Books on Immigration
FLEMING, Candace. Lowji Discovers America. S&S/Atheneum/Anne Schwartz Books. 2005. ISBN 978-0-689-86299-1. Gr. 3-5. Nine-year-old Lowji has just moved from Bombay to an apartment in Illinois with his parents. It's summer and making friends is a challenge. As he settles into his new home, his confusion about American culture leads to a string of comedic pet adoptions. Told from Lowji's perspective, this is an engaging classroom read-aloud.
GLASER, Linda. Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty. illustrated by Claire A. Nivola. Houghton Harcourt. 2010. ISBN 978-0-547-17184-5. Gr. 2-4. Told in spare, free verse paired with tender watercolor and gouache paintings, this biography of Emma Lazarus and the story of how she came to write "The New Colossus" illuminates the importance of immigrant advocacy and serves to remind readers that the United States has always struggled with integrating immigrants.
RECORVITS, Helen. My Name Is Yoon. Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska. Farrar/Frances Foster Books. 2003. ISBN 978-0-374-35114-4. Gr. K-Gr. 2. A Korean girl comes to America and struggles with learning a new language as she tries out different names for herself in English. Imaginatively conceived, strikingly handsome paintings convey the confusion and sorrow Yoon experiences, capturing her frustration and ultimate triumph as she forges a personal path in her new home.
APPLEGATE, Katherine. Home of the Brave. Feiwel & Friends. 2007. ISBN 978-0-312-36765-7. Gr. 4-6. In this poignant verse novel, a Sudanese refugee violently torn from a culture in which "cattle mean life" moves in with his aunt's family in Minnesota in the middle of winter and is quickly overwhelmed by the vast changes in his environment. Caring for an old cow helps Kek bridge the gap.
GIFF, Patricia Reilly. Wild Girl. Random/Wendy Lamb Books. 2009. ISBN 978-0-375-83890-3; ISBN 978-0-375-93890-0. Gr. 4-6. Five years after her mother's death, 12-year-old Lidie immigrates to New York from Brazil to join her brother and father, who have been training racehorses and who treat her like the little girl they remember. Strong-willed and confused, Lidie finds comfort in the relationship she builds with a horse called Wild Girl.
For Grades 5 and up
BAUSUM, Ann. Denied, Detained, Deported: The Dark Side of American Immigration. National Geographic. 2009. ISBN 978-1-4263-0332-6. ISBN 978-1-4263-0333-3. Gr. 5-9. Three true stories illustrate the struggles America has faced with immigration policy over the years and how ideas of "right" and "wrong" with respect to it change over time. A concluding chapter deals with current immigration issues across our southern border. Historical photographs are included.
BUDHOS, Marina. Tell Us We're Home. S & S/Atheneum. 2010. ISBN 978-1-4169-0352-9. Gr. 6-9. Three eighth-graders, all immigrants from different backgrounds, strain to fit in at their affluent New Jersey middle school. Their mothers work as nannies and housekeepers in the homes of their peers, and when Jaya's mother is accused of stealing from her employer, the girls must face anti-immigrant sentiment within their community.
HOBBS, Will. Crossing the Wire. HarperCollins. 2006. ISBN 978-0-06-074138-9; ISBN 978-0-06-074139-6. Gr. 5 and up. With his family struggling to get by in Mexico, 15-year-old Victor decides that the only way he can help them is to make the dangerous trip across the American border. This is an adventure story that will also help readers understand the plight of undocumented immigrants.
TAN, Shaun. The Arrival. Scholastic/Arthur L. Levine Books. 2007. ISBN 978-0-439-89529-3. Gr. 7 and up. In this wordless graphic novel, Tan captures the feelings of a man recently arrived in a new country who must make sense of his strange surroundings. Fantastical and surreal illustrations demonstrate how confusing and bizarre a new place can look to an outsider.
ANDERSON, Stuart. Immigration. (Greenwood Guide to Business and Economics Series). Greenwood. 2010. ISBN 978-0-313-38028-0. Gr. 9 and up. This text-dense title is ideal for students wanting more information about how immigration policy decisions can have a larger impact on the economy and the country as a whole. It's a complete and unbiased discussion of current immigration from an economic and public-policy perspective.
BANKSTON, Carl L., ed. Encyclopedia of American Immigration. 3 Vols. Salem Press. 2010. ISBN 978-1-58765-599-9. Gr. 9 and up. Comprehensive and accessible, this alphabetically arranged, three-volume encyclopedia covers a broad range of topics, from "Au pairs" to "Green cards" to "Xenophobia" and more. Essays on immigration from various regions, historical events, various types of discrimination, and biographies of prominent immigrants are included. Photographs are incorporated with entries where appropriate.
KAMARA, Mariatu with Susan McCleland. The Bite of the Mango. Annick. 2008. ISBN 978-1-55451-159-4. ISBN 978-1-55451-158-7. Gr. 9 and up. In this memoir, Kamara, a victim of atrocities experienced in war-torn Sierra Leone, shares her story. When she was 12, rebel soldiers chopped off her hands with a machete and left her for dead. Against all odds, she survived and immigrated to Canada. A realistic and harrowing account of the refugee experience.
MILLER, Karen, ed. Immigration. (Social Issues Firsthand Series). Greenhaven. 2006. ISBN 978-0-7377-2893-4. Gr. 8 and up. People from all walks of life and many different countries share their stories. Sections on coming to America, adapting to this country, feeling caught between cultures, and the benefits of immigrating are included.