Books Essential to Teaching the Immigrant Experience-Middle School

A Listmania! list by American Immigration Council's Community Education Center "American Immigration Council" (Washington, DC)
 
How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay (The Tia Lola Stories)
1.  How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay (The Tia Lola Stories) by Julia Alvarez
The list author says:
  "When Miguelís crazy Tia Lola comes to visit from the Dominican Republic, he instantly knows that his life is never going to be the same."
$6.29   Used & New from: $0.01
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Ashes of Roses
2.  Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch
The list author says:
  "The reading level makes this book appropriate for middle-school students, while the interest-level makes it appropriate for high-school students as well.  TESOL students may recognize parts of the story that are familiar even to modern-day immigrants and therefore this novel may also work well for high-level TESOL students."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Lupita Manana (Harper Trophy Books)
3.  Lupita Manana (Harper Trophy Books) by Patricia Beatty
The list author says:
  "Following family tragedy in Mexico, Lupita and her brother, Salvador, illegally smuggle themselves into the United States, in order to find work supporting their mother and siblings.  Lupita soon discovers that America is not necessarily the land of hope and opportunity that she had expected."
$5.99   Used & New from: $0.01
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

The Journey That Saved Curious George : The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey
4.  The Journey That Saved Curious George : The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey by Louise Borden
The list author says:
  "Louise Bordenís fascinating account of the journey, the authors of Curious George made when the Nazis invaded France."
$14.71   Used & New from: $0.01
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

Mai Ya's Long Journey (Badger Biographies Series)
5.  Mai Ya's Long Journey (Badger Biographies Series) by Sheila Cohen
The list author says:
  "This true story of a young Hmong girl and her familyís journey from a refugee camp in Thailand to life in Madison, Wisconsin."
$10.96   Used & New from: $0.01
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

First Person Fiction
6.  First Person Fiction by Minfong Ho
The list author says:
  "Twelve-year-old Nakri and her family live comfortably and happily in Phnom Penh until their lives are forever altered by the civil war in Cambodia. After years of deprivation and loss, Nakri is reunited with members of her family, only to be forced to move again, first to refugee camps in Thailand and finally to a new life in America."
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5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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We Are Americans: Voices Of The Immigrant Experience
7.  We Are Americans: Voices Of The Immigrant Experience by Thomas Hoobler
The list author says:
  "We Are Americans is a coffee table book for the classroom, presenting the history of American immigration. Using archival images, artifacts, data charts, and personal narratives, the book explores the factors responsible for immigration, the hopes of immigrants, the hardships of the journey, and adjustments to a new culture, as well as the contributions these new Americans made to our nation."
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4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Living as a Refugee in America: Mohammed's Story (Children in Crisis)
8.  Living as a Refugee in America: Mohammed's Story (Children in Crisis) by Helen Howard
The list author says:
  "Living as a Refugee in America weaves Mohammedís  discusses the plight of refugees driven by war and famine across the world.  This non-fiction book contains a glossary of helpful vocabulary as well suggestions for how students can take action to help the displaced."
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5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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La Linea
9.  La Linea by Ann Jaramillo
The list author says:
  "The desperate story of Miguel and his younger sister Elena struggling to escape poverty in southern Mexico to join their parents in California is E.S.L. teacher Ann Jaramilloís first novel."
$8.49   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference
10.  Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference by Joanne Oppenheim
The list author says:
  "In telling the story of Clara Breed, the childrenís librarian of the San Diego Public Library and her devotion to the Japanese American children, once her patrons, who were incarcerated in prison camps during World War II, Joanne Oppenheim reminds us not only of a shameful and pain-filled chapter in American history, but also how as individuals we can often make a difference."
$17.03   Used & New from: $1.05
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

The Day of the Pelican
11.  The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson
The list author says:
  "This historical fiction novel tells the story of a girl and her family's struggle to survive the conflict between the Serbs and Kosovars in the 1990s in a style that young readers will find captivating. This example could lead young writers to explore the journeys of immigrants in their own communities."
$6.99   Used & New from: $0.01
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Ask Me No Questions
12.  Ask Me No Questions by Marina Tamar Budhos
The list author says:
  "Marina Budhos, a critically acclaimed author, does an amazing job at crafting this story so it captures a young readerís attention while explaining contemporary issues-such as the Patriot Act and controversial concepts-such as detention."
$9.18   Used & New from: $0.01
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Strange Parents
13.  Strange Parents by Julia Mercedes Castilla
The list author says:
  "Immigration often separates families and children are left behind while parents go to find work and a better life. The discussions this book triggers are endless and it is a great resource for exploring current issues. This is a must have for any diverse middle or high school classroom."
$9.95   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Africans In America (Immigration to the United States)
14.  Africans In America (Immigration to the United States) by Richard Worth
The list author says:
  "This book examines the history of Africans in America in the context of immigration. Students studying U.S. immigrant groups will benfit from this wonderful series.  All volumes include maps, interesting photographs, facts and a very useful glossary. High recommended!"
$31.50   Used & New from: $0.01
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Inside Out and Back Again
15.  Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
The list author says:
  "This poetic narrative captures the tale of a young refugee fleeing Saigon after the Vietnam War. The book parallels many of the perils todayís immigrants have to face and gives the readers opportunities to empathize. Inside Out & Back Again is highly recommended for the young adult audience."
$13.33   Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)

Journey of Dreams
16.  Journey of Dreams by Marge Pellegrino
The list author says:
  "This is a heart felt journey of a young girl trying to stay positive and optimistic, while burying her own emotions after seeing her mountain village in flames."
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4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Call Me Maria
17.  Call Me Maria by Judith Ortiz Cofer
The list author says:
  "Although sometimes lacking in focus, this would be a beautiful read aloud for any class examining the emotions of recent teenage immigrants, insight into life in the barrio as well as a comparison to life in Puerto Rico."
$5.71   Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

The Colors of Freedom (Social Studies, Cultures and People)
18.  The Colors of Freedom (Social Studies, Cultures and People) by Janet Bode
The list author says:
  "Author Janet Bode collected stories, poems and recipes from students and teachers around the country. The book reads like an American family album where names are changed but the experiences of immigrants frequently depict feelings of sacrifice, fear and ultimately hope."
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5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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First Person Fiction
19.  First Person Fiction by Ana Veciana-Suarez
The list author says:
  "The reading level and subject matter make this book appropriate for seventh through ninth grade and TESOL students. It would work well as reading for social studies and English in studies of culture, immigration, point of view and character development."
Used & New from: $1.40
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Memories of Sun : Stories of Africa and America
20.  Memories of Sun : Stories of Africa and America by Jane Kurtz
The list author says:
  "In Memories of Sun, we hear the stories of children who currently live in various parts of Africa, Americans living in or visiting Africa and Africans living in America. Students will find much to learn and relate to once they read these powerful stories."
Used & New from: $2.78
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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First Person Fiction: Behind the Mountains
21.  First Person Fiction: Behind the Mountains by Edwidge Danticat
The list author says:
  "Beautifully written by Edwidge Danticat, recognized by The New York Times as one of our best young writers, Behind The Mountains explores the themes of coming of age, family relationships, separation and reunification, as well as immigration and cultural identity."
$5.71   Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Escape from Saigon: How a Vietnam War Orphan Became an American Boy
22.  Escape from Saigon: How a Vietnam War Orphan Became an American Boy by Andrea Warren
The list author says:
  "This photo-essay from Long's emotional point of view is interspersed with just the right amount of history. Escape is ideal for middle and upper grade classrooms studying various immigration themes including lost heritage, poverty, separation and family relations."
Used & New from: $6.03
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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The Arrival
23.  The Arrival by Shaun Tan
The list author says:
  "In this wordless graphic novel, through magnificent illustrations, Tan captures the disorientation immigrants often feel towards their new surroundings. Both early readers and those more sophisticated will find this book interesting. It is an excellent conversation starter in any mainstream or ESL classroom."
$13.94   Used & New from: $6.59
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)

Finding My Hat (First Person Fiction)
24.  Finding My Hat (First Person Fiction) by John Son
The list author says:
  "The reading level and subject matter make this book appropriate for seventh through ninth grade and TESOL students. It would work well as reading for social studies and English in studies of culture, immigration, point of view, character development, and style."
$6.99   Used & New from: $0.01
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Blue Jasmine
25.  Blue Jasmine by Kashmira Sheth
The list author says:
  "Inspired by the author's own experiences, Blue Jasmine tells the story of a teenager who immigrates from a small town in India to a large American city. Since very little children's literature exists on the topic, this award winning book is a welcome addition to classroom libraries."
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3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Esperanza Rising
26.  Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
The list author says:
  "Teachers will appreciate the book's connections between the cultural, economic and political issues of California during the 1930's.Esperanza's struggles and her ability to rise above her difficulties will surely spark conversation within the classroom. This book is great as a link to exploring historical connections."
$5.71   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (582 customer reviews) | 3 customer discussions

Zayda Was a Cowboy
27.  Zayda Was a Cowboy by June Levitt Nislick
The list author says:
  "Nislick's book tells the story of her grandfather when he immigrated to America as part of the "Galveston Plan", an effort to bring Jewish immigrants to the western United States in the early 20th century."
$8.96   Used & New from: $0.01
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants
28.  First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants by Donald R. Gallo
The list author says:
  "First Crossing, a collection of ten first-person narratives, tells the stories of teenage immigrants to the United States and their struggles with self-doubt, social and linguistic isolation, racism, and family conflict. The reading level and subject matter of this book make it suitable for middle and high school students."
$8.49   Used & New from: $0.01
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Bento Box in the Heartland: My Japanese Girlhood in Whitebread America
29.  Bento Box in the Heartland: My Japanese Girlhood in Whitebread America by Linda Furiya
The list author says:
  "Bento Box in the Heartland is the coming-of-age story of a young girl's struggle to assimilate as the only Asian student in her Indiana school. Beautifully written, Bento Box in the Heartland is a fantastic collection of stories, recipes, and self-discovery."
$14.36   Used & New from: $1.18
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
30.  A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
The list author says:
  "Beah's beautifully written memoir tells a riveting story of fear, loss, violence, friendship and redemption in the historical backdrop of the civil war in Sierra Leone. The themes of this book are relevant to adolescents today and would spark fascinating class discussions."
$7.37   Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,115 customer reviews) | 3 customer discussions

Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy's Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard
31.  Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy's Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard by Mawi Asgedom
The list author says:
  "Of Beetles & Angels is an autobiographical memoir of a young man's journey to success. This is both an inspirational and positive immigration story highly recommended for teens and young adult's grades 6-high school."
Used & New from: $1.02
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

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American Born Chinese
32.  American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
The list author says:
  "American Born Chinese is a graphic novel that cleverly takes readers through a journey combining three storylines and three characters into one idea. Teachers will find the book surprisingly useful as a springboard for discussions about discrimination, tolerance, stereotyping and immigration."
$8.51   Used & New from: $6.33
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)

The Orphan Of Ellis Island (Time Travel Adventures)
33.  The Orphan Of Ellis Island (Time Travel Adventures) by Elvira Woodruff
$4.89   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

A Step From Heaven
34.  A Step From Heaven by An Na
The list author says:
  "A Step from Heaven is told through the eyes of Young Ju, a young Korean immigrant to the United States in a series of titled vignettes as she grows from preschooler to young woman. Appropriate for 8th grade and up."
$7.99   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)

Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna
35.  Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna by Joseph Lekuton
The list author says:
  "This is an autobiographical story about growing up on the African Savanna of Kenya and ultimately coming to America. This fantastic book encourages young readers to see that they can overcome their obstacles and create positive goals in life just as Lekuton did. Lekuton's storytelling is fantastic and will surely capture the attention of readers of all ages."
$6.43   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)

China Boy
36.  China Boy by Gus Lee
The list author says:
  "Lee's novel represents the vibrancy of the Asian-American immigrant experience through a thoroughly appealing protagonist and rich supporting characters."
$10.12   Used & New from: $0.01
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

Newcomers to America (In Their Own Words (Franklin Watts))
37.  Newcomers to America (In Their Own Words (Franklin Watts)) by Judith E. Greenberg
The list author says:
  "Newcomers to America is an engrossing collection of interviews and conversations that candidly introduce over a dozen immigrants who tell their tales of leaving home and coming to the United States. The interviews capture the adaptation to a new culture and language, steps taken toward gaining citizenship and hardships and successes. Good for 8th grade and high school classrooms."
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4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Memories of Survival
38.  Memories of Survival by Esther Nisenthal Krinitz
The list author says:
  "This is the remarkable autobiography of a Holocaust survivor's journey and life. Esther Krinitz exquisitely detailed embroideries make her remarkable story of survival unforgettably moving and provide an unusual way to tell middle grade students the story of the Holocaust."
$14.39   Used & New from: $9.52
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Try to Remember
39.  Try to Remember by Iris D. Gomez
$11.82   Used & New from: $1.83
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain (Caldecott Honor Book)
40.  The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain (Caldecott Honor Book) by Peter Sis
The list author says:
  "This is a story about Peter Sis and his creativity as well as the history of Prague from 1948 to when the Berlin wall fell in 1989. Colorful, unique illustrations contribute an extra layer of depth to the book.This book is recommended for middle and secondary school students."
$15.00   Used & New from: $2.68
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Author

American Immigration Council's Community Education Center "American Immigration Council" (Washington, DC)
Qualifications: Curriculum Center Manager for the American Immigration Council
Last updated: 7/14/11
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