Maine Sunday Telegram
Sunday, December 7, 2003 Immigration authority
By SELENA RICKS,
Bates People in the News 2003
What experts say:
Demin and Lambert's book "Welcome to America" is just what the
doctor ordered. It is an excellent and necessary resource for
people who are new to the United States whether they are
refugee, immigrants, students, or traveling here on business.
Newly arrived refugees to the United States will greatly benefit
from the book, everything a newcomer would need to know from
personal budgeting, clothing sizes, purchasing a car to choosing
a place to live is extensively covered. For the new English
readers, it is also a benefit to be able to refer back and forth
from Russian to English.
The personalized, sympathetic stories also allow the reader to
realize that they are not alone in the struggle to acculturate
to life in the United States. Even native-born Americans could
benefit from reading this book. The authors have covered details
of our culture that many of us have never taken the time to
fully examine. I strongly suggest this book to any reader.
Jennifer Babich, Acting Program Director
Catholic Charities Maine Refugee and Immigration Services
Reference Books Annual (ARBA) 2006
This enormous work is an excellent
reference volume for Russian-speaking immigrants to the
United States. The book is arranged in parallel
English-Russian text, and contains very practical
information that new immigrants often need to know but have
difficulty finding on their own, particularly if they are
still learning English. Chapters include practically
anything one would need to know to live in the United
States, including information on rental housing and
utilities, how to find employment, shopping, credit cards,
taxes, insurance, and education.
The information is written by a recent
Russian immigrant and is geared toward those immigrants who
arrive in the United States, many of whom are highly
educated but generally unprepared for the culture shock that
awaits them. In some cases, the book is too detailed; for
example, in explaining property taxes the book provides a
listing of property tax rates in cities across the country,
and in the chapter on buying a house there is a listing of
median sales prices in cities for 2000-2001. Since this
information changes rapidly and only covers a limited area
of the country, including it here seems a waste of space. At
the same time, the explanation of areas such as auto
insurance and television ratings is so thorough that many
non-immigrants might find those sections useful.
This is an excellent reference book for public or
academic libraries that serve a significant Russian population,
but it also would be useful for other immigrants with a good grasp
of English. It is a bit too large and expensive to be a handbook
that most new immigrants can purchase themselves, but for those
struggling to adjust to a new culture, this book is very useful and
should be available in a library.
Terri Tickle Miller, Slavic Bibliographer, Michigan State Univ.
Libraries, December 2005
the magazine the New York Times calls "an acquisitions bible for
public and school librarians nationwide," is the review journal
of the American Library Association. "…recommended reference
sources. For libraries serving Russian-speaking populations,
this volume tells new arrivals everything they need to know
about settling in the U.S., from buying a used car to applying
for college. English and Russian versions of the text are on
Mary Ellen Quinn, Booklist, March 1, 2004
Welcome To America, English-Russian Version is an immense and
in-depth guide especially for American immigrants. Each two-page
spread presents English information on one side and the same
information translated into Russian on the other. Among the many
topics covered this comprehensive volume are taxes, insurance,
buying and selling a home, obtaining employment, learning
English, medical care, credit and credit cards, social welfare
and retirement programs, and much more. An extensively thorough
yet down-to-earth practical and easy-to-follow instructional,
and an absolute "must-have" for anyone braving the challenge of
a new culture, legal system and way of life.
Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch,
Volume 3, Number 10 October 2004
Bi-Lingual Guide for Russian and Other Immigrants,
family has lived in the United States since before the American
Revolution, I have always been intrigued by the special problems
of immigrants to this country. When the size of immigration was
larger, many immigrant groups combined to create their own
institutions to help new immigrants adapt. With legal
immigration now quite limited, resources for new immigrants are
scarcer while the complexity of modern life in the U.S. is
greater than ever before.
To fill that void, you can rely on the fine work that Vitaliy
Demin and his daughter, Olga Demin Lambert, have provided in
this extensive and exhaustive volume. They write from direct
experience of having come to the United States in 1993 from
The format of the book provides a page of text in American
English on the left hand page while the same text appears in
Russian on the right facing page. Since I do not read Russian, I
can only comment on the English section.
Although this book is designed to be most helpful to Russian
immigrants, I would be astonished if it was not just as valuable
to immigrants from other countries as long as they possess
enough language skill to read the English version.
The book deals with the official and the unofficial equally
well. I was especially impressed with the sections on learning
English (in the context of my many years of service in English
as a Second Language programs provided for immigrants), rental
housing, car buying, employment, education, welfare and
retirement programs and medical care. There's also good advice
on cultural issues like the preference for people to bathe and
change clothes daily, use deodorant, brush and floss teeth twice
daily and so forth.
This book is so good that I found myself learning things I
didn't know in the parts on rental housing and car buying. The
material is easy to follow, with many tables of abbreviations,
definitions, measurements and sources.
The section on learning English could have become the basis of a
personal memoir that would have quite good sales just for its
human interest value. The personal example of Mr. Demin in that
section was very moving to me and set a helpful tone for the
I also tested the material for accuracy, and found surprisingly
few errors. <...> I compared the book to various omnibus
resources on similar financial matters written by those for whom
English is their native language and found this material to be
more helpful and more accurate.
If you are a prospective immigrant, a new immigrant or an
immigrant who is still having problems adjusting, this book is a
must read for you.
If you know such a person, this book would make a thoughtful
We all owe the authors a debt of gratitude for their excellent
gift to immigrants!
Reviewer: Donald Mitchell
"speaker, author and change consultant,
Let’s say you’re a Russian who wants to emigrate to America or
is already here and having difficulty adapting to a new culture
and society. This is a very common problem, but it has now been
solved by Vitaliy Demin and Olga Demin Lambert who have
published a combined English/Russian edition of The Complete
Guide for Immigrants: Welcome to America.
This book, of course, will also work for those immigrants who
need only read the English text. It is 1008 pages filled with
tables, charts, and tons of information about how to rent an
apartment, buy a car, open a bank account, find a job, pay
taxes, and so much more that it is a virtual encyclopedia to
successfully assimilating into American society. The authors
represent two generations of a family that moved to the US from
Russia in 1993. They arrived speaking no English and yet have
made a successful transition. Their knowledge and experience
infuses this reference to make the transition for other
immigrants. This book is an American success story.
Bookviews by Alan Caruba,
February 2004, Bookviews.com
What readers say:
Best reference guide for life in America. Well written and
organized book with great informative content. Very well suited
for throughout reading or to be used as a reference for many of
difficult situations encountered not only by immigrants but also
for those who grew up in this country. I wish this book was
available back when I was going through my growing pains. A lot
of the questions I had to find answers for the hard way are
covered in this very complete publication. To this day, after
being in this country for over ten years, I still find new
information that I use on daily basis. Highly recommend for
anyone who wants to learn the ins and outs of the life in
Aleksandr Rabinovich, Massachussets
Dear Mr. Demin, I am one the Reference Librarian's here at
Portland Public Library. P. D. showed me your recent guide for
Russian Immigrants, and I must say it is very impressive. I am
very glad that we now own a copy, as this information is in
great demand from many of our users. I have shown it to a few
Russian visitors, and they were thrilled.
Sincerely, E. T. Portland Public Library
This is a book for all occasions. Although there are many
wonderful books written about all aspects of life in America,
few of them give such detailed information about banks and bank
services, credit, income, expenses, healthcare, etc. The book is
intended for immigrants who are either still planning to move to
the US or have already lived in this country for some time. ·
The book is also useful for people who do not speak English. ·
This book will make an indispensable addition to your library. ·
You absolutely need this information in today's world.
Everything in this book is presented in a concise, clear,
engaging manner--it's reading for both your soul and your mind.
Read it and see for yourself.
Irina Akhtareeva, Wisconsin.
Hello Vitaliy and Olga!
My husband and I are writing to express our gratitude to you.
Thank you for all the work you've done to help people who, for
one reason or another, found themselves in a new country. Your
work--your book-- is a real treasure. It has become a reference
book for us. We refer to it in all life situations. It's our
guidebook to America. I tell all my friends and acquaintances
about this book. I tell them: order it, you'll be glad you did.
A little bit about us: My name is Elena, I am 63 years old. I
have a degree in early childhood education and worked as a
director of a day care center for 30 years. My husband worked as
a driver in Russia; he is 66. We have lived in the US since 1999
and are planning to apply for citizenship soon. We are from
Magadan and have come here to join our son. He has been here for
13 years, his wife is American, and they have three children. He
has his own business, and we help him.
English is difficult for us, but we are already starting to
communicate a little. I hope your book can help us with it,
although it already is helping. Thank you once again - you are
good psychologists; you know what is difficult for us here!
Sincerely yours, Elena and Vladimir Gaskov,
Dear Vitaliy and Olga!
I am very grateful to you for your remarkable book. It became
a reference book for us. The first time I used practical
information from this "Bible" for immigrants was while
purchasing car insurance.
We are now studying the chapter on education, and I can say
that in our three years in the US, we have not been able to find
anything as useful or informative. If we had this information
three years ago, it would have been a lot easier for our son to
begin 8th grade, and we would also have chosen the right courses
for him in grades 8 and 9. Choosing appropriate courses is very
important for getting a good secondary education and preparing
for the future.
Each section of the book has great practical value for
everyday situations, both in the first days of immigration and
many years later. Of course, just like any handbook, it will
need to be updated regularly, but as of today, "Welcome to
America" is the only publication that can make life easier for
immigrants to the extent that it is even possible. You managed
to gather a great deal of necessary information in one book, and
this is the most CREDIBLE information available. Besides, you
give references to other sources, which greatly enhances the
usefulness of the book. Another huge advantage of this book is
that it is bilingual.
Therefore, my family and I would like to express nothing but
gratitude to you both, Vitaliy and Olga.
Yours, Igor Segal, Bountiful, Utah.
I want to express my deep gratitude to you for writing and
publishing your remarkable book "Welcome to America." It is a
true encyclopedia for all immigrants, a reference book for all
those who want to achieve success and prosperity in America.
A little bit about myself: I came to America three years ago
with my son, who was 14 years old at the time. And although I
have two advanced degrees – in engineering and economics, my
English was very far from perfect, basically at the level you
wrote about in the book. I have also experienced all the
emotions you describe in the book. There is no doubt that if I
could have read your book in Russia or even shortly after my
arrival in America, it would have helped me considerably with my
adjustment to the new country and finding my place here.
Your book contains a lot of useful and very necessary
information that all immigrants and all those who are dreaming
of coming to America must know. The lack of basic knowledge
about taxes, insurance, buying a car, renting and buying a home,
looking for a job, education and many other things can cost one
very dearly, and he or she will end up paying for mistakes made
out of ignorance for a long time.
Now, working as a tax preparer, I see how much some Americans
lose because they don't know things that seem very basic to me.
I had to teach my husband, who has lived in America his entire
life, how to budget his earnings to avoid many problems. As you
rightly noted in your book, about one million Americans are
forced to file for bankruptcy every year, many of them with
above average incomes.
I would strongly recommend this book to all immigrants, even
if they have already lived in America for more than three years,
and especially to those who have just arrived or are still
planning to come here. The money spent on this book will help
them save time and avoid unnecessary anxiety and expenses in the
I would also like to commend you for the wonderful idea of
publishing your book in Russian and English on opposite pages
and for the excellent quality of this first edition. Also, your
book is very easy to order and buy.
Thank you very much; I wish you prosperity and happiness.
Irina Notarian, Florida.
May 28, 2004
To: Mr. Demin
ViOLa Publishing, LLC
Thank you for the personal note enclosed with my second order.
I first read about your book in the newspaper, and was impressed
by the terrific idea. I ordered one for a good friend in Armenia
(a government education official) who hopes to immigrate next
Meanwhile, I showed the book my Russian teacher at Bowdoin ...
She seemed so enthralled that I ordered a second copy for her.
Although not my vocation, I have been very involved in a variety
of exchange programs, mostly with Armenia and Japan, despite my
Polish roots. Have you mentioned your book to exchange
organizations such as Project Harmony and Flex./Pax?
All of our future(s) rest with such international
Good luck to you and your family and your endeavors. What a
wonderful book you have created.
(Believe or not), I would like to order another (my third) copy
of your book "Welcome to America". The more international
friends see your wonderful book, the more want it.
When you will be working on one for each/every language?
Deborah Patten, M.D.
… your book is a great asset to our collection and really a
very useful tool for immigrants. We bought 12 copies of your
book for our branches.
Have a nice day, and looking forward to our collaboration.
Coping Skills Librarian
Queens Borough Public Library
Dear Vitaliy and Olga!
… I would love to have one more copy of your book for my son
who is now getting ready to undertake the difficulties of
immigrant life in America…
I am very grateful to you for your book. I can't wait to get
home from work because in your very useful book I have found a
very kind and wise friend. When I first came to the US, I went
through everything you describe while looking for information
about life in this country. You have kept me from many mistakes
and bumps in the road as I turned to people who have arrived
earlier but found few answers. People either forgot much of what
they had been through or lacked the appropriate knowledge and
did not want to show it <…> I would like to express my deep
gratitude for your work, for your manual that will help me
personally to get back on my feet and to help my children do the
You have given me renewed hope and faith in kind and
intelligent people who are willing and able to help others. Many
thanks to you.
With deep respect, Ludmila D. Iowa.
It is well known that having the right information is
essential for taking control of one's life. Very often we
immigrants lack the knowledge necessary for full integration
into our new world and becoming fully functioning members of
society. How much time, energy, and often money is spent trying
to obtain the necessary information! Therefore I am deeply
grateful to the authors of the book " Welcome to America " for
the wealth of useful information presented in their work.
In two months of reading of your book I have learned more
than during the previous three years of living in America.
Besides, the English-Russian version of the book allows me to
improve all aspects of my English.
Many thanks to you and best wishes.
The grateful reader. N. Zavlanova, New York.
A unique encyclopedia for all immigrants.
This is a really useful book. Even after five years in
, I found plenty of new and interesting information. The author
Vitaliy Demin, an engineer, was able to coherently present a lot
of material on many different topics that is usually
inaccessible to a general audience.
After reading this book, I found that the seemingly unrelated
pieces of knowledge that I acquired from other sources now
formed a coherent whole. I also have found information on many
subjects that I thought were only covered in specialized
literature. As we all know, specialized literature usually
contains many unnecessary details and sometimes leaves the
reader confused and disappointed. Insufficient knowledge of
English can be another obstacle to understanding such
literature. This book, however, covers many topics in a clear
and concise manner, which enables readers to quickly learn about
the subject they are interested in. Besides, the current book
market does not satisfy the majority of immigrant needs. This
book, on the other hand, contains answers to specific questions
most immigrants have. In addition, the excellent synchronous
English translation has given me the opportunity to take a fresh
look at my English skills and to improve them significantly.
The only thing I regret is that this book had not been
written five years ago when I first arrived in
. It would saved me so much time and frustration and would have
kept me from making many unnecessary mistakes. I think this book
is a unique encyclopedia for not just Russians, but for all
EVERY Immigrant (and their American spouses) needs to have.
to America" is a highly recommended book for anyone with an
immigrant wife from any culture, although the Russian
speakers tend to get the best benefit from it (at least I
haven't found an edition for other ethnic cultures - but
then again, I haven't really looked all that hard).. The
topics covered are those that would be of interest to anyone
from a foreign culture, particularly since the authors cover
only what is here - and there is no mention of what is over
I am a
natural born and raised American and my wife is a recent
Ukrainian immigrant with a teenage daughter. I wish I had
known about this book more than a couple of years ago when
they came here from overseas. I am not considered fluent in
Russian (or Ukrainian), so explaining how things work (such
as credit cards) has sometimes been a long and complex
process. Even when my wife had acknowledged that she
understood me, seeing the results of her use of the
knowledge at something explained was usually very
interesting. Sometimes the results are very good - other
times, I had to re-evaluate my explanation and try to
my wife brought me a reference for this book by Mr. Vitaly
Demin and Olga Demin Lambert. Our life has definitely
changed since the day it arrived, for they have not put
together this book on the fly while adjusting to America, it
habits, characteristics, and institutions. They have
obviously researched each topic they have covered to a fine
detail - and it shows in the content and layout of the book.
particularly like the way it is laid out with English on the
left side and Russian on the right. If my wife wants to
point out something to me, she can easily show me where it
is or tell me what page, and I can take a look at the text
myself. Things she likes to show me have to do with previous
explanations, sometimes along with "Why didn't you tell me
go into detail regarding the content of the book since it is
already mentioned in some of the other reviews on this site.
I'll just add my two cents and say that they are
comprehensive and correct. This book should be in every
immigrant's (and their spouse's) household.
Kerry Kanemitsu, Indiana.