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Books About Immigrants and Refugees

Picture Books

 
Watch the Stars Come Out by Riki Levinson; illustrated by Diane Goode
(Children + PZ7 .L5796 Wat 1985)
Grandma tells about her mama's journey to America by boat, years ago.
 
(Children + PZ7 .S2744 Gr 1993)
A Japanese American man recounts his grandfather's journey to America which he later also undertakes, and the feelings of being torn by a love for two different countries.
 
Tea with Milk by Allen Say
(Children + PZ7 .S2744 Te 1999)
After growing up near San Francisco, a young Japanese woman returns with her parents to their native Japan, but she feels foreign and out of place.
 
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
(Children Lg PZ7 .T16123 Ar 2006)
In this wordless graphic novel, a man leaves his homeland and sets off for a new country, where he must build a new life for himself and his family.
 
Somos Como Las Nubes = We Are Like the Clouds by Jorge Argueta; pictures by Alfonso Ruano; translated by Elisa Amado
(Children Picture Book ARGUE)
Why are young people leaving their country to walk to the United States to seek a new, safe home? Over 100,000 such children have left Central America. This book of poetry helps us to understand why and what it is like to be them. ¿Por qué los jóvenes que salen de su país para caminar a los Estados Unidos para buscar un hogar nuevo y seguro? Más de 100.000 niños han salido de Centroamérica. Este libro de poesía nos ayuda a entender por qué y cómo es ser ellos.
 
Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago; pictures by Rafael Yockteng; translated by Elisa Amado
(Children Picture Book BUITR)
"In this moving and timely story, a young child describes what it is like to be a migrant as she and her father travel north toward the US border. They travel mostly on the roof of a train known as The Beast, but the little girl doesn’t know where they are going. She counts the animals by the road, the clouds in the sky, the stars. Sometimes she sees soldiers. She sleeps, dreaming that she is always on the move, although sometimes they are forced to stop and her father has to earn more money before they can continue their journey. As many thousands of people, especially children, in Mexico and Central America continue to make the arduous journey to the US border in search of a better life, this is an important book that shows a young migrant’s perspective."—Provided by publisher.
 
The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman; illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
(Children Picture Book + FLEIS)
Follow a girl's perusal of her great-grandfather's collection of matchboxes and small curios that document his poignant immigration journey from Italy to a new country.
 
Tomás and the Library Lady by Pat Mora; illustrated by Raúl Colón
(Children Picture Book + MORA)
While helping his family in their work as migrant laborers far from their home, Tomás finds an entire world to explore in the books at the local public library.
 
Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey by Margriet Ruurs; artwork by Nizar Ali Badr; translation into Arabic by Falah Raheem
(Children Picture Book RUURS)
"This unique picture book was inspired by the stone artwork of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr, discovered by chance by Canadian children’s writer Margriet Ruurs. The author was immediately impressed by the strong narrative quality of Mr. Badr’s work, and, using many of Mr. Badr’s already-created pieces, she set out to create a story about the Syrian refugee crisis. Stepping Stones tells the story of Rama and her family, who are forced to flee their once-peaceful village to escape the ravages of the civil war raging ever closer to their home. With only what they can carry on their backs, Rama and her mother, father, grandfather and brother, Sami, set out to walk to freedom in Europe. Nizar Ali Badr’s stunning stone images illustrate the story."—Provided by publisher.
 
The Journey by Francesca Sanna
(Children Picture Book SANNA)
What is it like to have to leave everything behind and travel many miles to somewhere unfamiliar and strange? A mother and her two children set out on such a journey; one filled with fear of the unknown, but also great hope. Based on the author's interactions with people forced to seek a new home, and told from the perspective of a young child.
 
The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart; illustrated by David Small
(Children Picture Book + STEWA)
A little girl moves to the United States from Mexico with her family and writes letters to her aunt in Mexico about her new life.
 
A Piece of Home by Jerri Watts; illustrated by Hyewon Yum
(Children Picture Book + WATTS)
When Hee Jun's family moves from Korea to West Virginia he struggles to adjust to his new home. He can't understand anything the teacher says, and even the sky seems smaller and darker. Hee Jun begins to learn English words and make friends on the playground. One day at a classmate's house he sees a flower he knows from his garden in Korea: mugunghwa, or rose of Sharon. Hee Jun is happy to bring a shoot to his grandmother to plant a "piece of home" in their new garden.
 
Yoko Learns to Read by Rosemary Wells
(Children Picture Book WELLS)
Despite the doubts of some classmates and her native-born Japanese mother's inability to read English, Yoko finds the key to reading and catches up with the other students in putting new leaves on the classroom's book tree.
 

Chapter Books

 
(Children PS3560 .I55 C57 1997)
An autobiographical novel based in part on the author's journey from Mexico to the US.
 
I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosín; translated from the Spanish by E.M. O'Connor; illustrated by Lee White
(Children PZ7 .A2686 Iah 2014)
When her beloved country, Chile, is taken over by a militaristic, sadistic government, Celeste is sent to America for her safety and her parents must go into hiding before they "disappear."
 
(Children PZ7 .C44626 Ec 1993)
Fifteen-year-old Sookan, the heroine of Year of Impossible Goodbyes, adjusts to life in the refugee village in Pusan, a city in a southern province of Korea. The Korean War is raging, and Sookan has again been separated from her father and older brothers. She continues to hope that the civil war will end and her family will be reunited in Seoul. Her immediate concerns, though, are those of any teenage girl: friendships, studies, and most of all, a first romance.
 
Wild Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff
(Children PZ7 .G3626 Wh 2009)
When twelve-year-old Lidie leaves Brazil to join her father and brother on a horse ranch in New York, she has a hard time adjusting to her changed circumstances, as does a new horse that has come to the ranch.
 
The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett
(Children PZ7 .H266 Ch 2014)

"Cecily and Jeremy have been sent to live with their uncle Peregrine in the English countryside, safe from the war, along with a young refugee named May. But when Cecily and May find two mysterious boys hiding in the ruins of a nearby castle, an extraordinary adventure begins."—Provided by publisher.

The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett
(Children PZ7 .H266 Mid 2011)
Twelve-year-old Andrej, nine-year-old Tomas, and their baby sister Wilma flee their Romany encampment when it is attacked by Germans during World War II, and in an abandoned town they find a zoo where the animals tell their stories, helping the children understand what has become of their lives and what it means to be free.
 
A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
(Children PZ7 .L87734 Ha 2015)
When her blind dog slips his collar, twelve-year old Lily meets Salma Santiago, a young Hispanic girl whose migrant family is in Maine for the blueberry-picking season, and, based partly on their mutual love of dogs, the two forge a friendship while painting bee boxes for Lily's grandfather—but as the Blueberry Queen pageant approaches Lily and Selma are confronted with some of the hard truths of prejudice and migrant life.
 
Shadow by Michael Morpugo
(Children PZ7 .M82712 Sh 2012)
Teenager Aman and his mother lose their loyal spaniel Shadow while escaping Afghanistan to flee to England. Now they must depend on a friend and his grandfather to enable Shadow's return.
 
West of the Moon by Margi Preus
(Children PZ7 .P9271 We 2014)

In nineteenth-century Norway, fourteen-year-old Astri, whose aunt has sold her to a mean goatherder, dreams of joining her father in America.

My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoeve ; translated by Tammi Reichel
(Children PZ7 .V944 My 2012)
Before the start of World War II, ten-year-old Ziska Mangold, who has Jewish ancestors but has been raised as a Protestant, is taken out of Nazi Germany on one of the Kindertransport trains, to live in London with a Jewish family, where she learns about Judaism and endures the hardships of war while attempting to keep in touch with her parents, who are trying to survive in Holland.
 

Young Adult

 
(Young Adult PZ7 .N14 St 2001)
A young Korean girl and her family find it difficult to learn English and adjust to life in America.
 
The Other Side of Truth by Beverly Naidoo
(Young Adult PZ7 .N1455 Ot 2001)
Smuggled out of Nigeria after their mother's murder, Sade and her younger brother are abandoned in London when their uncle fails to meet them at the airport and they are fearful of their new surroundings and of what may have happened to their journalist father back in Nigeria.
 
Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye
(Young Adult PZ7 .N976 Hab 1997)
When fourteen-year-old Liyanne Abboud, her younger brother, and her parents move from St. Louis to a new home between Jerusalem and the Palestinian village where her father was born, they face many changes and must deal with the tensions between Jews and Palestinians.
 
Salt to the Sea: A Novel by Ruta Sepetys
(Young Adult PZ7 .S47957 Sa 2016)
"World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom. When their paths converge in route to the ship that promises salvation, Joana, Emilia, and Florian find their strength, courage, and trust in one another tested with each step closer toward safety. When tragedy strikes the Wilhelm Gustloff, they must fight for the same thing: survival."—Provided by publisher.
 
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
(Young Adult PZ7 .Y79 Su 2016)
"Two teens—Daniel, the son of Korean shopkeepers, and Natasha, whose family is here illegally from Jamaica—cross paths in New York City on an eventful day in their lives—Daniel is on his way to an interview with a Yale alum, Natasha is meeting with a lawyer to try and prevent her family's deportation to Jamaica—and fall in love."—Provided by publisher.
 

Informational Texts

 
(Children D769.8 .A6 M329 2016)
"Just seventy-five years ago, the American government did something that most would consider unthinkable today: it rounded up over 100,000 of its own citizens based on nothing more than their ancestry and, suspicious of their loyalty, kept them in concentration camps for the better part of four years. How could this have happened? Uprooted takes a close look at the history of racism in America and follows the treacherous path that led one of our nation's most beloved presidents to make this decision. Meanwhile, it illuminates the history of Japan and its own struggles with racism and xenophobia, which led to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, ultimately tying the two countries together."—Provided by publisher.
 
(Children + CT275 .R46 B67 2005)
"In 1940, Hans and Margret Rey fled their Paris home as the German army advanced. They began their harrowing journey on bicycles, pedaling to Southern France with children’s book manuscripts among their few possessions."—Provided by publisher.
 
(Children + E184 .A1 O83 2016)

"This book explores the way government policy and popular responses to immigrant groups evolved throughout U.S. history and the fundamental ways in which immigration forms an essential part of the American identity. The book also recounts the experiences of three centuries of immigrants in their own words."—Provided by publisher.