Books are one of the best ways to hear different stories from different perspectives. For Welcoming Week 2020, we encourage you to start creating a Welcoming Library – a bookshelf that includes books from the perspectives of refugees and immigrants. Check out one (or many!) of the books recommended below. This list includes stories from refugees and immigrants that are appropriate for all ages:
BOOKS FOR CHILDREN & YOUNG ADULTS
A Different Pond by Bao Phi
For Grades K-4 or ages 4-10. A Different Pond is an unforgettable story about a simple event - a long-ago fishing trip. Graphic novelist Thi Bui and acclaimed poet Bao Phi deliver a powerful, honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son - and between cultures, old and new.
La Frontera: El viaje con Papá – My journey with Papa by Deborah Mills, Alfredo Alva, and Claudia Navarro
For Grades K–4 or ages 4–10. Based on a true story, a young boy and his father take an arduous journey from Mexico to the United States in the 1980s to find a new life. They’ll need all the courage they can muster to safely cross the border — la frontera — and to make a home for themselves in a new land.
Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Farugi
For Grades K–3 or ages 4–9. Lailah is in a new school in a new country, thousands of miles from her old home, and missing her old friends. When Ramadan begins, she is excited that she is finally old enough to participate in the fasting but worried that her classmates won’t understand why she doesn’t join them in the lunchroom.
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
For Grades 3–7 or ages 8–12. This New York Times bestseller and Newbery Honor Book is a gorgeously written, hopeful, middle grade novel in verse about a young girl who must leave Syria to move to the United States. This lyrical, life-affirming story is about losing and finding home and, most importantly, finding yourself.
The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz
For Grades 3–7 or ages 8–12. Inspired by true events, The Only Road is an individual story of a boy who feels that leaving his home and risking everything is his only chance for a better life.
The Good Braider by Terry Farish
For Ages 12-18. A young adult novel in verse about a young girl's fight to survive the violence of war in Juba, Sudan and then conflict within her own family when they resettle in Portland, Maine and she is both Sudanese and American.
Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai
For ages 12-18. A young adult book about the Vietnamese refugee experience, this novel blends comedy and tragedy in a moving story about refugees, siblings, and youthful dreams.
BOOKS FOR ADULTS
The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer Viet Thanh Nguyen called on 17 fellow refugee writers from across the globe to shed light on their experiences, and the result is The Displaced, a powerful dispatch from the individual lives behind current headlines, with proceeds to support the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Where We Come From by Oscar Cásares
A novel that tackles U.S. immigration policy from a deeply human angle, Where We Come From explores through an intimate lens the ways that family history shapes us, how secrets can burden us, and how finding compassion and understanding for others can ultimately set us free.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
This unforgettable novel puts human faces on the Syrian war with the immigrant story of a beekeeper, his wife, and the triumph of spirit when the world becomes unrecognizable.
Call Me American: A Memoir by Abdi Nor Iftin
This is the incredible story of Abdi Nor Iftin’s unique journey to America. Now a proud resident of Maine, on the path to citizenship, Abdi’s deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why America still beckons to those looking to make a better life.
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream—the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy.
The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America edited by Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman
These writers share powerful personal stories of living between cultures and languages while struggling to figure out who they are and where they belong.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
A saga about four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family fight to control their destiny in 20th-century Japan, exiled from their home.
My (Underground) American Dream by Julissa Arce
A memoir of Julissa’s journey as an undocumented immigrant who become a Wall Street executive. Julissa takes readers deep into the little-understood world of a generation of undocumented immigrants in the United States today—people who live next door, sit in your classrooms, work in the same office, and may very well be your boss.