This year in English we have really been focused on learning about others. Others whose life experience may be so very different from our own. Others who have so much to teach us. Others who some may tell us to fear. So our collection of chapter books and books have grown with a focus on breaking down biases and broadening understanding. I, therefore, thought that it would be helpful for others to see which books have helped us do just that. Many of these books have been on other lists that I have posted, but there are a few new ones.
La Frontera / The Border: El viaje con papá/ My Journey With Papa by Deborah Mills (Author), Alfredo Alva (Contributor), Claudia Navarro (Contributor)
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
Spectacularly Beautiful: A Refugee’s Story by Lisa Lucas (Author), Laurie Stein (Illustrator)
Marwan’s Journey by Patricia de Arias (Author), Laura Borràs (Illustrator)
Teacup by Rebecca Young (Author), Matt Ottley (Illustrator)
Gleam and Glow by Eve Bunting (Author), Peter Sylvada (Illustrator)
The Treasure Box by Margaret Wild (Author), Freya Blackwood (Illustrator)
A Different Pond by Bao Phi (Author), Thi Bui (Illustrator)
Fish for Jimmy: Inspired by One Family’s Experience in a Japanese American Internment Camp by Katie Yamasaki (Author)
Me And My Fear by Francesca Sanna (Author)
The Dress and the Girl by Camille Andros (Author), Julie Morstad (Illustrator)
Tomorrow by Nadine Kaadan (Author, Illustrator)
The Day War Came by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb is a picture book about when war comes to the life of a child. It is a beautiful reminder of the the normalcy before war.
After the war comes to Sarajevo a young boy finds beauty among the ruins in this picture book by John McCutcheon and Kristy Caldwell.
Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams & Khadra Mohammed, illustrated by Doug Chayka tells the story of life in a refugee camp and two young girls who share shoes.
Brothers in Hope by Mary Williams and R. Gregory Christie features the story of two of the lost boys of Sudan. Powerful discussion starter about hope, perseverance, and the reality of war.
Lost and Found Cat by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes, illustrated by Sue Cornelison tells the true story of a family who loses their family cat as the must leave their home and travel to safety through Europe.
What’s in a name? As educators, we know the inherent power of pronouncing a child’s name correctly to make them feel accepted and included. This picture book from 2009 shares the story of Sangoel, a refugee from Sudan, and what happens when he comes to America. A must add as we try to break down walls and build understanding for others in our classrooms.
One of the most powerful picture books to be published in 2016, The Journey is about a family as they flee from war and the decisions they have to make as they search for safety. Beautifully illustrated this picture book packs a punch.
Also a picture book about a family that has to leave their country in search of safety, the artwork is all done by stone. With both English and Arabic text, I am so grateful for the vision of this picture book.
Why would a child set out on foot toward America, knowing that there were thousands of miles filled with danger ahead of them? This picture book illustrates the journey that more than 100,000 children have taken as they try to reach safety in the United States. Told in poetry, this picture book helps us understand something that can seem inconceivable.
A Piece of Home written by Jeri Watts and illustrated by Hyewon Yum
Fitting in. Feeling lost. Appreciate differences. What happens when a family chooses to move to the US and all of a sudden does not fit in anymore?
The Name Jar by Yanksook Choi (Having a name that no one pronounces correctly in the USA really makes me love this book even more).
Sharing the story of Oskar, a young boy who has escaped the horror of the Jewish persecution in Germany and arrives in America with only a photograph and an address of an aunt he has never met. He must make his way through the streets of NYC, but rather than being afraid, he sees the blessings he meets along the way. Another must add as we discuss refugees, and not being afraid of others in our classrooms.
Taken from his own life; this story of having to hide in a planetarium as the government looks for his activist father is one sure to get students talking. What happens when you speak up but the government does not want you to. Reminding us that even when it is scary, we should still stand up for what is right, and sharing the story of why some people have to flee, this is another must-add to your collection.
In The Seeds of Friendship by Michael Foreman a boy is not sure how to make a connection with others. That is until he is given seeds and he has an idea of how to make this new gray city more like home.
What happens when a father and his young daughter set out toward the border? In
by Warren St. John. This story of a how a youth soccer team changed attitudes of a southern town is a great conversation starter. What are the biases we have and how can find our similarities rather than our differences?
This list wouldn’t be complete without the Newbery-winning Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. Following a Vietnamese family as they re-settle in the United States, this book is a powerful invitation into how we treat others.
All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg is another free-verse novel that follows the story of Matt Pin, a Vietnamese child brought to the US during the Vietnam War. The story follows him as he tries to make sense of his own past while being confronted by the past of others.
This Global Read Aloud contender for 2017 packs a powerful punch. Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate follows Kek as he comes to the US without his mother after fleeing the Civil War in his home country. This free-verse book is one that will resonate with many children.
A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park is one of those books that sticks with you for a long time after yea read. Based on the true story of Salva and his experience as a Lost Boy of Sudan, whenever students read this book they inevitably have more questions and these questions always lead to a broader understanding of the world and more empathy toward others.
Alan Gratz wrote Refugee to help us see the similarities between the past and now. This is the official Global read Aloud book for middle school for 2018.
For more books, many I have not yet discovered myself, go here:
5 thoughts on “Books That Teach Us About the Experience of Refugees, Migrants, and Immigrants”
Lost and Found Cat is just a perfect as it looks! Have you seen My Beautiful Birds, by Suzanne Del Rizzo? Another must-own!
Hi Leslie, Next time you need to put in a book order, here is a suggestion for books.
On Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 10:31 AM, WordPress.com wrote:
> Pernille Ripp posted: “This year in English we have really been focused on > learning about others. Others whose life experience may be so very > different from our own. Others who have so much to teach us. Others who > some may tell us to fear. So our collection of chapter books ” >
I have My Journey and Stepping Stones, but I’m curious…if you had to pick two or three favorite pictures books outside of these two, which would they be? I want to add a few to my collection. Without holding them in my own hands and reading them, they all look great, so I’d love to go by your recommendation.