‘The Immigrant Advantage’ explores the advantage of being an immigrant in America

Claudia Kolker

Guest Post by Juan Alanis (@JuanofWords)

Exploring "the immigrant paradox"

At a time when so much is made about being an immigrant in this country, after Arizona, Alabama and so many others, and right as we prepare to elect the next president of the United States, author Claudia Kolker’s new  book, The Immigrant Advantage, released today by Simon & Schuster, offers a refreshing new look at what we can actually learn from “the immigrants” around us.  Not a politically charged book in any sense, Kolker’s Advantage
explores “the immigrant paradox” discovered by social scientists that first generation immigrants in the U.S. tend to be healthier than the average American, and that the customs they bring with them may be one of the main reason for this.

In The Immigrant Advantage, Kolker introduces seven customs, dedicating each chapter to exploring one of those practices.  Kolker takes readers into the living rooms, kitchens, and restaurants of immigrant families to bring these customs to life, allowing us to experience them in an intimate way and to hear about their benefits in the words of the first and second generation immigrants who practice them.  What she discovers makes a gripping case that some of America’s smartest ideas – and best reminders of our own core values – now reside with our country’s newcomers.

The seven topics explored include the following:

  • How to Save – Vietnamese Money Clubs can help us to financially plan for vacations, taxes, even weddings and college tuition.
  • How to Mother a Mother – The Mexican cuarentena may help buffer against post-partum depression and encourages mother-child bonding.
  • How to Court – Could South Asian assisted marriage be the perfect balance between old-school parental oversight and modern freedom of choice?
  • How to Learn – The myth of the “model minority” and the power of Korean and Chinese afterschools.
  • How to Shelter – The social and financial benefits of living in a Jamaican multigenerational household.
  • How to be a Good Neighbor –  Hanging out on the stoop or the corner in barrios fosters social bonds that might explain why some of the poorest immigrant communities have some of the best health outcomes.
  • How to Eat – Delivery of Vietnamese Monthly Rice helps relieves the stress of having to cook a meal after a long day of work and allows more time for families to spend at the dinner table.

We’re intrigued!  And what better way to bring more attention to such a compelling topic than by getting some of our LATISM familia members to read and review this new book.  No se preocupen, we’re already on it.  Check out the list of your favorite bloggers who will be participating in The Immigrant Advantage book tour over the next couple of weeks, and make sure to stop by at each of their homes online to see what all the buzz is about.

Author Claudia Kolker will also be visiting each of these blogs on their respective dates to join in the conversation!

The Immigrant Advantage is a fascinating look into the lives of immigrant enclaves in the United States that we so seldom gain access to, and an inspiring exploration about how these customs can enrich our own lives.  The book is available online at various sites, including Amazon.com

Claudia Kolker

About Claudia Kolker:
Claudia Kolker has reported extensively from Mexico and Central America, as well as the Caribbean, Japan, India and Pakistan. A formerLos Angeles Times bureau chief and member of the Houston Chronicle editorial board, she has also written for The Economist, The Washington PostThe Boston GlobeO: The Oprah MagazineSlate, and Salon. She lives in Houston with her family. For her research of The Immigrant Advantage Kolker visited Korean and Chinese afterschools, West Indian multigenerational households in New Jersey, and Chicago’s “Little Village”.

About Juan of Words:
Juan Alanis (@juanofwords) is a South Texas based writer living in Houston who owns and operates the blog www.JuanofWords.com. You can find him on Facebook, where he’s always up to something “bien Latino” at https://www.facebook.com/juanofwordsblog. Also, don’t miss Juan’s hilarious misadventures, personal vlogs and random thoughts on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Juanofwords as well as his humorous insights about his own life at: https://blog.chron.com/juanofwords/




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