New Mainers: Portraits of Our Immigrant Neighbors
By Pat Nyhan (Maine author), Jan Pieter Van Voorst Van Beest (Maine photographer), Reza Jalali (Forward-Maine author)
Who are these new Mainers, and why have they come here? They are from war-torn countries such as Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Cambodia; from poor Latin American nations; and from economically vibrant places like Hong Kong, India, and Europe–in other words, from across the global spectrum. They came to Maine for a job or to reunite with their family or because they fell in love or to attend college here or to flee persecution in their homelands.
Although the twenty-five immigrants who tell their stories had widely varying reasons for coming to Maine, many have made remarkable contributions to the state. Some contribute high-level skills in medicine, engineering, academia, law, public-school education, hotel management, and social services. Others have enriched the state’s arts and sports worlds. Several are used to going back and forth across borders, either as transnational professionals or as migrant workers. About one-third of these immigrants are successful entrepreneurs. As you will find out, the journeys of these immigrants have not been easy, but all of them are glad they wound up in this state and are proud of their new identities as Mainers.
Find a copy at Portland Public Library | Local Bookstore | Amazon | B&N
Publisher: Tilbury House (Maine)
Info: ISBN 9780884483120, Paperback, $20
Setting: Greater Portland, ME, Maine
Featured Community: Multicultural American
Reviews & Accolades
“…Told in a series of 25 profiles, the book presents a diverse and enterprising mix of people who span five continents and countless walks of life. How these immigrants came here, what they left behind, and the lives they’ve built are the focus of this complex anthology…a provocative and unsettling book for the very reasons that immigration is such a difficult issue. Although the stories center on the experience of 25 individuals, they reflect, to some degree, on all of us…it strips the theoretical veil from the immigration debate and gives it two dozen human faces.” —Working Waterfront
“…allows 25 immigrants to Maine to tell about their unique experiences moving to this state…. Not surprisingly, immigrants have made significant contributions to the state in the areas of medicine, engineering, academia, law, public school education, hotel management and social services…. How we arrived in this country varies from individual to individual. But, we are, nonetheless, bound to our future as a whole community.” —Maine Sunday Telegram
“Every saga, as Nyhan has recounted it, packs a wallop and genuine eye opener for those of us who usually see only the next stop along the way….not a book you will pick up and read at one sitting. I found the stories to be so revealing and sometimes sad that I could only read one at a time…. The personal stories are what make this book a much-needed education about where Maine fits into the global agenda…. It’s new and it’s startling, and I believe that reading it is certain to enrich a reader’s interest in the greater world and all it has to offer.” —Capital Weekly
The following portraits speak to the universal difficulties and obstacles many immigrants face with language, maintaining identity and obtaining legal status.
Khadija Guled, Somalia
Grace Valenzuela, Philippines
Rafael Galvez, Peru
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