Immigrant Stories

These books capture the experiences of young immigrants from all walks of life and explore their strengths and assets, as well as their challenges here in the U.S.

For children's and young adult titles about immigration, take a look at these recommended booklists as well!

Americans By Heart: Undocumented Latino Students and the Promise of Higher Education

Product Description: Americans by Heart examines the plight of undocumented Latino students as they navigate the educational and legal tightrope presented by their immigration status. Many of these students are accepted to attend some of our best colleges and universities but cannot afford the tuition to do so because they are not eligible for financial aid or employment. For the few that defy the odds and manage to graduate, their status continues to present insurmountable barriers to employment.

First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants

Age Level: 12-14

Product Description: Fleeing from political violence in Venezuela, Amina and her family have settled in the United States. Sarah, adopted, is desperate to know her Korean birth parents. Adrian's friends have some spooky — and hilarious — misconceptions about his Romanian origins. Whether their transition is from Mexico to the United States or from Palestine to New Mexico, the characters in this anthology have all ventured far and have faced countless challenges.

From Every End of This Earth: 13 Families and the New Lives They Made in America

Product Description: New York Times bestselling author Steven V. Roberts follows the stories of thirteen immigrant families in From Every End of This Earth, a poignant and eye-opening look at immigration in America today. He captures the voices of those living the promise of a new land — and the difficulties of starting over among strangers whose suspicions increasingly outweigh their open-armed acceptance. As the political debate rages on, Roberts sheds light on the enormous contributions immigrants continue to make to the fabric and future of America.

Habibi

Illustrated by: Raúl Colón
Age Level: 12-14

The day after Liyana got her first real kiss, her life changed forever. Not because of the kiss, but because it was the day her father announced that the family was moving from St. Louis all the way to Palestine. Though her father grew up there, Liyana knows very little about her family's Arab heritage. Her grandmother and the rest of her relatives who live in the West Bank are strangers, and speak a language she can't understand. It isn't until she meets Omer that her homesickness fades. But Omer is Jewish, and their friendship is silently forbidden in this land.

Learning a New Land: Immigrant Students in American Society

Product Description: One child in five in America is the child of immigrants, and their numbers increase each year. Very few will return to the country they barely remember. Who are they, and what America do they know? Based on an extraordinary interdisciplinary study that followed 400 newly arrived children from the Caribbean, China, Central America, and Mexico for five years, this book provides a compelling account of the lives, dreams, and frustrations of these youngest immigrants.

Made in America: Immigrant Students in Our Public Schools

Product Description: As the United States reexamines its borders and immigration policies, the debate over educating immigrant students in our public schools has divided Americans. What can teachers and immigrant students expect from each other? Laurie Olsen, co-director of Californians Together, describes what it looks and feels like to go to school and to teach in a culturally diverse environment. With a new introduction by Olsen, this timely reissue probes the challenges facing teachers and immigrant students in our public schools.

The Inner World of the Immigrant Child

Product Description: This powerful book tells the story of one teacher's odyssey to understand the inner world of immigrant children, and to create a learning environment that is responsive to these students' feelings and their needs. Featuring the voices and artwork of many immigrant children, this text portrays the immigrant experience of uprooting, culture shock, and adjustment to a new world, and then describes cultural, academic, and psychological interventions that facilitate learning as immigrant students make the transition to a new language and culture.

The Turtle of Oman

Illustrated by: Betsy Peterschmidt
Age Level: 9-12

This accessible, exquisite novel shines with gentle humor and explores themes of moving, family, nature, and immigration. It tells the story of Aref Al-Amri, who must say good-bye to everything and everyone he loves in his hometown of Muscat, Oman, as his family prepares to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Aref does not want to leave Oman, his elementary school, his friends, or his beloved grandfather, Siddi. Finally, his mother calls Siddi for help so that Aref will pack. But rather than pack, Aref and Siddi go on a series of adventures.

Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, Revised Edition

Product Description: Third Culture Kids are children of expatriates, missionaries, military personnel and others who live and work abroad. With a significant part of their developmental years spent outside of their passport country, TCKs create their own, unique "third" cultures. Through interviews and personal writings, this new, expanded edition explores the challenges and benefits that TCKs encounter, and also widens the net to discuss the experiences of cross-cultural kids who are immigrants, international adoptees or the children of biracial or bicultural parents.

True American: Language, Identity, and the Education of Immigrant Children

Product Description: In this ambitious book, Rosemary Salomone uses the heated debate over how best to educate immigrant children as a way to explore what national identity means in an age of globalization, trans-nationalism, and dual citizenship. She reveals the little-known legislative history of bilingual education, its dizzying range of meanings in different schools, districts, and states, and the difficulty in proving or disproving whether it works — or defining it as a legal right.

Understanding Your International Students: An Educational, Cultural, and Linguistic Guide

Product Description: Understanding Your International Students surveys the school cultures of the many countries whose students top the international student enrollment lists in the U.S. educational institutions. For each country profiled, the following information is provided: a statistical profile; information related to school calendars, curricula, exams, grades, homework, and classroom set-up; and a section on educational policy, classroom behaviors and norms, and cultural considerations in school settings.

Understanding Your Refugee and Immigrant Students: An Educational, Cultural, and Linguistic Guide

Product Description: The author has focused her research on 18 countries that contribute a majority of refugees and immigrants to the United States. Each country profile features statistics about the country, a historical synopsis, an overview of the county's official education policy, cultural perspectives, and a problem-solution section containing classroom strategies. The linguistic systems of the languages featured are also included for teacher reference.

Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League

Age Level: 14-16

Dan-el Padilla Peralta has lived the American dream. As a boy, he came here legally with his family. Together they left Santo Domingo behind, but when their visas lapsed, Dan-el's courageous mother was determined to make a better life for her bright sons. While Dan-el was only in grade school, the family joined the ranks of the city's homeless. Dan-el, his mother, and brother lived in a downtown shelter where Dan-el's only refuge was the meager library.

Unrooted Childhoods: Memoirs of Growing Up Global

Product Description: A fusion of voices and deeply personal experiences from every corner of the globe, Unrooted Childhoods: Memoirs of Growing Up Global presents a cultural mosaic of today's citizens of the world. Twenty stirring memoirs of childhoods spent packing, written by both world-famous and first-time authors, make the story of growing up displaced feel universal. Contributors include best-selling fiction and non-fiction authors Isabel Allende, Carlos Fuentes, Pat Conroy, Pico Iyer and Ariel Dorfman.

We Are Americans: Undocumented Students Pursuing the American Dream

"Perez, a developmental psychologist and professor in Southern California, plumbs the stories of students living with the constant threat of deportation for an answer to the question, 'What does it mean to be an American?' Raised in this country by parents who gained access illegally, the 16 high school, college and post-graduate students profiled here (standing in for 65,000 nationwide) have each embraced our language, culture and collective dream, but are denied pathways to success.