Immigrant Innovators: 30 Entrepreneurs Who Made a Difference

Written By: Samantha Chagollan

Illustrated by: Calef Brown

For Ages: MG & Up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Business, Immigration, Ingenuity.

Summary: This book details entrepreneurs that emigrated to the United States from all over the globe. Although this book is primarily about capitalism and large multimillion dollar businesses like Chobani, PayPal, and even Instagram, it fights back against the narrative that unsuccessful or don’t work hard often perpetuated by xenophobia.

I found the book fascinating as I learned the backstory about many of the brands and companies we encounter on a daily basis. Duolingo, Peek, and Zola were all created by folks explored in this book! Initiatives by these companies to offset some of the hunger and food insecurity during the pandemic, like Marcus Samuelsson and José Andrés, also bring the reminder that when we work together and take care of our community, businesses and people thrive. Calef Brown brings a unique art style to the book, which I really enjoyed. Although the argument can be made that realistic skin tones should be used to further BIPOC representation in books, I do like the illustrations, and would have loved even more small photos of the entrepreneurs in the back. I think the layout is engaging, and I like the facts about the countries that the folx profiled originated in. I think readers will be drawn in, and there are several infographic pages and even a quiz at the back to figure out what kind of businesses the reader might be interested in starting.

Although we reside on colonized and stolen lands, the United States is a nation of immigrants. Our society is complex, multifaceted, and a much better place when we welcome diversity and ingenuity into our communities.

This book was kindly sent by DuoPress Books, but all opinions are my own!

Samantha Chagollan

Samantha Chagollan is a born storyteller. And general smart aleck, if you ask her mom. 

She’s also an award-winning author and editor of a variety of children’s fiction and nonfiction books. A native Southern Californian, Samantha grew up with a passion for telling and writing stories. 

Through the family’s art store in Huntington Beach, California, she taught arts and crafts to both children and adults for five years. She went on to earn a degree in literature from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, where she focused her studies on multicultural literature and the Spanish language. 

After working as an editor and writer in book publishing for many years, she focused her work in the financial services industry as a marketing communications manager for several years. Samantha is currently working as a freelance content creator, editor and writer and is probably crafting a new story at this very moment.

Calef Brown

From Calef’s website:

“I studied illustration at Art Center College of Design, and had my first published illustration appear in SPIN magazine in 1989.

Since then my work has appeared in lots of other publications, including Newsweek, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Travel and Leisure, and many more. I have also created murals, book covers, visual development, packaging and advertising for clients includingAdidas, Coca-Cola, Levi Strauss, Target Stores, Laika, Grey Advertising, Weiden and Kennedy, Sony Music, Warner Bros. Records, Capitol Records, Virgin Records, Atlantic Records, A & M Records, The Playboy Jazz Festival, MTV Networks, Fraser Paper, Fox River Paper, Martha Stewart Inc., and Nickelodeon.

Beginning in 1998, I’ve written and illustrated thirteen books for children including Polkabats and Octopus Slacks, Dutch Sneakers and Fleakeepers, Tippintown, Soup for Breakfast, Hallowillloween, We Go Together!, Boy Wonders, Pirateria, and Flamingos on the Roof – winner of the Myra Cohn Livingston poetry award, and a New York Times bestseller. Hypnotize a Tiger – Poems About Just About Everything, which was published by Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt in 2015, is my first aimed at middle-grade readers, and recently won a Lee Bennett Hopkins honor award and The Lion and the Unicorn Award for Children’s Poetry. My latest book, The Ghostly Carousel, was published by Lerner in August of 2018, and my next one – UP VERSES DOWN is coming in June of 2019 from Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt.

I have also illustrated the work of other authors, including books by Daniel Pinkwater, Edward Lear, James Thurber, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Jonah Winter.

I am an associate professor at Rhode Island School of Design in the Illustration department, and have taught previously at Otis College of Art and Design, Art Center College of Design, and Emily Carr University.”

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