In the midst of immigrant and refugee crises here in the U.S. and around the world, we are pleased to feature a selection of important new titles featuring stories of contemporary migration. These picture books, all published since 2013, put personal faces on people who, by choice or by force, move from their homes to try to make their way in a new place.
We live in challenging times, yet the richness of new children’s literature about the immigrant experience is one of the gems we can mine to help us navigate. Sharing these books with children can help build understanding about and empathy for the obstacles and struggles faced by immigrants, and empower children to welcome new neighbors.
One way of grouping these titles is to consider the aspect of the migration experience they illuminate:
Stories of troubles — from poverty to war; leaving home; and the enormously difficult yet hopeful trip toward a better place.
"Tuan and his family survive bullets, a broken motor, and a leaking boat in the long days they spend at sea after fleeing Vietnam. A true story as told to the author by Tuan Ho. Includes family photographs and a historical note about the Vietnamese refugee crisis"--|cProvided by publisher
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 her interactions with people forced to seek a new home, and told from the perspective of a young child, Francesca Sanna has created a beautiful and sensitive book that is full of significance for our time;-- Provided by publisher
When Papa Rabbit does not return home as expected from many seasons of working in the great carrot and lettuce fields of El Norte, his son Pancho sets out on a dangerous trek to find him, guided by a coyote. Includes glossary and author's note about illegal immigration and undocumented workers
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.
"In this picture book, a young girl and her family are forced to flee their village to escape the civil war that has engulfed Syria and make their way toward freedom in Europe"--|cProvided by publisher
A young child describes what it is like to be a migrant as she and her father travel north toward the U.S. 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
Stories of struggle with new languages, new cultures, new ways of living — and sometimes help from new friends.
"When Saoussan immigrated with her family from war-torn Lebanon, she was only seven years old. This picture book tells the story of how she had to adjust to her new home in Canada. She describes the frustration of not understanding the teacher when she started school, not knowing how to ask to go to the bathroom, and being terrified of a prop skeleton. This is the perfect book to help kids empathize with immigrant children whose experiences are very similar to Saoussan's"--|cProvided by publisher
"Tells the story in pictures of a family newly immigrated to the United States and the challenges of starting a life in a new place"--Provided by publisher
Three children from Somalia, Guatemala, and Korea struggle to adjust to their new home and school in the United States
"A refugee boy's determination to ride a bicycle leads to an unexpected friendship"--Publisher
A young immigrant boy from Hong Kong feels lost at his new school in America. He needs the help of his teacher, classmates, and family to realize that he is not alone and that he should be proud of his unique heritage
"Mia's abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. The night she arrives, Mia tries to share her favorite book with Abuela before they go to sleep and discovers that Abuela can't read the words inside. So while they cook, Mia helps Abuela learn English ("Dough. Masa"), and Mia learns some Spanish too, but it's still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories. Then Mia sees a parrot in the pet-shop window and has the perfecto idea for how to help them all communicate a little better. An endearing tale from an award-winning duo that speaks loud and clear about learning new things and the love that bonds family members"--From Amazon.com
Cartwheel has arrived in a new country, and feels the loss of all she's ever known. She creates a safe place for herself under an "old blanket" made out of memories and thoughts of home. But when she meets a new friend, the relationship helps her take her first steps into a new culture, and Cartwheel begins to weave a "new blanket," one of friendship and a renewed sense of belonging
Stories of 1st- to 3rd-generation families, weaving new threads in the fabric of America.
"As a young boy, Bao Phi awoke early, hours before his father's long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. Between hope-filled casts, Bao's father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam"--|cProvided by publisher
No books with isbn: 9780307931818
When Saya's mother is sent to jail as an illegal immigrant, she sends her daughter a cassette tape with a song and a bedtime story, which inspires Saya to write a story of her own--one that just might bring her mother home
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. A child-friendly story about the trials and triumphs of starting over in a new place while keeping family and traditions close
Browse other picture books with immigrant characters in our collection.
For more children’s literature portraying the immigrant experience, from picture books through young adult novels, see the online searchable database, I’m Your Neighbor Books.