I am so pleased introduce my first historical fiction picture book, WELCOME TO AMERICA, CHAMP! (Sleeping Bear Press). Set during and just after WWII, the story takes place in England and on the great ship, The Queen Mary and features stunning watercolor paintings by award-winning illustrator Doris Ettlinger. It offers a look at a unique historical event — the Brides and Babies voyages of 1946, when from many parts of the world, the WWII War Brides of American and Canadian servicemen traveled with their children to a new life and their waiting husbands across the sea.
Young Thomas celebrates as his widowed mother marries Jack, a kind American serviceman stationed in WWII England. But Thomas realizes someday he and Mum will move faraway to Jack’s home in America.
Once the war ends, Thomas is about to embark on a history-making event – the “Brides and Babies” voyages of 1946. Great ships are readied to transport tens of thousands of “soldier brides,” ladies from across Europe who, like his mother, married American servicemen. They will cross the Atlantic, crowded in small cabins with their babies and children, to awaiting husbands in the United States.
Thomas is excited to sail aboard the famous RMS Queen Mary. But is he brave enough to leave England – forever?
In this hope-filled WWII and immigration story, Stier and Ettlinger present an extraordinary historical event as experienced by one spirited boy from England.
Heartfelt watercolor illustrations bring to life the anxiety and tentative joys of this unique historical situation.” Booklist