Our actions as parents, teachers, and friends matter. I believe deep in my heart that books can change lives, that stories bring awareness and empathy, that feeling heard leads to wanting to listen. I am proud to work for a school district that protects all students' rights to attend public school, and has a board policy protecting undocumented students.
Here are some books I recommend sharing, that help readers understanding the experience of children who had to migrate for their safety and well-being. This is a mix of picture books and novels; some are better for younger children (ages 5-8) while others are suited for older children (ages 9-10).
- Drita, My Homegirl, by Jenny Lombard -- this short novel brings readers into the life of a young girl trying to make new friends after she flees from her war-torn home in Kosovo
- Enchanted Air, by Margarita Engle -- memoir told in verse, about a growing up with a family torn in two when the US broke relations with Cuba during the Cold War
- From North to South, by Rene Colato Lainez -- a moving picture book about a young boy's trip to visit his mother, after she is sent back to Mexico because she did not have the proper immigration papers
- Home of the Brave, by Katherine Applegate -- a spare, moving novel in verse about Kek, a young Somali refugee, as he tries to adjust to his new life in Minnesota
- The Journey, by Francesca Sanna -- a picture book that captures the current refugee crisis, as it shows a young child's escape from a war-torn home by boat, based on a compilation of immigrant interviews
- Mama's Nightingale, by Edwidge Danticat -- important, poignant picture book of a young girl's grief and coping when she is separated from her mother who has been taken to an immigration detention center
- Migrant: The Journey of a Mexican Worker, by Jose Manuel Mateo -- powerful picture book for older readers, telling the story of a boy who immigrates to the United States. One long illustration folds out, reminiscent of ancient Mexican codices.
- My Two Blankets, by Irene Kobald -- sweet picture book sharing the experience of a young girl immigrating to a new land, struggling to make sense of the language and make friends in a new place
- The Only Road, by Alexandra Diaz -- a middle grade novel, following two cousins who flee gang-infested Guatemala, crossing Mexico by foot, bus, and train before finally reaching the United States
- The Red Pencil, by Andrea Davis Pinkney -- a powerful novel in verse about a Sudanese girl who must flee her home when it is attacked during the Sudanese Civil War
©2017 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books