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Immigration and Family: Books For Kids

This list of the best kids books about immigration is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From Trial by Winter to Navid's Story there's something here for everyone's tastes. Do you have a favorite book about immigration? Let us know!

Trial by Winter book
#1
Trial by Winter
Written and 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?

A Different Pond book
#2
A Different Pond
Written by Bao Phi and 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.

Islandborn book
#3
Islandborn
Written by Junot Diaz and illustrated by Leo Espinosa
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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

Nowhere Boy book
#4
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.

Mango Moon book
#5
Mango Moon
Written by Diane De Anda and illustrated by Sue Cornelison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Juliane's Story book
#6
Juliane's Story
Written and illustrated by Andy Glynne
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-9

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.

Pie in the Sky book
#7
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.

Inside Out and Back Again book
#8
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.

Hamid's Story book
#9
Hamid's Story
Written and 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.

Ali's Story book
#10
Ali's Story
Written and illustrated by Andy Glynne
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-9

This is the real-life story of 10-year-old refugee Ali, who is forced to flee his home country of Afganistan with his grandmother. Told in Ali's words, this story documents the feelings of alienation, separation, and suffering war can place on immigrant children and their families. This story also shares the hope Ali and his family has to overcome their ordeals.

Navid's Story book
#11
Navid's Story
Written and illustrated by Andy Glynne
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-9

This is the real-life story of Kurdish Iranian refugee, Navid. Told in Navid's own words, the story describes the fear and uncertainty Navid and his mother feel after they are forced to flee Iran, as well as the long journey they endure to be reunited with Navid's father.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!