration and settlement.

2. Subscription to a local newspaper. Depending on where the newcomer settles, the local paper offers, often painfully accurately, the local environment: it is important for the newcomer to know where they have landed, how they are welcomed (or not) and avenues for settling, integrating, opportunities for employment and recreation, etc in their chosen community.

3. “100 Photos that Changed Canada” is a beautiful ‘coffee-table’ book that illustrates and documents the journey and history of immigration to Canada. Both heartening and heart-breaking stories and histories are included, everything from the “Girl from Canada”, a living exhibit of a young woman on a bicycle outfitted with all the bells and whistles that ostensibly depicted life in Canada as an incentive to British, to the injustice of the Komagata Maru incident, documenting the history of the “one continuous voyage” policy in immigration policy, to the repatriation of Japanese Canadians after internment during WWII, to Canada’s disgrace in refusing Jewish children’s emigration, 100 Photos is an illustrated history of Canada.

4. Rudyard Griffith’s Who We Are: The Citizen’s Manifesto is a current examination of the state of the nation and the place of the newcomer in it.

5. Shaun Tan’s The Arrival is a beautiful, timeless and ageless picture book that illustrates beautifully the immigrant experience. Children and adults alike will marvel at the empathic depictions of what it is like to land on new shores. Readers will find comfort in this volume, which lovingly and accurately depicts the typical newcomer journey: leaving family, reconciling, being a stranger in a strange land.

6. Library cards to the local public and local university libraries. Many Canadian university libraries offer a “research reader” or “community member” card for non-students. Local public libraries have agreements with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and offer Library Settlement Service programs, a support to newcomers.

This list is reading-heavy: What are your suggestions for other/additional best gifts for newcomers?