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The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time.

A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages.

With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope.

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Comments on: "The arrival – Shaun Tan" (41)

  1. Yeshe said:

    I liked the style of this book, it is different because its just words. It is very interesting and it shows the story of a man who has to leave his family to go and look for a better home because his home is not safe as it is filled with strange creatures that lurk over his town. In the end his family finally get to be with each other and they live happily in their new home.

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  2. Phoebe M said:

    The Arrival is such a beautiful and powerful book. There may be no words but Shaun Tan is still telling us a story. The picture’s are so beautifully detailed and the characters are all so unique and different. The Arrival tells us about the story of an immigrant and his journey to a new country, his hardships and his opportunities. It is really an amazing book and I would recommend it to anyone over the age of 9. I give it a 9/10.

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  3. I recommend this book to all teenagers it shows the life of immigrants and the hardships they go through. It is quite emotional and makes you think about the emotional sacrifices you have to give up just to support your family. Even though this book doesn’t have any words it is so detailed you don’t need words because it tells an emotional story that makes you feel like you’re in the book. This is a book about a man who has to leave his dangerous country to support his family and find a job. It shows us how he try to communicate with the people around him by drawing. On his journey he meets new people that impact him and show him that their are people around him that are suffering through the same things. I won’t spoil the ending but if you are truly understand what it is like for immigrants and how they feel when they take this scary journey. Then I think the arrival is a great book you could read

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  4. I remember reading this book in year 8 and I was always interested in the story line. It is seen by everyone in their own way no matter how alike anyone is and that’s why it is very interesting to discuss. I do like how it has no words, so by looking at the pictures you are able to identify and convey a deeper meaning about the story as their are no words to help you fund out what it is about. Another thing I like about it is that it is about a strong topic that enforces the idea of the hard times throughout immigration. It then gives you an insight into a more detailed way of understanding this topic.
    I really enjoyed doing some study of this book and I rate it a 7/10.

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  5. Georgie said:

    In Shaun Tan’s “The Arrival” pictures can literally portal 1000 words. Each picture has meaning and symbols to display emotions and moods. The arrival is about a man who has left his family behind to find a safer and secure home for him, his wife and his daughter. Reoccurring symbols such the origami bird and the spiky tails have a huge impact on the protagonists life. This story relates to many other stories of people in the world today. Some people have to drop everything at home to find a secure place to live for their family. The format was well thought out and it explains a lot as his journey goes on. I would definitely recommend this book as it portrays so many meanings and messages. It is a very inspiring story and it allows the audience to think outside the box.

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  6. linara said:

    This is book is a very interesting book because in the book there are no words. Its just pictures and because it is with pictures, you can read the book and feel any way about the story. When reading the book,as there are no words you have to imagine what life was at that time.

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  7. Such an unique book. As it has no words the author has left it up to the readers to interpret and analyse the story. It is a really enjoyable book that takes you on a journey. It makes to believe that you are the characters and you feel the feelings that the characters feel. I would recommend this book to everyone as it doesn’t matter what you enjoy, how much you know about what is happening in the book, it is a book for anyone.

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  8. The Arrival was such an interesting book! I loved how it had no words and left it for you to figure out what was happening. The illustrations in this book are AMAZING! Again because it has no words, you can come to many conclusions about what the book is about. I would recommend it for readers aged 12+ as it could be a bit confusing for younger readers as it has no words. Through the pictures that Shaun Tan has so beautifully drawn we see the story of a man who is migrating to a different place leaving his family behind. At this new place everything is different. He must adapt to this new way of life on his own and try and make a living. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did, it’s amazing how a series of pictures can take you on such a journey! 8.5/10!

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  9. Angelina said:

    This book is full of wonderful pictures and illustrations, and it is very clever as to how the author has conveyed the message within the story. I really enjoyed reading this book in class and learning about the feeling and emotions that can take place during migration. It has some very curious creatures and animal within the book, as well as a very obvious drawing style. The story itself is a very beautiful and intriguing one and so, I am giving it a 10/10 for wonderful illustrations and a very powerful storyline.

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  10. paris said:

    this book is a very clever book it makes us think about what it would be like if we were a migrant from a foreign country. We read this book in class i really enjoyed it even though it had no words i think i would rate this a 7 out of ten i think it really let us use our imagination.

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  11. Chloe Doyle said:

    I am reading the Arrival at the moment and i am loving it. It is a bit confusing to understand but if you look at the little details you can see the meaning and the story telling behind it. you can feel all the emotions the characters. They are displayed so well and the facial expressions are really good too. I love the little pets everyone has in this new country. The are like aliens and they look really weird!!! it really sets the mood with the sepia coloured pages and old like looking. i hope you love it!!!!!!!!!!!

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  12. I liked the story and the meaning behind this book but I still prefer reading a book with words but this was good different.

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  13. in class we have been looking at the book the arrival. it is an interesting book as their is no words. without words you have to have an open mind on what the book is about. it is very interesting and so far i am enjoying it. I think that you should read it because i think you will like it!

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  14. This is my favourite book of all time!! I have fell in love with it ever since I have first seen it. This book is cleverly told by drawings. Each one very detailed and engaging. I first saw this book in year 6 and have loved it ever since. It is about a man who must travel to a better place. He leaves his wife and daughter and travels to a strange land. The story line may make it sound boring but the drawings are incredible and display so much. This book is very interesting to study as it has so many different things going on and all of these things make you fascinated. This book is also very similar to a debate going on today. Refugees. There is a on going debate about refugees and letting them stay in Australia. This book is about a man finding refuge for his family. He works very hard to make this happen. I would rate this book a 10 out of 10 because it is a great book for any age and will also be one of my favourite books.

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  15. Matilda said:

    The Arrival by Shaun Tan (an incredible author and illustrator known best for his visual novels) is an incredible book about a man, and his journey to an unknown place. I love this book because it has no words and only incredibly detailed drawings. The settings and people appear quite surreal and the image always has a meaning that the reader has to search for. This is a book that makes think deeply about what is happening, and I think it gives the reader a more eye opening experience. The book is set out as if some images were pasted in, as if it were some kind of album or record of the characters experiences. Each one captures a different consecutive moment in the story. Obviously this book is not for everyone, as the drawings may be confusing and some people enjoy actually reading the story. I recommend it to anyone who is willing to go on a journey, but take the time to really experience it.

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  16. I think that the Shaun Tan graphic novel called the Arrival is a different intake on a story. I really enjoyed this book because instead of using words to create an image in your head it uses illustrations to describe what is happening in the story. I give this book a rating of 7 out of 10!

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  17. The Arrival is a beautiful book told completely by illustrations. I heard about and read this book a long time ago however I can still remember the impact it had on me. As there are no words in the book except for the title and all the illustrations are in sepia tones, you really have to use your imagination to feel the emotions of the story. I also think that it is brilliantly illustrated so that even though people may have slightly different perceptions of what exactly is happening, the migrant’s story stays the same only with a few details changing. This is because the images show the literal story however it is up to you to figure out what is happening “behind the scenes” so to speak. I feel that all migrants are able to relate to the story because it is so vague because it is only illustrations, however also specific in the fact that you can always tell something from his home is haunting him. I loved this book and think everyone should take a look at it, there is no excuse not to.

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  18. Any sort of graphically illustrated novels and books are right up my street. I had heard of The Arrival before in primary school and had previously had a flick through it. I became captivated by the beautiful images and stunning drawings through the story, each one was so detailed and really held the intriguing plot line that ran throughout the book. The Arrival is a story of immigration, a man who leaves his wife and little girl to find a better life in a foreign land. It tells the tales of who he meets and what he does. It is really fascinating and you could stare at the different images for hours. My favourite thing about the book is that you can sort make your own story within the plot line and image the details that are fully presented on the page. I would rate The Arrival a nine out of ten and a must read for those above the age of 12 – 13.

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  19. I like the way that the book as only pictures and no words so then you can use your imagination.

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  20. The Arrival is a great book it really gives readers to use their imagination because there are no words and just pictures and its so good because so many people can have their own opinions on the story. The illustrator has used strange animals some looking scary and bad and some looking kind and are coloured in white, this shows the difference things that have happened in the book and you are able to see what parts are good and bad. Different people will interpretative different things in this book but thats good because they all have their own opinion.

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  21. The Arrival is an amazing book, because although it doesn’t have any words, the story is so easy to follow but the meaning behind it can be interpreted differently by different people. I think that if there were words, it would ruin it, because it is so intriguing an gets your brain turning over so many different thoughts. I think that the author, or in this case, illustrator, has done this book really well because it makes you think about the different things that are happening and their meanings. I love the illustrations because they are so detailed, and instead of having an actual realistic drawing, the author has used strange animals or other objects to represent things that we recognise as things such as feelings. For an example, the shadows of a dragon in the migrants’ old town may represent danger and fear of living in an unsafe town. Overall, I think that it is a great book and that you will enjoy it.

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  22. Paris said:

    The Arrival is an amazing book. It is about family, migration, isolation and sadness. It is about a man who must migrate alone to a new land for a better future., for both him and his family. The one thing I love about this book is that it is a picture book, just proving the fact that a picture can say a thousand words. Shaun Tan (the author) has used great technique in the texture of the pictures and the use of colour. I would recomment this book to people who love picture books, and even if you don’t you’ll still enjoy The Arrival.

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  23. This book is a graphic novel, meaning it has no words, the only way to decipher the story is through the pictures on the page. The series of pictures is made to make you feel emotionally intrigued, and the best part about this book, is that everyone interprets it differently. This book is about a man who leaves his family to seek a better life away from their dangerous life. The migrant encounters much confusion and many hardships along side the pain of being away from his family. It is a novel of finding hope, and a better life. The story relates to the journey of any migrant migrating to a strange distant country. This book is a great way to get your mind thinking as you must uncover the storyline buried beneath the wordless illustrations. 4.5 stars in my opinion!

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  24. My whole year level are studying this book ‘The Arrival’ by Shaun Tan in english. I love this book because there is no words and you have to think about what you see, which is sometimes hard but sometimes easy. So basically the pictures tell a story but you tell the story in your own words. In the book there are 3 or 4 main characters and they all have a chapter to tell their story. I rate this book a 10/10!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  25. Lauren said:

    The arrival is a different type of book because it is a lot more visual. We have been working on this book in the last few weeks in english and it has been great. I love looking at the pictures because they tell a story. I think the author has used a great way to tell stories of migration. I wold rate this book 8/10 🙂

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  26. Eliza said:

    we are currently studying the arrival in english. It is about a man who migrants to another country because of something that has happened. His family don’t move with him because they couldn’t afford it. It is full of pictures and really tells a great story. I think it is great and i recommend it to everyone!

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  27. Charli said:

    I adore this book so much and he reason for it is that is because it has no words. I know that some people would see no words and be horrified and so was i until I started going through the book. What I log the most about this book is that you get to create the words yourself with the pictures that are provided in the book. I have only read it once in class and hope to go and buy my own copy of it. i would rate this book a 10b out of 10 it is truly amazing.

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  28. I would recommend this book to anyone because it is so different to any other book. Doesn’t matter if you don’t like reading because it is all pictures but I feel like it tells the story better than what it would be in righting. I didn’t know much about immigrating I feel like I have a good idea of what it was like and how hard it was for some people. Kids would also love this book because the pictures are so detailed. It is about a man who has migrated to a different county because he was trying to find work. But he had to leave his family. In the end he gets enough money and his child and wife come over to the new county that is a much better life than there old one. After that he met new people and they discussed all there migrating. I love this book and I rate it 10/10.

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  29. I loved this book! Even though it is a book that doesn’t have words in it (only pictures). It still is great to have a look it. It is truly amazing at how you can learn so much about a character, place, story from one single picture! Shaun Tan has created a fantastic book, which is interesting and shows a lot of emotion and tells a great story about one family. By just having pictures to look at. But I do think the book could be even more amazing if it did have words, so we could learn even more about the characters and the story line. All though it still is great without words! The book is about a man and his family, he has to leave his family to find a better place to live and a better job to feed and look after his family. It shows us his journey and the places he goes to. I would recommend this book to all ages, as adults and older children would love the detail in the pictures and they would understand the story line well. Also younger children I’m sure would like looking at the pictures in the book and would understand the story line too! Definitely a nice book!

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  30. Jessica W said:

    The Arrival is a very different book than most other books. It has no words. You have to find out what the pictures mean so you can find out the story. As they say pictures say 1000 words. The protoganist, the main character come to this new city because something back home is hunting him. He has to find his way through this new city and has to overcome these challenges.

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  31. The Arrival is just beautiful the way Shaun Tan explains his book through simply very detailed pictures. Every picture on every page tells another thousand words. It’s one of those books that get’s your mind to think. My favourite part of the book is when the protaganist’s family finally comes over to the new country he found. It’s a reflection of all the hard work the dad has put into helping his family out and making a better life style for them. I rate this book a 8 out of 10 for it’s detail and story line.

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  32. charli said:

    I agree that this is an amazing story and although doesn’t have any words the pictures express lot’s of emotion and detail involved. My favourite character in this book is the protagonist because he has a very interesting story about migration, and missing his family. The story is very captivating and can be interpreted in so many different ways by different people. I rate this book a 8/10.

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  33. I really liked this book, I liked it because it showed a great amount of detail in his pictures and lots of emotion in just one character. My favourite part of the book was when the family was finally reunited, I enjoyed this part because it pictured them as a loving family. My favourite character in the book was the father, I liked him because he showed a lot of determination in finding a job to feed his family, I also liked him because he risked everything to start a new life for his family. My least favourite part of the book was when these giants came with massive vacuums and were sucking people and buildings up, I found this very confusing. If I could change something in the book I would change that the book has words, just to elaborate more off the pictures. I would recommend this book to older ages because it shows another perspective of coming to Australia as a Free Settler. I rate this book a 8 out of 10.

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  34. I love this book
    Not just because of the amazing drawings and pictures, but for the message it brings across.
    This book is about a man who’s town is in danger, he has to leave his family and set off to a new place. This brings stress and anxiety to not only him but his family that he has had to leave behind. As he gets there he has trouble with many things such as the language and getting around. This is like many stories that i have heard from people who know of migrants and I’m glad I have had a look at this book because he has made me realise what it is really like for them.
    I would recommend this book to all ages and anyone who is interested to studying about migration. I recommend it a 8/10

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  35. Isobel said:

    The Arrival
    This author has created an amazing way to tell a story. There is no words but the pictures can really tell you the story well. This fantastic story is about a man who travels to a new land in hope of earning some money to start a new life in this land with his family. The story is through his eyes, you can easily tell how he is feeling by what the picture is in the book.My favourite parts are when he meets all the different people and they share their stories with him, I find it amazing to see what they have gone through in the past some are quite sad.The main character seems like a fast learner because he is not terrible at communication with others for example he was able to get a job to earn some money.This book is absolutely amazing I wouldn’t change a thing, I would recommend this book to 10+ because it might be a bit hard to understand at a younger age, but I am sure everyone who reads this book would love it.If you love adventure emotion and a tiny bit of horror this is the book for you. I would rate this book a 10/10!!

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  36. Tahlia said:

    Today we watched this in class and it was very different because it has no words. The pictures are amazing and so detailed. The story is also quite captivating and is interpreted so many different ways by different people.

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  37. The Arrival is amazing.

    There may not be words but the picture say it all.

    It is about one mans journey of immigration and they way he feels and what it is through his eyes.

    The city he arrives in is ‘alien’ and everything is daunting and new and different. Not knowing how to communicate he trys to find shelter and work to support his family back home.

    The pictures show the emotion and feeling and narrate the book perfectly.

    The man is a father and has left behind his wife and daughter back home. They eventually join up together t the end but in-between it is a rough journey of hardship.

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  38. I remember seeing this book in primary school and then at high school. It brought back many memories. I really enjoyed this book because I love how this book is made. The pictures are really good and they help the story seem more real. I think it is a smart way to show a story. I would recommend this book to anyone who love pictures and love to think of their own ways to tell and think of their own way to see different stories.

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  39. This is one of my all-time favourites. What an amazing way to tell a story! Shaun Tan has the uncanny ability to create a myriad of emotions without using a single word. I found myself going back several times and seeing new things every time I read it.
    My sister actually gave it to a man who had recently arrived in Australia and he was so overcome that he was moved to tears. “That is my story”, he told her.
    So, no matter what language you speak and what culture you come from, this book is accessible to you, and it tells a story which is important and necessary. I agree with Grace and Isobel…everyone should read it.

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  40. I agree this is a great book. It is a really interesting and different way to tell a story. The pictures are amazing and so detailed. The story is also quite captivating and is interpreted so many different ways by different people.
    It is about a man who moves to a different country and about all the foreign things and how he sees them.
    It is a great change to the usual story-telling and leaves quite a bit of room for imagination. Everyone should definitely take a look at it and see what you think. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

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  41. I recommend this book called The arrival ( I know it is in the library but did not seem to be on the blog) The arrival is a very interesting book as each person who reads it interprets the book in their own way. The reason for this is The arrival is a story made up of pictures there are no words in the book at all. The arrival is about immigration and in particular is about a man who leaves his home and travels to a better place it is a little bit sad as he has to leave his family behind . He travels to a place where he cannot understand the language or writing, so he learns to communicate through drawing. This book is a really good story to well not read but look at and tell. The layout of the book is kind of like a comic book but it is not in color but in tones of brown.I recommend this book for all ages and especially people who don’t like to read lots. The Arrival is a really beautiful story.

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