Sunday, January 29, 2017

Expect Resistance: We Welcome All Immigrants (booklist for ages 5-10)

I find myself swimming in a sea of anger, concern and doubt--reading the news about Trump's abuse of executive privilege, banning refugees, Muslims and more from entering the country. I am heartened by the response from around the nation, and feel compelled to add my voice. My teens marched in the Women's Marches, and my daughter's sign sums up my feelings:
"Respect existence or expect resistance." I'm so proud of my daughter for demanding to be heard, focusing on the positive, staking her claim. Respect, reflect, resist. This is not the time to sit idly by.

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
Thank you for sharing and standing strong. We must use our voices to say that all are welcome. We will not stand for rules that discriminate immigration policies based on religion or race. We will not separate families. We will protect our students. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2017 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books


  1. I love your choices, Mary Ann. May I also suggest How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz?

    1. Yes, thank you for reminding me of this book. Also meant to include the Journey that Saved Curious George. A new book I'm looking forward to reading is We Are Like the Clouds by San Francisco poet Jorge Argueta. Have you read this yet?

  2. Fabulous list of books and I would add Stepping Stones to the list.

    1. Thank you so much. Yes, I'm really looking forward to reading this one.