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Immigration And Emigration: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about immigration and emigration?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to immigration and emigration. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about immigration and emigration.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about immigration and emigration, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like 100 Things That Make Me Happy to popular sellers like A Long Walk to Water to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Hundred Dresses.

We hope this list of kids books about immigration and emigration can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About Immigration And Emigration

Refuge book
#1
Refuge
Written by Anne Booth & illustrated by Sam Usher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A timely rendition of the nativity follows Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus as they travel in a strange land, hoping to find refuge in the kindness of strangers. $1 from the sale of each print book sold until October 2017 will go to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. Everyone knows the story of how Jesus was humbly born in a manger when was no room at the inn. But here is a lyrical depiction of what came next: the new family’s travels through the desert, fleeing Herod’s soldiers in order to find a safe place to welcome their son into the world. A refreshing look at the classic Christmas story that’s never been more relevant, Refuge asks readers to consider the modern day implications of being forced to flee your home country.

The Matchbox Diary book
#2
The Matchbox Diary
Written by Paul Fleischman & illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Follows a girl’s perusal of her great-grandfather’s collection of matchboxes and small curios that document his poignant immigration journey from Italy to a new country.

The Homesick Club book
#3
The Homesick Club
Written by Libby Martinez & illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Mónica and Hannah are school kids in the big city. Together, they have formed the Homesick Club, since they are both from far away. Mónica misses the family of hummingbirds that she and her grandmother would feed in her backyard in Bolivia every day. Hannah misses the sunshine and the tiny tortoise that lived near her house in Israel.

When a new teacher, Miss Shelby, arrives from Texas, the girls discover that she misses her home, too, especially the huge sky full of stars and a Southern treat known as Hummingbird Cake. The girls ask Miss Shelby to join their club, then Mónica decides she will bring a surprise for show and tell — a surprise that brings Miss Shelby close to tears.

Author Libby Martinez addresses a theme that many children can relate to — feeling homesick — especially when home is far away. Rebecca Gibbon’s charming illustrations bring an imaginative, light touch to the story.

The Hundred Dresses book
#4
The Hundred Dresses
Written by Eleanor Estes & illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Eleanor Estes’s The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is “never going to stand by and say nothing again.” This powerful, timeless story has been reissued with a new letter from the author’s daughter Helena Estes, and with the Caldecott artist Louis Slobodkin’s original artwork in beautifully restored color.

Molly's Pilgrim book
#5
Molly's Pilgrim
Written & illustrated by Barbara Cohen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

A modern Thanksgiving classic about an immigrant girl who comes to identify with the story of the Pilgrims, as she seeks religious freedom and a home in a new land.

As Molly nears her first Thanksgiving in the New World, she doesn’t find much to be thankful for. Her classmates giggle at her Yiddish accent and make fun of her unfamiliarity with American ways.

Molly’s embarassed when her mother helps with a class Thanksgiving project by making a little doll that looks more like a Russian refugee than a New England Pilgrim. But the tiny modern-day pilgrim just might help Molly to find a place for herself in America.

The touching story tells how recent immigrant Molly leads her third-grade class to discover that it takes all kinds of pilgrims to make a Thanksgiving. Originally published in 1983, Molly’s Pilgrim inspired the 1986 Academy Award-winning live-action short film.

Her Right Foot book
#6
Her Right Foot
Written by Dave Eggers & illustrated by Shawn Harris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

If you had to name a statue, any statue, odds are good you’d mention the Statue of Liberty. Have you seen her? She’s in New York. She’s holding a torch. And she’s taking one step forward. But why? In this fascinating, fun take on nonfiction, uniquely American in its frank tone and honest look at the literal foundation of our country, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris investigate a seemingly small trait of America’s most emblematic statue. What they find is about more than history, more than art. What they find in the Statue of Liberty’s right foot is the powerful message of acceptance that is essential to an entire country’s creation. Can you believe that?

Danbi Leads the School Parade book
#7
Danbi Leads the School Parade
Written & illustrated by Anna Kim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Meet Danbi, the new girl at school!

Danbi is thrilled to start her new school in America. But a bit nervous too, for when she walks into the classroom, everything goes quiet. Everyone stares. Danbi wants to join in the dances and the games, but she doesn’t know the rules and just can’t get anything right. Luckily, she isn’t one to give up. With a spark of imagination, she makes up a new game and leads her classmates on a parade to remember! Danbi Leads the School Parade introduces readers to an irresistible new character. In this first story, she learns to navigate her two cultures and realizes that when you open your world to others, their world opens up to you.

Flight for Freedom: The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany book
#8
Flight for Freedom: The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany
Written by Kristen Fulton & illustrated by Torben Kuhlmann
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

An Inspiring True Story about One Family’s Escape from Behind the Berlin Wall!

Peter was born on the east side of Germany, the side that wasn’t free. He watches news programs rather than cartoons, and wears scratchy uniforms instead of blue jeans. His family endures long lines and early curfews. But Peter knows it won’t always be this way. Peter and his family have a secret. Late at night in their attic, they are piecing together a hot air balloon—and a plan. Can Peter and his family fly their way to freedom? This is the true story of one child, Peter Wetzel, and his family, as they risk their lives for the hope of freedom in a daring escape from East Germany via a handmade hot air balloon in 1979.

• A perfect picture book for educators teaching about the Cold War, the Iron Curtain, and East Germany
Flight for Freedom is a showcase for lessons of bravery, heroism, family, and perseverance, as well as stunning history.
• Includes detailed maps of the Wetzel family’s escape route and diagrams of their hot air balloon

For fans of historical nonfiction picture books like Let the Children March, The Wall, Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon.

• True life escape stories
• For picture book readers age 5–9
• For teachers, librarians, and historians

Kristen Fulton is a children’s book author. She can always be found with a notebook in hand as she ventures through historical sites and museums. Most of the time she lives in Florida—but she can also be found traveling the country by RV.

Torben Kuhlmann is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. Starting in kindergarten he became known as “the draftsman.” Flying machines and rich historical detail often adorn his work. He lives in Hamburg, Germany.

The Day War Came book
#9
The Day War Came
Written by Nicola Davies & illustrated by Rebecca Cobb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Imagine if, on an ordinary day, after a morning of studying tadpoles and drawing birds at school, war came to your town and turned it to rubble. Imagine if you lost everything and everyone, and you had to make a dangerous journey all alone. Imagine that there was no welcome at the end, and no room for you to even take a seat at school. And then a child, just like you, gave you something ordinary but so very, very precious. In lyrical, deeply affecting language, Nicola Davies’s text combines with Rebecca Cobb’s expressive illustrations to evoke the experience of a child who sees war take away all that she knows.

The Day Saida Arrived book
#10
The Day Saida Arrived
Written by Susana Gómez Redondo & illustrated by Sonja Wimmer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Two girls forge a forever-friendship by learning each other’s language. The Day Saida Arrived demonstrates the power of language to build bonds beyond borders.

What happens when a new friend arrives who doesn’t speak your language? A young girl searches for the words to help her friend feel welcome and happy in her new home, and along the way learns about differences and similarities in countries and words. The two forge a strong bond while they each learn the other’s language, exploring the world around them.

A joyous, lyrical text—including English translations and pronunciations and the complete Arabic alphabet—offers an accessible, fresh approach to talking about immigration. Paired with lushly vivid illustrations, The Day Saida Arrived demonstrates the power of language to build bonds beyond borders. Printed on FSC-certified paper with vegetable-based inks.

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Immigration And Emigration and...

Books About Immigration And Emigration and Prejudice And Racism

Refuge
Written by Anne Booth & illustrated by Sam Usher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A timely rendition of the nativity follows Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus as they travel in a strange land, hoping to find refuge in the kindness of strangers. $1 from the sale of each print book sold until October 2017 will go to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. Everyone knows the story of how Jesus was humbly born in a manger when was no room at the inn. But here is a lyrical depiction of what came next: the new family’s travels through the desert, fleeing Herod’s soldiers in order to find a safe place to welcome their son into the world. A refreshing look at the classic Christmas story that’s never been more relevant, Refuge asks readers to consider the modern day implications of being forced to flee your home country.

The Hundred Dresses
Written by Eleanor Estes & illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Eleanor Estes’s The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is “never going to stand by and say nothing again.” This powerful, timeless story has been reissued with a new letter from the author’s daughter Helena Estes, and with the Caldecott artist Louis Slobodkin’s original artwork in beautifully restored color.

Owl Bat Bat Owl
Written & illustrated by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

An owl and a bat family endeavor to share living spaces on the same tree branch, where initial wariness is overcome by the curiosity of the families’ babies on a wild and stormy night that compels them to set aside their apprehensions.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Big Umbrella - A spacious umbrella welcomes anyone and everyone who needs shelter from the rain.

  2. The Orphan Band of Springdale - With the United States on the verge of World War II, eleven-year-old Gusta is sent from New York City to Maine, where she discovers small-town prejudices — and a huge family secret. It’s 1941, and tensions are rising in the United States as the Second World War rages in Europe. Eleven-year-old Gusta’s life, like the world around her, is about to change. Her father, a foreign-born labor organizer, has had to flee the country, and Gusta has been sent to live in an orphanage run by her grandmother. Nearsighted, snaggletoothed Gusta arrives in Springdale, Maine, lugging her one precious possession: a beloved old French horn, her sole memento of her father. But in a family that’s long on troubles and short on money, how can a girl hang on to something so valuable and yet so useless when Gusta’s mill-worker uncle needs surgery to fix his mangled hand, with no union to help him pay? Inspired by her mother’s fanciful stories, Gusta secretly hopes to find the coin-like “Wish” that her sea-captain grandfather supposedly left hidden somewhere. Meanwhile, even as Gusta gets to know the rambunctious orphans at the home, she feels like an outsider at her new school — and finds herself facing patriotism turned to prejudice, alien registration drives, and a family secret likely to turn the small town upside down.

  3. The Promise - The night that Rachel and Toby’s parents are taken away by the Nazis, they give their daughters three gold coins. “Use these wisely to help save your lives,” they tell them. They also ask the girls to promise that they will always stay together. This compelling true story follows the girls as they confront the daily horrors of Auschwitz, protecting one another, sharing memories, fears and even laughter. Always together. But when Rachel becomes ill and is taken away by Nazi guards, likely forever, Toby risks her life to use the wellhidden gold coins to rescue her little sister.

Books About Immigration And Emigration and Moving

A Piece of Home
Written by Jeri Watts & illustrated by Hyewon Yum
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

“When Hee Jun’s family moves from Korea to West Virginia, he struggles to adjust to his new home. His eyes are not big and round like his classmates, and he can’t understand anything the teacher says, even when she speaks s-l-o-w-l-y and loudly at him. As he lies in bed at night, the sky seems smaller and darker. But little by little Hee Jun begins to learn English words and make friends on the playground. And one day he is invited to a classmate’s house, where he sees a flower he knows from his garden in Korea, “mugunghwa,” or Rose of Sharon, as his friend tells him and Hee Jun is happy to bring a shoot to his grandmother to plant a “piece of home” in their new garden.”—Provided by publisher.

The Homesick Club
Written by Libby Martinez & illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Mónica and Hannah are school kids in the big city. Together, they have formed the Homesick Club, since they are both from far away. Mónica misses the family of hummingbirds that she and her grandmother would feed in her backyard in Bolivia every day. Hannah misses the sunshine and the tiny tortoise that lived near her house in Israel.

When a new teacher, Miss Shelby, arrives from Texas, the girls discover that she misses her home, too, especially the huge sky full of stars and a Southern treat known as Hummingbird Cake. The girls ask Miss Shelby to join their club, then Mónica decides she will bring a surprise for show and tell — a surprise that brings Miss Shelby close to tears.

Author Libby Martinez addresses a theme that many children can relate to — feeling homesick — especially when home is far away. Rebecca Gibbon’s charming illustrations bring an imaginative, light touch to the story.

Danbi Leads the School Parade
Written & illustrated by Anna Kim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Meet Danbi, the new girl at school!

Danbi is thrilled to start her new school in America. But a bit nervous too, for when she walks into the classroom, everything goes quiet. Everyone stares. Danbi wants to join in the dances and the games, but she doesn’t know the rules and just can’t get anything right. Luckily, she isn’t one to give up. With a spark of imagination, she makes up a new game and leads her classmates on a parade to remember! Danbi Leads the School Parade introduces readers to an irresistible new character. In this first story, she learns to navigate her two cultures and realizes that when you open your world to others, their world opens up to you.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Teacup - A boy must leave his home and find another. He brings with him a teacup full of earth from the place where he grew up, and sets off to sea. Some days, the journey is peaceful, and the skies are cloudless and bright. Some days, storms threaten to overturn his boat. And some days, the smallest amount of hope grows into something glorious. At last, the boy finds land, but it doesn’t feel complete . . . until another traveler joins him, bearing the seed to build a new home. With lyrical text and gorgeous artwork, this poignant picture book is perfect for discussing all of life’s toughest challenges—a big move, a divorce, long-distance separation, or even the current refugee crisis—in a way that’s reassuring and inspiring for children and adults alike.

  2. The Word for Friend - From author/illustrator Aidan Cassie, the creator of Sterling, Best Dog Ever and Little Juniper Makes It Big!, comes The Word for Friend, an adorable and timely picture book story about ways to welcome, friendship, and overcoming language barriers that will connect classmates and cultures alike. Kemala the pangolin is sure she’s going to make friends at her new school in her new country. After all, Kemala loves to talk. The kids at school like talking, too—but their words are all different. This country speaks a language Kemala doesn’t know. At first, no one understands Kemala either. This realization makes her curl into a little ball, like most pangolins do when they’re nervous. But a classmate helps draw her out with an art project that doubles as a vocabulary exchange. Soon, Kemala is learning the most universal language of all: friendship.

  3. I'm New Here - Three students are immigrants from Guatemala, Korea, and Somalia and have trouble speaking, writing, and sharing ideas in English in their new American elementary school. Through self-determination and with encouragement from their peers and teachers, the students learn to feel confident and comfortable in their new school without losing a sense of their home country, language, and identity. Young readers from all backgrounds will appreciate this touching story about the assimilation of three immigrant students in a supportive school community.

  4. Chee-Kee: A Panda in Bearland - Will Chee-Kee ever fit in? The Loo family has traveled very far to start a new life. For little Chee-Kee Loo, everything is strange—he looks and feels so different. But when some bears find themselves in a jam, Chee-Kee might be just the right panda to save the day. In this heartfelt and lovable story, meet Chee-Kee the panda, a one-of-a-kind in all the best ways.

Want to see books about moving?

Books About Immigration And Emigration and Holidays

Molly's Pilgrim
Written & illustrated by Barbara Cohen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

A modern Thanksgiving classic about an immigrant girl who comes to identify with the story of the Pilgrims, as she seeks religious freedom and a home in a new land.

As Molly nears her first Thanksgiving in the New World, she doesn’t find much to be thankful for. Her classmates giggle at her Yiddish accent and make fun of her unfamiliarity with American ways.

Molly’s embarassed when her mother helps with a class Thanksgiving project by making a little doll that looks more like a Russian refugee than a New England Pilgrim. But the tiny modern-day pilgrim just might help Molly to find a place for herself in America.

The touching story tells how recent immigrant Molly leads her third-grade class to discover that it takes all kinds of pilgrims to make a Thanksgiving. Originally published in 1983, Molly’s Pilgrim inspired the 1986 Academy Award-winning live-action short film.

Freedom Soup
Written by Tami Charles & illustrated by Jacqueline Alcantara
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Join the celebration in the kitchen as a family makes their traditional New Year’s soup — and shares the story of how Haitian independence came to be.

The shake-shake of maracas vibrates down to my toes. Ti Gran’s feet tap-tap to the rhythm.

Every year, Haitians all over the world ring in the new year by eating a special soup, a tradition dating back to the Haitian Revolution. This year, Ti Gran is teaching Belle how to make the soup — Freedom Soup — just like she was taught when she was a little girl. Together, they dance and clap as they prepare the holiday feast, and Ti Gran tells Belle about the history of the soup, the history of Belle’s family, and the history of Haiti, where Belle’s family is from. In this celebration of cultural traditions passed from one generation to the next, Jacqueline Alcántara’s lush illustrations bring to life both Belle’s story and the story of the Haitian Revolution. Tami Charles’s lyrical text, as accessible as it is sensory, makes for a tale that readers will enjoy to the last drop.

Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale
Written by Eric A. Kimmel & illustrated by Matthew Trueman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Before Simon sails to America, he promises his family that he will get a job and send for them. Simon’s mother knows he will need a miracle, so she reminds him to celebrate Hanukkah wherever he may be. Little does either of them know that Simon will spend the first night of Hanukkah on an ice floe after his ship sinks.The lone survivor out in the wide ocean, Simon lights the first candle, and it attracts a visitor: a polar bear. Does she eat him? No! She shares his latkes, enjoys his songs, goes fishing for him, and even keeps him warm at night. By the last day of Hanukkah, Simon has nearly given up hope of ever being rescued. But then he recounts all of the miracles that have befallen him so far. Perhaps it is not too much to hope for one more, he thinks, as he lights all of the candles in the menorah. The bright glow signals a passing ship, and Simon makes it to New York after all. This fanciful Hanukkah tale-like none you’ve ever read before-celebrates eight miracles: family, friendship, hope, selflessness, sharing, faith, courage, and love. A retelling of the ancient Hanukkah story is included on the last page.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Badir and the Beaver - I t’s Ramadan, a time to focus on good deeds and to fast, and Badir and his brother, Anis, are out for a walk one evening while they wait for their iftar meal. In the park Badir sees a rat. A very, very large rat. He soon learns it’s actually a beaver, an animal that doesn’t live in Tunisia, the country Badir and his family have emigrated from. It turns out that some of the neighbors who enjoy the park think this beaver is a bit of a pest, but Badir thinks it’s wonderful and learns everything he can about the iconic Canadian animal. When a petition is started to remove the beaver, Badir, who knows firsthand how difficult it is to leave your home behind, rallies his classmates to save it. And with a little help from new friends, the kids learn that collaboration and faith can change the way we think about the world.

  2. The St. Patrick's Day Shillelagh - A family retells the story of the shillelagh that was whittled from a tree. During the Irish potato famine, Fergus and his family left for America. But first Fergus cut a branch from a blackthorn tree to take a piece of Ireland with him.

  3. Lady Liberty's Holiday - The Statue of Liberty is feeling a little blue, despite being green. As much as she loves welcoming people to America, standing still for over a hundred years has left her with a stiff neck, aching arms, and a cramp in her leg. This lady could use a vacation!

Want to see books about holidays?

Books About Immigration And Emigration and Feelings And Emotions

The Day Saida Arrived
Written by Susana Gómez Redondo & illustrated by Sonja Wimmer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Two girls forge a forever-friendship by learning each other’s language. The Day Saida Arrived demonstrates the power of language to build bonds beyond borders.

What happens when a new friend arrives who doesn’t speak your language? A young girl searches for the words to help her friend feel welcome and happy in her new home, and along the way learns about differences and similarities in countries and words. The two forge a strong bond while they each learn the other’s language, exploring the world around them.

A joyous, lyrical text—including English translations and pronunciations and the complete Arabic alphabet—offers an accessible, fresh approach to talking about immigration. Paired with lushly vivid illustrations, The Day Saida Arrived demonstrates the power of language to build bonds beyond borders. Printed on FSC-certified paper with vegetable-based inks.

A Different Pond
Written by Bao Phi & illustrated by Thi Bui
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A 2018 Caldecott Honor Book that Kirkus Reviews calls “a must-read for our times,” 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. As a young boy, Bao and his father 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. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. Thi Bui’s striking, evocative art paired with Phi’s expertly crafted prose has earned this powerful picture books six starred reviews and numerous awards.

Me and My Fear
Written & illustrated by Francesca Sanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“With its warm palette and gentle scenes of the worried child being comforted, this book could function as a sequel to Sanna’s astounding debut picture book, The Journey, which recounted a family’s dangerous flight from their home in a war zone. Sanna provides an empathetic exploration of the adjustment to a new land that all migrants experience.”—New York Times Book Review

Introducing a companion picture book to the award-winning picture book, The Journey, from rising star Francesca Sanna. When a young immigrant girl has to travel to a new country and start at a new school, she is accompanied by her Fear who tells her to be alone and afraid, growing bigger and bigger every day with questions like “how can you hope to make new friends if you don’t understand their language?” But this little girl is stronger than her Fear. A heart-warming and timely tale from the bestselling author and illustrator of The Journey, this book shows us the importance of sharing your Fear with others—after all, everyone carries a Fear with them, even if it’s small enough to fit into their pocket!

Honorable Mentions
  1. My Favorite Memories - ★ “A gentle story about change, home, and the hope life hands us when we open our hearts to receive it.” — Booklist, starred review A beautifully simple story about moving to a new home, exploring themes of change and permanence and told with warm illustrations from an award-winning illustrator. A young girl is moving to a new country, and there’s so much that she wants to bring: an aquarium, a pear tree, her best friend, the ocean. As she moves through the list of the things she loves, she comes to understand that while we cannot always carry things with us physically—maybe they can travel with us in other ways. Told with warm illustrations by an award-winning picture book illustrator, My Favorite Memories offers parents and educators a gentle but impactful way to discuss the idea of resilience along with complex life events like immigration and moving to a new home. Printed on FSC-certified paper with vegetable-based inks.

  2. Two Drops of Brown in a Cloud of White - A little girl and her mother walk home from school on a snowy winter day. “So much snow,” says Ma. “So monochromatic.” “Mono crow what?” her daughter replies. Ma misses the sun, warmth and colors of their faraway homeland, but her daughter sees magic in everything — the clouds in the winter sky, the “firework” display when she throws an armful of snow into the air, making snow angels, tasting snowflakes. And in the end, her joy is contagious. Home is where family is, after all. This gently layered, beautifully illustrated story that unfolds as a conversation between a mother and daughter will resonate with readers young and old.

  3. The Suitcase - A powerful story about immigration, trust, and new beginnings, full of heart and humanity, for anyone who has ever felt unwelcome or out of place. Perfect for fans of Allen Say, Francesca Sanna, and Yuyi Morales.  When a weary stranger arrives one day, with only a suitcase, everyone is full of questions: Why is he here?
    Where has he come from?
    And just what is in that suitcase?
     
    To learn the answers, they can either trust the newcomer or discover what they risk by not believing him. 
     
    A story about hope and kindness, truth and perception—and most importantly, about how we treat those in need.

  4. My Name Is Sangoel - Sangoel is a refugee. Leaving behind his homeland of Sudan, where his father died in the war, he has little to call his own other than his name, a Dinka name handed down proudly from his father and grandfather before him. When Sangoel and his mother and sister arrive in the United States, everything seems very strange and unlike home. In this busy, noisy place, with its escalators and television sets and traffic and snow, Sangoel quietly endures the fact that no one is able to pronounce his name. Lonely and homesick, he finally comes up with an ingenious solution to this problem, and in the process he at last begins to feel at home. Written by the authors of the acclaimed Four Feet, Two Sandals, this poignant story of identity and belonging will help young readers understand the plight of the millions of children in the world who are refugees.

Books About Immigration And Emigration and Refugees

The Day War Came
Written by Nicola Davies & illustrated by Rebecca Cobb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Imagine if, on an ordinary day, after a morning of studying tadpoles and drawing birds at school, war came to your town and turned it to rubble. Imagine if you lost everything and everyone, and you had to make a dangerous journey all alone. Imagine that there was no welcome at the end, and no room for you to even take a seat at school. And then a child, just like you, gave you something ordinary but so very, very precious. In lyrical, deeply affecting language, Nicola Davies’s text combines with Rebecca Cobb’s expressive illustrations to evoke the experience of a child who sees war take away all that she knows.

Lubna and Pebble
Written by Wendy Meddour & illustrated by Daniel Egneus
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In an unforgettable story that subtly addresses the refugee crisis, a young girl must decide if friendship means giving up the one item that gives her comfort during a time of utter uncertainty. Lubna’s best friend is a pebble. Pebble always listens to her stories. Pebble always smiles when she feels scared. But when a lost little boy arrives in the World of Tents, Lubna realizes that he needs Pebble even more than she does. This emotionally stirring and stunningly illustrated picture book explores one girl’s powerful act of friendship in the midst of an unknown situation.

How Many Days to America?
Written by Eve Bunting & illustrated by Beth Peck
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Refugees from a Caribbean island embark on a dangerous boat trip to America where they have a special reason to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Other Words for Home - A gorgeously written, hopeful middle grade novel in verse about a young girl who must leave Syria to move to the United States, perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Aisha Saeed. Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives. At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is. This lyrical, life-affirming story is about losing and finding home and, most importantly, finding yourself.

  2. The Eleventh Trade - From debut author Alyssa Hollingsworth comes a story about living with fear, being a friend, and finding a new place to call home. They say you can’t get something for nothing, but nothing is all Sami has. When his grandfather’s most-prized possession—a traditional Afghan instrument called a rebab—is stolen, Sami resolves to get it back. He finds it at a music store, but it costs $700, and Sami doesn’t have even one penny. What he does have is a keychain that has caught the eye of his classmate. If he trades the keychain for something more valuable, could he keep trading until he has $700? Sami is about to find out. The Eleventh Trade is both a classic middle school story and a story about being a refugee. Like Katherine Applegate, author of Wishtree, Alyssa Hollingsworth tackles a big issue with a light touch.

  3. The Someone New - From Jill Twiss and EG Keller, the author and illustrator team behind the #1 New York Times bestselling picture book John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, comes The Someone New, a fresh and timely story about how it feels when someone new comes knocking at your door. Jitterbug the chipmunk likes it when things stay the same. So when one day Pudding the snail comes into her woods, Jitterbug worries that everything will be different. What if Pudding spoils everything? What if there’s no more room for Jitterbug? With the help of her friends, can Jitterbug welcome the newcomer and learn that kindness is stronger than fear?

  4. Juliane's Story - This is the real-life story of 12-year-old refugee Juliane. At 3 years old, Juliane was separated from her mother due to the violence in her country of Zimbabwe. Told in Juliane’s own words, the story tells of her fear and isolation growing up in an orphanage, how she was reunited with her mother, and how the two of them fled to another country to establish a new life together.

Books About Immigration And Emigration and African Americans

A Poem for Peter
Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney & illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

A celebration of the extraordinary life of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of The Snowy Day.

The story of The Snowy Day begins more than one hundred years ago, when Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. The family were struggling Polish immigrants, and despite Keats’s obvious talent, his father worried that Ezra’s dream of being an artist was an unrealistic one. But Ezra was determined. By high school he was winning prizes and scholarships. Later, jobs followed with the WPA and Marvel comics. But it was many years before Keats’s greatest dream was realized and he had the opportunity to write and illustrate his own book.

For more than two decades, Ezra had kept pinned to his wall a series of photographs of an adorable African American child. In Keats’s hands, the boy morphed into Peter, a boy in a red snowsuit, out enjoying the pristine snow; the book became The Snowy Day, winner of the Caldecott Medal, the first mainstream book to feature an African American child. It was also the first of many books featuring Peter and the children of his — and Keats’s — neighborhood.

Andrea Davis Pinkney’s lyrical narrative tells the inspiring story of a boy who pursued a dream, and who, in turn, inspired generations of other dreamers.

Last Stop on Market Street
Written by Matt De La Pena & illustrated by Christian Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A young boy rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things. By the author of the celebrated picture book A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis.

Wherever I Go
Written by Mary Wagley Copp & illustrated by Munir D. Mohammed
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A hopeful and timely picture book about a spirited little girl living in a refugee camp.

Of all her friends, Abia has been at the Shimelba Refugee Camp the longest—seven years, four months, and sixteen days. Papa says that’s too long and they need a forever home. Until then, though, Abia has something important to do. Be a queen.

Sometimes she’s a noisy queen, banging on her drum as she and Mama wait in the long line for rice to cook for dinner. Sometimes she’s a quiet queen, cuddling her baby cousin to sleep while Auntie is away collecting firewood. And sometimes, when Papa talks hopefully of their future, forever home, Abia is a little nervous. Forever homes are in strange and faraway places—will she still be a queen?

Filled with hope, love, and respect, Wherever I Go is a timely tribute to the strength and courage of refugees around the world.

Honorable Mentions
  1. When Stars Are Scattered - Heartbreak and hope exist together in this remarkable graphic novel about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl. Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day. Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It’s an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.

  2. This Is the Rope - A rope passed down through the generations frames an African-American family’s story as they journey north to New York City from the rural south during the time of the Great Migration. Full color.

  3. Home of the Brave - A man I helped to settle here taught me a saying from Africa. I’ll bet you would like it: A cow is God with a wet nose. Kek comes from Africa where he lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived. Now she’s missing, and Kek has been sent to a new home. In America, he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter—cold and unkind. But slowly he makes friends: a girl in foster care, an old woman with a rundown farm, and a sweet, sad cow that reminds Kek of home. As he waits for word of his mother’s fate, Kek weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country.

  4. Sadiq and the Desert Star - Sadiq’s father is going on a business trip, but before he goes he tells Sadiq a story of the Desert Star, which fits in perfectly with Sadiq’s third grade class field trip to the planetarium, and inspires Sadiq to build a simple telescope to study the stars when his father returns.

Books About Immigration And Emigration and History

Flight for Freedom: The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany
Written by Kristen Fulton & illustrated by Torben Kuhlmann
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

An Inspiring True Story about One Family’s Escape from Behind the Berlin Wall!

Peter was born on the east side of Germany, the side that wasn’t free. He watches news programs rather than cartoons, and wears scratchy uniforms instead of blue jeans. His family endures long lines and early curfews. But Peter knows it won’t always be this way. Peter and his family have a secret. Late at night in their attic, they are piecing together a hot air balloon—and a plan. Can Peter and his family fly their way to freedom? This is the true story of one child, Peter Wetzel, and his family, as they risk their lives for the hope of freedom in a daring escape from East Germany via a handmade hot air balloon in 1979.

• A perfect picture book for educators teaching about the Cold War, the Iron Curtain, and East Germany
Flight for Freedom is a showcase for lessons of bravery, heroism, family, and perseverance, as well as stunning history.
• Includes detailed maps of the Wetzel family’s escape route and diagrams of their hot air balloon

For fans of historical nonfiction picture books like Let the Children March, The Wall, Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon.

• True life escape stories
• For picture book readers age 5–9
• For teachers, librarians, and historians

Kristen Fulton is a children’s book author. She can always be found with a notebook in hand as she ventures through historical sites and museums. Most of the time she lives in Florida—but she can also be found traveling the country by RV.

Torben Kuhlmann is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. Starting in kindergarten he became known as “the draftsman.” Flying machines and rich historical detail often adorn his work. He lives in Hamburg, Germany.

Child of St Kilda
Written & illustrated by Beth Waters
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

Norman John Gillies was one of the last children ever born on St Kilda, five years before the whole population was evacuated forever to the British mainland. People had lived on these islands for over four thousand years, developing a thriving, tightly-knit society that knew nothing of crime or money, and took care of its weakest members without hesitation. At the mercy of the seasons and the elements, a unique lifestyle evolved, based around resilience, mutual trust and caring. What was it like to grow up in such harsh conditions? Why and how did this ancient way of life suddenly cease in 1930? Where did the islanders go, and what became of them? And what became of Norman John, child of St Kilda?

Orange for the Sunsets
Written & illustrated by Tina Athaide
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From debut author Tina Athaide comes a soaring tale of empathy, hope, and resilience, as two best friends living under Ugandan President Amin’s divisive rule must examine where—and who—they call home. Perfect for fans of Half from the East and Inside Out and Back Again. Asha and her best friend, Yesofu, never cared about the differences between them: Indian. African. Girl. Boy. Short. Tall. But when Idi Amin announces that Indians have ninety days to leave the country, suddenly those differences are the only things that people in Entebbe can see—not the shared after-school samosas or Asha cheering for Yesofu at every cricket game. Determined for her life to stay the same, Asha clings to her world tighter than ever before. But Yesofu is torn, pulled between his friends, his family, and a promise of a better future. Now as neighbors leave and soldiers line the streets, the two friends find that nothing seems sure—not even their friendship. Tensions between Indians and Africans intensify and the deadline to leave is fast approaching. Could the bravest thing of all be to let each other go?

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Night Diary - Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.

  2. Gervelie's Journey: A Refugee Diary - Gervelie was born in the Republic of the Congo in 1995. This is the true story of her flight from her home in Africa to seek refuge in the United Kingdom and is told in her words. It is the honest and heartrending story of a family torn apart by war and their courageous decision to seek a life of peace in the West. Other titles in the series: Hamzat’s Journey, Mohammed’s Journey, Meltem’s Journey This is the first book in an accalaimed series highlighting the true stories of refugee children. Chosen as a Scholastic Book of the Year and as an Outstanding International Book by USBBY. CLICK HERE

Books About Immigration And Emigration and Multigenerational

The Matchbox Diary
Written by Paul Fleischman & illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Follows a girl’s perusal of her great-grandfather’s collection of matchboxes and small curios that document his poignant immigration journey from Italy to a new country.

The Keeping Quilt: 25th Anniversary Edition
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This 25th anniversary edition of a beloved and bestselling classic about family and tradition includes fifteen pages of bonus material.

“We will make a quilt to help us always remember home,” Anna’s mother said. “It will be like having the family in backhome Russia dance around us at night.”

And so it was. From a basket of old clothes, Anna’s babushka, Uncle Vladimir’s shirt, Aunt Havalah’s nightdress, and an apron of Aunt Natasha’s become The Keeping Quilt, passed along from mother to daughter for almost a century. For four generations the quilt is a Sabbath tablecloth, a wedding canopy, and a blanket that welcomes babies warmly into the world.

In strongly moving pictures that are as heartwarming as they are real, Patricia Polacco tells the story of her own family and the quilt’s further story that remains a symbol of their enduring love and faith. This anniversary edition includes fifteen pages of original material describing the quilt’s journey and its home at the Mazza Museum in Findley, Ohio.

The Rhino in Right Field
Written & illustrated by Stacy DeKeyser
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A boy who loves baseball must get past his hard-working immigrant parents—and the rhino in the outfield—to become a batboy in this laugh-out-loud middle-grade novel in the tradition of The Sandlot.

Honorable Mentions
  1. My Grandma and Me - In a true tale of a young girl in Iran and her grandmother, this beautiful ode to family celebrates small moments of love that become lifelong memories. In this big universe full of many moons, I have traveled and seen many wonders, but I have never loved anything or anyone the way I love my grandma. While Mina is growing up in Iran, the center of her world is her grandmother. Whether visiting friends next door, going to the mosque for midnight prayers during Ramadan, or taking an imaginary trip around the planets, Mina and her grandma are never far apart. At once deeply personal and utterly universal, Mina Javaherbin’s words make up a love letter of the rarest sort: the kind that shares a bit of its warmth with every reader. Soft, colorful, and full of intricate patterns, Lindsey Yankey’s illustrations feel like a personal invitation into the coziest home, and the adoration between Mina and her grandma is evident on every page.

  2. The Great Googlini - Filip, the ten-year-old son of Croatian immigrants, lives in a boring suburb of the big city,where he passes his time either at school or in his cozy kitchen, googling everything from dinosaurs to the Hubble Space Telescope. When his favorite uncle gets sick, Filip turns to Google for answers. Instead he receives a visit from the Great Googlini, a tiny woman in Converse sneakers who swirls out of the computer vents. She’s not really a genie, she explains: “I’m more of an archivist.” Her visit is a little bit of magic that lets Filip see the magic all around him. Ultimately about the things we can know and the things we can’t, this is a smart, touching, funny chapter book about growing up, braving tough times and looking for answers.

  3. In the New World - The story of Robert and Margarete and their children Johannes and Dorothea, who emigrate from Germany to the United States in 1850. After landing in New Orleans and joining a wagon train headed west to Nebraska, the family establishes a farm outside Omaha. The book ends with a switch to modern day with descendants of Robert and Margarete living on the same farm. They make the decision to investigate their roots and visit Germany, reversing the trip their ancestors made.

  4. King of the Sky - In this tale of a young boy, an old man, and a dauntless pigeon, a lyrical text and extraordinary illustrations offer a gorgeous meditation on loneliness, belonging, and home. A young Italian boy has moved to the Welsh hills with his family. He feels isolated and unhappy, a stranger in a strange land. It is only when he makes an unlikely friend, an old man who lets him fly one of his pigeons in a race, that he learns how he can belong. Nicola Davies’s beautiful story — an immigrant’s tale with powerful resonance in our troubled times — is illustrated by an artist who makes the world anew with every picture.

Books About Immigration And Emigration and Hispanics

Dreamers
Written & illustrated by Yuyi Morales
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Winner of the 2019 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award! A New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Book of 2018 In 1994, Yuyi Morales left her home in Xalapa, Mexico and came to the US with her infant son. She left behind nearly everything she owned, but she didn’t come empty-handed. She brought her strength, her work, her passion, her hopes and dreams. . . and her stories. Caldecott Honor artist and six-time Pura Belpré winner Yuyi Morales’s gorgeous picture book Dreamers is about making a home in a new place. Yuyi and her son Kelly’s passage was not easy, and Yuyi spoke no English whatsoever at the time. But together, they found an unexpected, unbelievable place: the public library. There, book by book, they untangled the language of this strange new land, and learned to make their home within it. Dreamers is a celebration of what migrantes bring with them when they leave their homes. It’s a story about family. And it’s a story to remind us that we are all dreamers, bringing our own gifts wherever we roam. Beautiful and powerful at any time but given particular urgency as the status of our own Dreamers becomes uncertain, this is a story that is both topical and timeless. The lyrical text is complemented by sumptuously detailed illustrations, rich in symbolism. Also included are a brief autobiographical essay about Yuyi’s own experience, a list of books that inspired her (and still do), and a description of the beautiful images, textures, and mementos she used to create this book. A parallel Spanish-language edition, Soñadores, is also available.

The Day You Begin
Written by Jacqueline Woodson & illustrated by Rafael López
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Rafael López have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.

There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

(This book is also available in Spanish, as El Día En Que Descubres Quién Eres!)

Where Are You From?
Written by Yamile Saied Méndez & illustrated by Jaime Kim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This resonant picture book tells the story of one girl who constantly gets asked a simple question that doesn’t have a simple answer. A great conversation starter in the home or classroom—a book to share, in the spirit of I Am Enough by Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo. When a girl is asked where she’s from—where she’s really from—none of her answers seems to be the right one. Unsure about how to reply, she turns to her loving abuelo for help. He doesn’t give her the response she expects. She gets an even better one. Where am I from? You’re from hurricanes and dark storms, and a tiny singing frog that calls the island people home when the sun goes to sleep…. With themes of self-acceptance, identity, and home, this powerful, lyrical picture book will resonate with readers young and old, from all backgrounds and of all colors—especially anyone who ever felt that they don’t belong.

Honorable Mentions
  1. My Papi Has a Motorcycle - A celebration of the love between a father and daughter, and of a vibrant immigrant neighborhood, by an award-winning author and illustrator duo.

  2. Islandborn - Every kid in Lola’s school was from somewhere else. Hers was a school of faraway places. So when Lola’s teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can’t remember The Island—she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories—joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening—Lola’s imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island. As she draws closer to the heart of her family’s story, Lola comes to understand the truth of her abuela’s words: “Just because you don’t remember a place doesn’t mean it’s not in you.” Gloriously illustrated and lyrically written, Islandborn is a celebration of creativity, diversity, and our imagination’s boundless ability to connect us—to our families, to our past and to ourselves

  3. Mango Moon - When a father is taken away from his family and facing deportation, his family is left to grieve and wonder about what comes next. Maricela, Manuel, and their mother face the many challenges of having their lives completely changed by the absence of their father and husband. Moving to a new house, missed soccer games and birthday parties, and emptiness are now the day-to-day norm. Mango Moon shows what life is like from a child’s perspective when a parent is deported, and the heartbreaking realities they have to face, but Maricela learns that her love for her father is sustained even though he is no longer part of her daily life.

  4. Mama’s Nightingale - A touching tale of parent-child separation and immigration, from a National Book Award finalist After Saya’s mother is sent to an immigration detention center, Saya finds comfort in listening to her mother’s warm greeting on their answering machine. To ease the distance between them while she’s in jail, Mama begins sending Saya bedtime stories inspired by Haitian folklore on cassette tape. Moved by her mother’s tales and her father’s attempts to reunite their family, Saya writes a story of her own—one that just might bring her mother home for good. With stirring illustrations, this tender tale shows the human side of immigration and imprisonment—and shows how every child has the power to make a difference.

Want to see books about Hispanics?

Books About Immigration And Emigration and Social Themes

Babies Ruin Everything
Written by Matthew Swanson & illustrated by Robbi Behr
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Meet the baby who ruins everything, and the big sister who learns to love him. Together, they make this laugh out loud picture book the perfect gift for new siblings and baby showers!

The baby can’t stand on one foot.

He can’t throw a Frisbee.

And he can’t whistle! Even big-head Benny Hogarth can whistle, and he already lost his front teeth!

So says a spunky little girl who thinks her new baby brother is ruining EVERYTHING: wrecking her room, drooling all over her toys, and throwing a wrench in her birthday party plans.

But when she opens her heart, this big sister realizes she might be the real problem-the baby’s just a baby, after all. Maybe all he needs is a better big sister.

Tall kids, small kids, and parents alike will laugh through this funny and sweet tale of learning how wonderful-and lucky-it is to have a new sibling.

Polar Bear Island
Written by Lindsay Bonilla & illustrated by Cinta Villalobos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“Welcome to Polar Bear Island. NO OTHERS ALLOWED!” So says Parker, the mayor, eager to keep the island just the way it is. But Kirby, a newly arrived penguin, is shaking things up—much to Parker’s dismay. The other polar bears love Kirby and beg Parker to let Kirby (and her family) move in. Will Parker agree . . . and make the island fun for EVERYONE? With its gentle message of inclusivity, this energetic story will delight children.

Together We Grow
Written by Susan Vaught & illustrated by Kelly Murphy
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From award-winning novelist Susan Vaught comes a poignant picture book that celebrates inclusivity, acceptance, and the importance of rebuilding a community in the wake of disaster.

Lightning gash! Windy lash!

A storm drives all the farm animals indoors except for a lonely fox family. The barn isn’t their home. But where will they go for safety?

This stunning picture books explores themes of acceptance and belonging: Large or small, Short and tall, There is room, There is room, There is room For us all.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Big Red Lollipop - Rubina has been invited to her first birthday party, and her mother, Ami, insists that she bring her little sister along. Rubina is mortified, but she can’t convince Ami that you just don’t bring your younger sister to your friend’s party. So both girls go, and not only does Sana demand to win every game, but after the party she steals Rubina’s prized party favor, a red lollipop. What’s a fed-up big sister to do?

  2. The Arrival - “Tan’s lovingly laid out and masterfully rendered tale about the immigrant experience is a documentary magically told.” — Art Spiegelman, author of Maus “An absolute wonder.” — Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis “A magical river of strangers and their stories!” — Craig Thompson, author of Blankets “A shockingly imaginative graphic novel that captures the sense of adventure and wonder that surrounds a new arrival on the shores of a shining new city. Wordless, but with perfect narrative flow, Tan gives us a story filled with cityscapes worthy of Winsor McCay.” — Jeff Smith, author of Bone “Shaun Tan’s artwork creates a fantastical, hauntingly familiar atmosphere… Strange, moving, and beautiful.” — Jon J. Muth, Caldecott Medal-winning author of Zen Shorts “Bravo.” — Brian Selznick, Caldecott Medal-winning author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret “Magnificent.” — David Small, Caldecott Medalist

  3. This Is Me - From the #1 New York Times bestselling creative team of Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell comes a timely picture book about immigration. Raising important identity issues like “Where did we come from?” and “Who are we?” This Is Me is as delightful as it is important, sure to stimulate dinner table conversation. In This Is Me a teacher tells her class about her great-grandmother’s dislocating journey from home to a new country with nothing but a small suitcase to bring along. And she asks: What would you pack? What are the things you love best? What says “This is me!” With its lively, rhyming language and endearing illustrations, it’s a book to read again and again, imagining the lives of the different characters, finding new details in the art, thinking about what it would be like to move someplace completely different. It’s an interactive book, too: Tucked into the back cover is a sturdy pop-up suitcase. And as a younger reader fills the suitcase, he or she learns a lot about what really matters: Now YOU take this case/ and imagine it’s true,/ that you’re leaving and needing/ to choose what says YOU.

  4. Kirsten Learns a Lesson - Kirsten starts school in America, but she doesn’t speak English very well. Miss Winston, her new teacher, is strict and not very understanding. Things get worse when Miss Winston comes to live with the Larson family. Kirsten’s only escape is playing with her secret friend, Singing Bird. When Singing Bird suggests running away forever, Kirsten must decide where she belongs. Kirsten does learn some important lessons in school, but she learns something even more important about herself.

Books About Immigration And Emigration and New York

Her Right Foot
Written by Dave Eggers & illustrated by Shawn Harris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

If you had to name a statue, any statue, odds are good you’d mention the Statue of Liberty. Have you seen her? She’s in New York. She’s holding a torch. And she’s taking one step forward. But why? In this fascinating, fun take on nonfiction, uniquely American in its frank tone and honest look at the literal foundation of our country, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris investigate a seemingly small trait of America’s most emblematic statue. What they find is about more than history, more than art. What they find in the Statue of Liberty’s right foot is the powerful message of acceptance that is essential to an entire country’s creation. Can you believe that?

Irving Berlin
Written by Nancy Churnin & illustrated by James Rey Sanchez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Irving Berlin came to the United States as a refugee from Tsarist Russia, escaping a pogrom that destroyed his village. Growing up on the streets of the lower East Side, the rhythms of jazz and blues inspired his own song-writing career. Starting with his first big hit, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Berlin created the soundtrack for American life with his catchy tunes and irresistible lyrics. With “God Bless America,” he sang his thanks to the country which had given him a home and a chance to express his creative vision.

Gittel's Journey
Written by Leslea Newman & illustrated by Amy June Bates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Gittel and her mother were supposed to immigrate to America together, but when her mother is stopped by the health inspector, Gittel must make the journey alone. Her mother writes her cousin’s address in New York on a piece of paper. However, when Gittel arrives at Ellis Island, she discovers the ink has run and the address is illegible! How will she find her family? Both a heart-wrenching and heartwarming story, Gittel’s Journey offers a fresh perspective on the immigration journey to Ellis Island. The book includes an author’s note explaining how Gittel’s story is based on the journey to America taken by Lesléa Newman’s grandmother and family friend.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Doll Shop Downstairs - Nine-year-old Anna and her sisters love to play with the dolls in their parents’ doll repair shop. But when World War I begins, an embargo on German-made goods-including the parts Papa needs to repair the dolls-threatens to put the family’s shop out of business. Fortunately, Anna has an idea that just might save the day. Inspired by the true story of Madame Alexander, this is a timeless tale of family and imagination. This beautiful gift edition of The Doll Shop Downstairs, featuring an eye-catching foil embossed cover, will make a perfect holiday present for dreamers and doll lovers everywhere.

  2. Same Sun Here - A twelve-year-old Indian immigrant in New York City and a Kentucky coal miner’s son become pen pals, and eventually best friends, through a series of revealing letters exploring such topics as environmental activism, immigration, and racism.

  3. Ella and Monkey at Sea - Ella’s best friend, Monkey, doesn’t like good-bye hugs. He doesn’t want to say good-bye to Oma. And he doesn’t want to move away forever. Neither does Ella. But Papa is waiting for them in New York. So Ella and Monkey must board the ship with Mama and leave their old home in Holland for their new home in America. Along the way, there is fish for dinner (Monkey hates fish), a playroom full of new kids (Monkey doesn’t like strangers), and stormy seas that leave everyone feeling sick. Can Ella and Monkey find a way to weather the storm? Will they ever feel at home again? This sweetly illustrated picture book will appeal to anyone who has left home behind— and to children who find creative ways to share their emotions

Want to see books about New York?

Books About Immigration And Emigration and Action And Adventure

Trial by Winter
Written & illustrated by Anne Patton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Dorothy and her family are settling into life on the prairies after a treacherous journey to their homestead. But now winter is approaching, and her dad has gone to work elsewhere, leaving the family to fend for themselves. The Boltons soon discover how brutal and harsh prairie winters can be. With the men away, Dorothy, her mam and her sister, Lydia, attempt to survive, but no matter what they do their sod house continues to get colder and colder and they become desperate for warmth. They must find a way to save themselves, but how?

Touch the Sun
Written by Emily Conolan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

To find freedom, you must leave behind everything you’ve ever known. It is 2011. You want nothing more than to be a journalist in Somalia like your aunty. But the truth can be dangerous—and when you and your little sister are left alone, you find yourself facing life-and-death choices at every turn. Can you escape a terrorist organization and find a safe place to call home? You’ll be asked to cross a desert on foot, hide below deck in a leaky boat, and put your life in the hands of people smugglers. At every turn, the choice is yours. How far will you go for freedom?

Nowhere Boy
Written by Katherine Marsh
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

A timely, poignant tale of family, sacrifice and the friendship between a young Syrian refugee and an American boy living in Brussels.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Chupacabras of the Río Grande - The fourth book in the fully illustrated, globe-trotting middle grade fantasy-adventure series about mythical creatures and their cultures of origin, from the Newbery Honor-winning author of The Inquisitor’s Tale. Elliot and Uchennna have only just returned from their most recent Unicorn Rescue Society mission when they (along with Jersey!) are whisked away on their next exciting adventure with Professor Fauna. This time, they’re headed to the Mexican border to help another mythical creature in need: the chupacabras! The Chupacabras of the Río Grande is co-written with David Bowles, author of the Pura Belpré Honor-winning book, The Smoking Mirror!

  2. The Little Pioneer - Perfect for fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, this picture book about one little girl’s journey westward is engaging and appropriate for younger readers. Children of all ages will be captivated by one brave girl’s adventures come to life as she relates the challenges, excitement, and dangers of the American frontier. Filled with drama and gorgeous, evocative illustrations, this first-person tale is a testament to the determination, solidarity, and courage of the early pioneers, each chasing their own American Dream.

  3. Ambassador - Gabe Fuentes is in for the ride of his life when he becomes Earth’s ambassador to the galaxy in this otherworldly adventure from the National Book Award–winning author of Goblin Secrets. Gabe Fuentes is reading under the covers one summer night when he is interrupted by a creature who looks like a purple sock puppet. The sock puppet introduces himself as the Envoy and asks if Gabe wants to be Earth’s ambassador to the galaxy. What sane eleven-year-old could refuse? Some ingenious tinkering with the washing machine sends Gabe’s “entangled” self out to the center of the galaxy. There he finds that Earth is in the path of a destructive alien force—and Gabe himself is the target of an assassination.

Books About Immigration And Emigration and Asian Americans

Duck for Turkey Day
Written by Jacqueline Jules & illustrated by Kathryn Mitter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Tuyet finds out that her Vietnamese family is having duck rather than turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, she is upset until she finds out that other children in her class did not eat turkey either.

Inside Out and Back Again
Written by Thanhha Lai
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Hannah Is My Name - “Based on her own immigration story, Yang’s offering is a winner — a spot-on depiction of the immigration experience in America.” — KIRKUS REVIEWS It’s a long way from Taiwan to San Francisco, but Hannah’s family has made the journey because they want to make America their home. In America, Baba tells his daughter, people are free to say what they think, and children can grow up to be whatever they choose. As Hannah takes a new name, starts a new school, learns a new language, and adjusts to a new way of life, they all wait — and hope — for the arrival of the green cards that will assure they are finally home to stay.

  2. Krista Kim-Bap - Krista and Jason have been best friends since preschool. It never mattered that he was a boy with reddish brown hair and she was “the Korean girl” at school. Now in fifth grade, everyone in their class is preparing their Heritage Month projects. Jason has always loved Krista’s Korean family, and particularly her mom’s cooking, but Krista is conflicted about being her school’s “Korean Ambassador.” She’s also worried about asking her intimidating grandma to teach the class how to cook their traditional kim-bap. Combine that with her new friends pulling her away from Jason, and Krista has a lot to deal with this year!

Books About Immigration And Emigration and Culture

The Dress and the Girl
Written by Camille Andros & illustrated by Julie Morstad
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little girl and her favorite dress have extraordinary adventures together, but when the girl emigrates from Greece to the United States they are separated, and the dress travels the world searching for her.

Pie in the Sky
Written by Remy Lai
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

A poignant, laugh-out-loud illustrated middle-grade novel about an eleven-year-old boy’s immigration experience, his annoying little brother, and their cake-baking hijinks! Sometimes life isn’t a piece of cake . . . When Jingwen moves to a new country, he feels like he’s landed on Mars. School is torture, making friends is impossible since he doesn’t speak English, and he’s often stuck looking after his (extremely irritating) little brother, Yanghao. To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of Pie in the Sky, the bakery his father had planned to open before he unexpectedly passed away. The only problem is his mother has laid down one major rule: the brothers are not to use the oven while she’s at work. As Jingwen and Yanghao bake elaborate cakes, they’ll have to cook up elaborate excuses to keep the cake making a secret from Mama. In her hilarious, emotional middle-grade debut, Remy Lai delivers a scrumptious combination of vibrant graphic art and pitch-perfect writing that will appeal to fans of Real Friends.

Hamid's Story
Written & illustrated by Andy Glynne
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-9

This is the real-life story of 10-year old refugee Hamid, who flees Eritrea with his mother to escape the war and threats to his family from the government. Told in Hamid’s own words, this story describes the hardship experienced by immigrants who are rebuilding their lives with little understanding of the language and culture of their new country.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Embrace the Chicken - Even though she only left Mumbai a few months ago, Shivani isn’t feeling like such an outsider anymore. She likes her new school. She finally has a best friend. But when her mother volunteers for the school’s annual fundraiser, Shivani is sure she will completely embarrass her. Especially if she cooks one of the “stinky” dishes that Shivani loves but is too ashamed to eat in front of her friends. On the day of the fair, the moment Shivani walks into the gym she knows her worst fears have come true: the unmistakable scent of Indian spices is in the air. But then she sees that dozens of people are lined up at her mom’s stall. It’s the most popular one!

  2. I'm an Immigrant Too! - From beloved Australian author Mem Fox comes a timely picture book about how all of our lives are enriched by the vibrant cultural diversity immigrants bring to their new communities. What journeys we have travelled, from countries near and far! Together now, we live in peace, beneath the Southern Star. Inspired by the plight of immigrants around the world, Mem Fox was moved to write this lyrical and rhyming exploration of the myriad ways immigrants have enriched her home country of Australia. Young readers everywhere will see themselves—and their friends and neighbors—in this powerful and moving picture book.

Books About Immigration And Emigration and Diversity

The Belonging Tree
Written by Maryann Cocca-Leffler & illustrated by Kristine A Lombardi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The Belonging Tree is a thoughtful picture book about respect, inclusion, and acceptance in a woodland community of animals from writer Maryann Cocca-Leffler and illustrator Kristine A. Lombardi.

Life was ordinary in the big oak tree on Forest Lane. Squirrels lived in every part of the tree, and the Gray squirrel family inhabited the knot in the middle. But the neighborhood starts to change as the big oak tree welcomes families of chipmunks, beavers, and birds. And with each new arrival, the Grays become increasingly unhappy. Can’t everything remain just as it was?

It will take an unexpected moment of heroism from a thoughtful inhabitant to finally open hearts and bind together this diverse animal community.

Christy Ottaviano Books

Crocodile's Crossing: A Search for Home
Written by Yoeri Slegers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Crocodile is tired, scared, and hopeful as he searches for his new home.

Everything will be better where Im going! he thinks. But where is that?

Crocodiles Crossing: A Search for Home introduces children to the complex topic of immigration. Featuring bright artwork packed with playful details, this thoughtful tale sensitively portrays the challenges faced by refugees and other newcomers. A downloadable discussion guide is available at www.flyawaybooks.com/resources.

My America
Written & illustrated by Karen Katz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

From author and illustrator Karen Katz, My America is a picture book celebration of immigration to the United States told through the experiences of children who have come from around the world.

Children come to live in America from many different countries, and for many different reasons . . .

In this beautiful celebration of immigration, children from around the world tell their stories, sharing their love of where they’re from and where they live now―homes old and new. As they describe the foods they eat, the languages they’ve learned, the sports they play, and more, the differences and similarities that link us all are revealed.

Honorable Mentions
  1. A Galaxy of Sea Stars - In this heartfelt middle-grade novel, Izzy’s quiet beach town life is upended when a new friendship with a Muslim girl teaches her about acceptance, respect, and being true to what is right. Izzy is starting sixth grade, and she wants her dad to act like he did before he was deployed to Afghanistan. She wants her mom to move back to the marina where they live. Most of all, she wants Piper, Zelda, and herself—the Sea Star Posse—to stay best friends. But everything changes when Izzy’s father invites his former interpreter’s family, including twelve- year-old Sitara, to move in. Izzy doesn’t know what to make of Sitara, with her hijab and refusal to eat cafeteria food, and her presence disrupts the Sea Star Posse. But as Izzy and Sitara grow closer, Izzy must make a choice: stay in her comfort zone and risk betraying her new friend, or speak up and lose the Sea Star Posse forever. A Galaxy of Sea Stars is about family, loyalty, and the hard choices we face in the name of friendship.

  2. A Blinding Light - The First World War is raging, and anti-German prejudice is rampant. Maddie and Will Schroeder are mourning the loss of their father, but their German heritage doesn’t merit much sympathy. On the morning of December 6, there’s a flash of light, then thunder underground: the Halifax Explosion hits. Instantly, the city is unrecognizable. Lost in the destroyed city, how will the siblings find each other? Exploring concepts of guilt, blame and the divide between locals and immigrants, A Blinding Light will hold readers spellbound. Teachers and parents will find plenty of topics for discussion in the book’s historical and cultural lessons.

Books About Immigration And Emigration and America

The Crossroads
Written by Alexandra Diaz
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Jaime and Ángela discover what it means to be living as undocumented immigrants in the United States in this timely sequel to the Pura Belpré Honor Book The Only Road. After crossing Mexico into the United States, Jaime Rivera thinks the worst is over. Starting a new school can’t be that bad. Except it is, and not just because he can barely speak English. While his cousin Ángela fits in quickly, with new friends and after-school activities, Jaime struggles with even the idea of calling this strange place “home.” His real home is with his parents, abuela, and the rest of the family; not here where cacti and cattle outnumber people, where he can no longer be himself—a boy from Guatemala. When bad news arrives from his parents back home, feelings of helplessness and guilt gnaw at Jaime. Gang violence in Guatemala means he can’t return home, but he’s not sure if he wants to stay either. The US is not the great place everyone said it would be, especially if you’re sin papeles—undocumented—like Jaime. When things look bleak, hope arrives from unexpected places: a quiet boy on the bus, a music teacher, an old ranch hand. With his sketchbook always close by, Jaime uses his drawings to show what it means to be a true citizen. Powerful and moving, this touching sequel to The Only Road explores overcoming homesickness, finding ways to connect despite a language barrier, and discovering what it means to start over in a new place that alternates between being wonderful and completely unwelcoming.

Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy
Written by Richard Michelson & illustrated by Edel Rodriguez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

A moving biography of the late Leonard Nimoy, the iconic Spock from Star Trek, whose story exemplifies the American experience and the power of pursuing your dreams.

My Family Divided
Written by Diane Guerrero & illustrated by Erica Moroz
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Guerrero, the star of “Orange Is the New Black” and “Jane the Virgin, “ presents her personal story in this middle-grade memoir about her parents’ deportation and the nightmarish struggles of undocumented immigrants and their American children. Photos.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Sadiq and the Green Thumbs - Even though it is summer Sadiq goes to religious school four days a week to study the Quran; he and his friends find their teacher, Mr. Kassim, strict and intimidating, but when Sadiq finds out that Mr. Kassim has a injured shoulder he decides to volunteer to help with the gardening—and he convinces his friends to volunteer as well.

  2. Dumpling Dreams - “The story of how Joyce Chen, a girl born in Communist China, immigrated to the United States and popularized Chinese cooking.”—

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