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Welcome Immigrants! — and New Immigrant Books

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:

The Journey

Stories of troubles — from poverty to war; leaving home; and the enormously difficult yet hopeful trip toward a better place.

The journey

2016

by Francesca 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 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

Beautiful Life

Two white rabbits

2015

by Jairo Buitrago, Elisa Amado and Rafael Yockteng

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

Beautiful Life

Arrival

Stories of struggle with new languages, new cultures, new ways of living — and sometimes help from new friends.

From far away

2017

by Robert N. Munsch, Saoussan Askar and Rebecca Green

"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

Beautiful Life

Mango, Abuela, and me

2015

by Meg Medina and Angela Dominguez

"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

Beautiful Life

New Americans

Stories of 1st- to 3rd-generation families, weaving new threads in the fabric of America.

A piece of home

2016

by Jeri Hanel Watts and Hyewon Yum

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

Beautiful Life

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.

 

Many of the cover images on this site are from Google Books.