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Drake English prof publishes book on young immigrants' journeys to Iowa

January 30, 2011
News Photo
Carol Spaulding-Kruse

Co-authors Carol Spaulding-Kruse and Kay Smith will celebrate the release of their book, "Zakery's Bridge: Children's Journeys From Around the World to Iowa," with a book launch and signing on Sunday, Jan. 30.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, First Lady Chris Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will attend the event, which will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, 600 E. Grand Ave., as part of a naturalization ceremony for 100 children.

Former Iowa Gov. Robert D. Ray, who wrote the book's introduction, and Banker's Trust Co. President Suku Radia, who donated copies of the book for the children who will become citizens that day,
will make opening remarks.

U.S. Magistrate Judge
Celeste F. Bremer, an adjunct professor of law at Drake Law School, will officiate at the citizenship ceremony.
Bremer also teaches leadership courses for Drake's School of
Education.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will showcase performances by Indian sitar players and
dancers, Mexican guitarists, African drummers and the Iowa Youth Chorus.
A display of flags from around the world will also be featured, and
various ethnic foods will be available for purchase.


News Photo
"Zakery's Bridge" features children describing their lives in their home countries, their journeys to America and what it has been like to settle in Iowa.

Encouraging understanding within a community of diversity

Spaulding-Kruse, associate professor of English at Drake, and Smith, a
Des Moines-based children's author, wrote "Zakery's Bridge" over the
course of four years.

The book profiles nine young immigrants from all over the globe who
have settled with their families in Iowa. Some of the children are
refugees, some have one foreign-born parent and one American parent and
some came to the United States by choice.

"When we interviewed the children, their families welcomed us into
their homes, invited us to their celebrations and festivals, shared
photographs and items from their country of origin, taught us about
their traditions and told us about their sometimes difficult journeys to
Iowa," Spaulding-Kruse said.

The collection, which is being published by Des Moines-based Shrieking Tree Publishing,
features young storytellers describing their lives in their home
countries, explaining how and why they came to America and what it has
been like to settle in Iowa. The children come from Bosnia, India,
Israel, Laos, Mexico, The Netherlands, Palestinian Territories, Sudan
and Taiwan.

"This book is important because our children will grow up to be the
coworkers, neighbors, friends and spouses of immigrants,"
Spaulding-Kruse said. "We feel very strongly that this book is needed in
our own children's classrooms and we must educate children on how to
interact within a community of diversity."

Drake student Merle Domer, a senior religion and philosophy double
major from Des Moines and 2010 Drake graduate Mikaela Jorgenson served
as interns on the project. Phillip Harder, also a 2010 Drake graduate,
contributed several photographs for the book, including the cover image.
 

The "Building Zakery's Bridge" project was funded in part by a Drake University research grant and the Drake Center for the Humanities. It has also received generous donations from Bankers Trust of Iowa and the State Historical Society of Iowa. 

Proceeds from the book's sale will be used to support the work of the Iowa Council for International Understanding and CultureALL.

For more information, contact Carol Spaulding-Kruse at 515-271-3969 or carol.spaulding@drake.edu.