Children's Books about the Refugee/Immigrant Experience

  1. A Gift from Papa Diego: Un Regalo de Papa Diego. Sáenz, Benjamin Alire 40 page s . April 1998. English . http://www.cincopuntos.com/products_detail.sstg?id=18

    This children's book is about one little boy's dream to see his grandfather more often. Papá Diego lives in Mexico and Little Diego lives in Texas across the border.

    Recommended for ages 4-7.

  2. A Piece of Home. Levitin, Sonia , Wijngaard, Juan 32 page s . 1996. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Describes the excitement and fear experienced by Gregor, a young Russian boy, as he immigrates to America. Gregor chooses to bring his treasured and tattered baby blanket to remember Russia by. He is nervous about what his cousin in America, Elie, will about him and his treasured blanket. They boys soon discover that they both kept a piece of home. (IP)

    Recommended for ages 4-7.

  3. A Song for Cambodia. Lord, Michelle 16 page s . 2008. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This is the true story of a nine-year-old boy who finds comfort in music after being taken to a children's work camp when his village was invaded by the Khmer Rouge. 

    Recommended for ages 8 and up.

  4. Behind the Mountain. Danticat, Edwidge 166 page s . 2002. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Narrates the personal and political events that force a young Haitian girl and her family to immigrate to New York City. It is based of the author's own migration in the 1970s and weaves in Haitian history, Christmas traditions, folk stories, and the oppressive practice of subjecting young girls to indentured service. 

    Recommended for ages 12 and up.

  5. Binta’s Dilemma. Sauti Yetu 8 page s . 2016. English . https://www.sautiyetu.us/viewer/scripts/force-file-download.asd?file=/public/uploads/6/1406676595/02-binta-eng.pdf&filename=02-binta-eng.pdf

    Binta's Dilemma is an illustrated story that teaches readers about the best ways to react to to instances of discrimination and violence.

    Recommended for ages 10 and up.

  6. Boy Overboard. Gleitzman, Morris 181 page s . 2003. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This book tells the story of Jamal and his family on their journey to Australia. Jamal and Bibi want to be part of the next World Cup but first they must face landmines, pirates, storms, and assassins to get to their new lives. 

    Recommended for ages 13 and up.

  7. Carly. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) . 1999. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Carly is a little girl who is forced to flee her home. "She experiences insecurity and rejection before finding warmth, protection and affection in a new home." - Publisher's description.

    Recommended for ages 5-8.

  8. Carmen Learns English. Cox, Judy 32 page s . June 1, 2011. English . http://www.fbmarketplace.org/carmen-learns-english#product_tabs_additional_tabbed

    This children's picture book tells the story of Carmen's first day of school in the U.S. and how she copes with only speaking Spanish.

    Recommended for ages 4-7.

     

  9. Coming to America: A Muslim Family's Story. Wolf, Bernard 48 page s . 2003. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Uses easy-to-read text and vivid photos to describe the daily activities of an actual Muslim family working hard to establish their new life in America after immigrating from Egypt.

    Recommended for ages 7-10.

  10. Dawn and Dusk: A Kurdish Family Torn by War. Mead, Alice 151 page s . 2007. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Depicts the personal and political crises facing a fictional Kurdish family living in western Iran during the early 1980s, the growing conflict in the country and their own family, and their eventual flight to Turkey and the United States.

    Recommended for ages 10-14.

  11. Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin. Tonatiuh, Duncan 32 page s . March 1, 2010. English . http://www.fbmarketplace.org/dear-primo-a-letter-to-my-cousin

    The story of two cousins, one in America and one in Mexico, and how their daily lives are different yet similar. Tips for understanding and exploring Latino culture are included. 

    Recommended for ages 5-8.

  12. Documentary Project for Refugee Youth. Global Action Project . English . http://www.thedocumentaryproject.org/

    The Documentary Project for Refugee Youth consisted of a core group of a dozen 14- to 17-year-old refugees primarily from Western African (Burundi and Sierra Leone) and the Balkans (Bosnia and Serbia) who collaborated with artists and organizations to educate the general public about the refugee condition. 

    Recommended for ages 14 and up.

  13. Drita, My Homegirl. Lombard, Jenny 135 page s . 2006. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    The story of a young girl and her family who come to New York as refugees from war-torn Kosovo. This story shows two worlds coming together and explores the effects of war on a family and how friendship sometimes appears in the unlikeliest places. (Description from source)

    Recommended for ages 8 and up.

  14. Esperanza Rising. Munoz Ryan, Pam 272 page s . 2008. English Spanish . https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/books/esperanza-rising-by-pam-munoz-ryan/

    Esperanza thought she'd always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico she'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. 

    Recommended for ages 8-12.

  15. Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America. Dumas, Firoozeh 208 page s . 2006. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Relates the story of Firoozeh Dumas from the time she came to Southern California as an Iranian girl of seven years old through her college years and marriage to a Frenchman and the cultural difficulties she and her family encounter through the years.

    Recommended for ages 14 and up.

  16. Gervelie's Journey: A Refugee Diary. Robinson, Anthony , Young, Annemarie 28 page s . 2008. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    The true story of a young Congolese girl and her flight from her home in Africa to seek refuge in the United Kingdom. 

    Recommended for ages 8 and up.

  17. God Grew Tired of Us. National Geographic Films . 2006. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Documents the experiences and emotions of three young men from the group known as the "Lost Boys." The documentary reveals the pain of separation as the three young men prepare to leave their surrogate families in a Kenyan refugee camp and the difficulty of adapting to their new lives  in America. 

    Recommended for ages 14 and up.

  18. Going Home. Bunting, Eve 32 page s . 1996. English . http://www.abebooks.com/Going-Home-Trophy-Picture-Books-Eve/16532492222/bd

    Going Home asks the question, "Can home be a place you don't really remember?" Carlos soon finds out when his family goes home for Christmas, driving south across the border to Mexico. 

    Recommended for ages 4-8.

  19. Haawiyat. he Comics for Youth Refugees Incorporated Collective (CYRIC) , Lewis, A. David 12 page s . January 2017. Arabic English . https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_PYyLczRT8MeVJKaThWVkphaTA/view https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_PYyLczRT8MMW5OOF8yMFFhclE/view

    Well-known Syrian folk tales are illustrated in a variety of kid-friendly styles. The stories in the comic were created in conjunction with mental health professionals and are intended intended to deliver some measure of solace or narrative stability in their current situations. An English translation is also available. 

    Recommended for ages 6-12.

  20. Home at Last . Middleton Elya, Susan , Davalos, Felipe 32 page s . 2002. English Spanish . http://www.fbmarketplace.org/home-at-last-new#product_tabs_description_tabbed

    This children's book is about Ana's new life in the United States and her mother, who is having a difficult time because she doesn't speak English. A tip sheet is available as well as a Spanish version. 

    Recommended for ages 5-8.

  21. Home is a Place Called Nowhere. Rosselson, Leon 118 page s . 2002. English . https://www.amazon.com/Home-Place-Called-Nowhere-Rosselson/dp/0192725866

    This book for young readers tells the story of Amina, a girl searching for her mother and her home. With the help of a friend, Amina finds her mother and learns the truth about their home.  

    Recommended for ages 12 and up.

  22. How I Learned Geography. Shulevitz, Uri 30 page s . 2008. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    The story of a young boy after he and his family fled their war torn homeland. In their new home, they live in poverty. One day, in order to brighten up their home, the boy's father brings home a colorful map which enriches his life in a ways he never imagined. 

    Recommended for ages 4 and up.

  23. I Pledge Allegiance. Mora, Pat , Martinez, Libby 40 page s . April 22, 2014. English . http://www.fbmarketplace.org/i-pledge-allegiance-hardcover#product_tabs_additional_tabbed

    I Pledge Allegiance tells the story of a young girl, Libby, and her Great Aunt, Lobo, who are both trying to learn the Pledge of Allegiance. Libby is learning it for school while her Great Aunt Lobo is learning it for her citizenship ceremony.

    Recommended for ages 6-8.

  24. I'm New Here. Sibley O'Brien, Anne 32 page s . August 4, 2015. English . http://www.fbmarketplace.org/im-new-here#product_tabs_additional_tabbed

    Maria from Guatemala, Jin from Korea, and Fatima from Somalia, learn to feel confident and comfortable in their new school without losing a sense of their home country, language, and identity. 

    Recommended for ages 5-7.

  25. Kids Like Me: Voices of the Immigrant Experience. Lapinsky, Terri , Blohm, Judith M. 266 page s . 2006. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Kids Like Me includes the personal narratives of 26 young immigrants as they adapt to life in a new and sometimes strange country and culture. Kids Like Me also includes discussion questions, self-directed activities and research ideas for teachers and families. (KHH)

    Recommended for ages 14 and up.

  26. Let's Go See Papa!. Schimel, Lawrence 48 page s . 2011. English . http://www.abebooks.com/Go-See-Papa-Lawrence-Schimel-Groundwood/8082896687/bd

    This children's book is a story from a young child's perspective about what it's like to have an absent parent and to have to leave your home, country and those you love for a new life.

    Recommended for ages 8-13.

  27. Little Cricket. Brown, Jackie 224 page s . 2004. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Tells the story of Kia Vang, a twelve-year-old Hmong girl from Laos, whose nickname is "Little Cricket," and her family's flight through Thailand to the United States. She and her grandfather work hard to raise money to bring the rest of their family to join them.

    Recommended for ages 10 and up.

  28. Living in a Refugee Camp: Carbino's Story . Dalton, David 48 page s . 2006 . English . https://www.amazon.com/Living-Refugee-Camp-Carbinos-Children/dp/083685960X

    This book helps readers understand what it means to flee all that one knows and loves with the hope of surviving. It relates the story of Carbino, who fled Sudan's civil war. 

    Recommended for ages 10 and up.

  29. Mama the Alien/Mama La Extraterrestre . Colato Laínez, René 32 page s . July 5, 2016. English . http://www.fbmarketplace.org/mama-the-alien-mama-la-extraterrestre-bilingual-english-spanish#product_tabs_description_tabbed

    Mama the Alien/Mama La Extraterrestre is the story of a young girl who misunderstands the word alien on her mother's Resident Alien Card and lets her imagination run wild.

    Recommended for ages 5-8.

  30. Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation. Danticat, Edwidge 32 page s . September 2015. English . http://www.tfcbooks.org/book/9780525428091

    This book tells the story of a young girl separated from her mother who is in detention because she does not have U.S. citizenship papers. 

    Recommended for ages 7-10.

  31. Mud City. Ellis, Deborah 439 page s . 2009. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    The final book of the Breadwinner trilogy is the story of Parvana's best friend. Although, fourteen-year-old Shauzia escaped the misery of her life in Kabul and now lives in a refugee camp in Pakistan, she still dreams of seeing the ocean and eventually making a new life in France. 

    Recommended for ages 10 and up.

  32. My Name Is Bilal. Mobin-Uddin, Asma , Kiwak, Barbara (illustrator) 30 page s . 2005. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    A book about a Muslim boy and his sister, Ayesha who encounter teasing at their new school. Wanting to fit in, Bilal starts school as "Bill." Eventually, instead of hiding his Muslim identity, Bilal stands up for his sister and shares his real name.

    Recommended for ages 8-12.

  33. My Name is Yoon. Recorvits, Helen 32 page s . 2003. English . https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/books/my-name-is-yoon-by-helen-recorvits/

    Yoon is a young Korean girl trying to find her place in her new country by learning to write her name in English.

    Recommended for ages 5-8.

  34. One Day We Had to Run! Refugee Children Tell Their Stories in Words and Paintings, Revised edition. Wilkes, Sybella 64 page s . 2004. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Records the experiences of a group of young refugees in Kenya, including the tragedies they witnessed, the dramas they survived, and the future they envision in words and pictures.

    Recommended for ages 10 and up.

  35. Playing War. Beckwith, Kathy 32 page s . 2005. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This children's book is about a group of young boys who like to play war using sticks as guns and pinecones for grenades. When a new boy named Sameer hesitates to play with the other boys because for him, war is not a game.

    Recommended for ages 8 and up.

  36. Red Midnight. Mikaelsen, Ben 224 page s . 2007. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Recounts the fictional story of a young Guatemalan boy, Santiago, as he escapes from murderous government soldiers and sails to freedom in America in a small sailboat with his four year old sister.

    Recommended for ages 10 and up.

  37. Refugee Teenagers: Escape and Protection from Persecution and War. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 23 page s . July 1999. English . http://www.unhcr.org/4534f1e713.html

    "This brochure recounts the stories of several refugee teenagers and discusses some of the issues surrounding the protection of refugee adolescents, namely, the dilemmas of unaccompanied minors and the military recruitment of child soldiers." - Publisher's description

    Recommended for ages 14 and up.

  38. Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers. Budhos, Marina 145 page s . 1999. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    "Presents profiles of fourteen teenagers from countries around the world, revealing their struggles to fit into American society and their personal triumphs." - Publisher's description

    Recommended for ages 12 and up.

  39. Roses in My Carpets. Khan, Rukhsana 30 page s . 1988. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This children's book is about a young Afghan boy living in a refugee camp and his hopes, dreams, and hardships. A  Teacher's Guide for grades 3-6, 7-8, and 9-12 is also available with student activity sheets.

    Recommended for ages 8 and up.

  40. Rosita Gets Scared. Alvarez, Vicko 14 page s . 2017. English Spanish . http://scholarcomics.com/work/#/rosita-gets-scared/

    This comic and activity book for children aims to help immigrant children talk about fear. It is designed as a teaching tool for children who are undocumented or have undocumented family members and gives advice on how to cope with fear of deportation. It is also available in Spanish. 

    Recommended for ages 7-10.

  41. Running For My Life: One Lost Boy's Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games. Lomong, Lopez , Tabb, Mark 229 page s . 2012. English . http://www.thomasnelson.com/running-for-my-life

    Lopez Lomong chronicles his inspiring ascent from a barefoot lost boy of the Sudanese Civil War to a Nike sponsored athlete on the US Olympic Team. (Description from source)

    Recommended for ages 14 and up.

  42. Swimming to America. Mead, Alice 160 page s . 2005. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Linda Berati, an eighth grader whose parents are from Albania struggles to decipher her own identity. She befriends another immigrant, but when danger looms, Linda finds new trust and respect with her parents.

    Recommended for ages 10 and up.

  43. Tangled Thread: A Hmong Girl's Story. Dietz Shea, Pegi 236 page s . September 22, 2003. English . https://www.amazon.com/Tangled-Threads-Hmong-Girls-Story/dp/0618247483

    This youth novel is about Mai's resettlement to the U.S. from a refugee camp in Thailand. The book follows Mai has she tries to make sense of her new life in the U.S. while still keeping parts of her native culture.

    Recommended for ages 11 and up.

  44. The Good Braider. Farish, Terry 221 page s . 2012. English . http://www.terryfarish.com/the-good-braider

    Viola, a young teen who has escaped from Sudan, is haunted by the life she left behind – the people she has loved, the violence she has endured, and the natural beauty she remembers – as much as she is fearful and uncertain in her new life as an American living in Portland, Maine. A variety of discussion guides are also available.

    Recommended for ages 14 and up.

  45. The Journey of Halima. Mermix Non Profit Theater Company 120 page s . August 2016. Arabic Dutch English Farsi French Greek Italian Portuguese Spanish . http://thejourneyofhalima.com/

    A children's fairytale that tells the story of Halima who wants to reach the Land of Rain, in order to bring the rainclouds back to her land, where there is a terrible drought, and where the people are no longer happy. (Description from source) 

    Recommended for ages 8 and up.

  46. The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir . Yang, Kao Kalia 277 page s . April 2008. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Kao Kalia Yang tells the story of her family's journey from the war-torn jungles of Laos to their arrival in America, from her 6 year old point of view. 

    Recommended for ages 14 and up.

  47. The Story of My Life: An Afghan Girl on the Other Side of the Sky. Ahmedi, Farah , Ansary, Tamim 256 page s . 2005. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Recounts the life of an Afghan girl, Farah Ahmedi, who is crippled by a landmine when walking to school in Kabul and who eventually comes with her mother to Chicago to attend high school.

    Recommended for ages 14 and up.

  48. The Trouble Begins. Himelblau, Linda 200 page s . 2005. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Du Nguryen, a young Vietnamese boy, finally comes to the U.S. with his grandmother to rejoin the family that left him behind when he was a baby. But he struggles to fit in at school and at home. Slowly, his true colors appear and he gains friends as well as the love and support of his family. (IP)

    Recommended for ages 8-12.

  49. This is Me: A Story of Who We Are & Where We Came From. Curtis, Jamie Lee , Cornell, Laura 32 page s . September 20, 2016. English . https://www.workman.com/products/this-is-me

    This children's book raises important identity issues for children. This interactive book discusses immigration and encourages children to think about what it would be like to move someplace completely different.

    Recommended for ages 4-8.

  50. To Be a Refugee. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) . 2008. English . http://www.viewingprotection.org/2008/to-be-a-refugee/

    Children's video. To be used at schools and in general with young audiences. A teaching guide for the video is available upon request.

    Recommended for ages 10 and up.

  51. Transitions: Stories of Our Journeys. Houminer, Talia, ed. , Georgia Mutual Asisstance Association Consortium (GMAAC) 108 page s . 2002. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Transitions: Stories of Our Journeys is a collection of stories written by refugee youth from around the world compiled by the Georgia Mutual Assistance Association Consortium (GMAAC). These first person accounts offer a unique perspective of the refugee experience. (KHH)

    Recommended for ages 14 and up.

  52. Unity. Phillips Community Television . 2003. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This 15 minute video explores an amazing transformation in a Minnesota high school where African American students and Somali refugee students turned from resentments to conflict resolution using a combined group called Unity. (IP)

    Recommended for ages 12 and up.

  53. Us Karen. Dove, Richard page s . 2011. English . http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/6263811

    This illustrated children's book depicts the journey of the Karen people from Burma to Australia where they were resettled. This book may be useful for talking to children about where they came from and for telling others about their journey here.

    Recommended for ages 8 and up.

  54. Who Belongs Here? An American Story. Knight, Mary Burns 36 page s . 1993. English Spanish This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This children's book is about Nary, a young boy fleeing war-torn Cambodia for the safety of the United States. This story teaches compassion for recent immigrants while sharing the history of immigration in America. and some of the important contributions made by past immigrants. A teacher's guide is included. (Description from source)

    Recommended for ages 8 and up.

  55. Xochitl and the Flowers; Xochitl, la Nina de las Flores. Argueta, Jorge , Angel, Carl (illustrator) 32 page s . 2005. English Spanish This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    In this story based on real events, Xochitl Flores and her family move from El Salvador to Los Angeles. Life is very different in the United States but their community rallies around them. This book is written in both English and Spanish, with illustrations by Carl Angel.

    Recommended for ages 5-10.