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Drake English professor launches book on young immigrants' journeys to Iowa

February 8, 2011
News Photo
Carol Spaulding-Kruse at the "Zakery's Bridge" book launch.

Co-authors Carol Spaulding-Kruse and Kay Smith celebrated the release of their book, "Zakery's Bridge: Children's Journeys From Around the World to Iowa,"
with a book launch and signing on Jan. 30 during a naturalization
ceremony for nearly 100 children. The event showcased performances by
Indian sitar players and dancers, Mexican guitarists, African drummers
and the Iowa Youth Chorus.

Former Iowa Gov. Robert D. Ray, BN'52, LW'54, wrote the book's
introduction and made opening remarks at the launch, held at the State
Historical Museum of Iowa.

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

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.

"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.


News Photo
Children featured in the book also attended the signing.

The collection, 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 Iowa's 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 Mikaela Jorgensen, AS"˜10 served as interns on the
project. Phillip Harder, AS"˜10, 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. The book is
available online at www.zakerysbridge.com.