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Book Reviews

Enrique's Journey

Author: Sonia Nazario

Sonia Nazario, a Los Angeles Times reporter researched the migration of children in a series of articles which won the Pulitzer Prize and inspired the writing of "Enrique's Journey." Nazario humanizes unaccompanied minors and informs readers of the realities of their incredibly dangerous journeys. “Enriques Journey” not just the story of Enrique, a teenager from Honduras but also explores the reasons families decide to make these dangerous choices and the underreported realities of the dangers. Nazario retraces Enriques steps to reunite with his mother who left to work in the US and send money back to Enrique when he was 5 years old. Her promise to return never happened and Enrique made the decision to make the journey including “el tren de la muerte”, the train of death. The book recounts Enriques journey as well as his fellow passengers who are trying to avoid robbery, assault, and death. Stories illustrate the horrors of other young migrants. Nazarios journalistic style engages readers while informing them with real facts. A new version for young readers was recently released. The new version still gut-wrenching and impossible to put down is toned down from the original version and more suitable for Junior High students.

Year Released: 2014

Green Card Stories

Author: Introduction by Laura Danielson and Stephen Yale-Loehr, Stories by Saundra Amrhein, Photographs by Ariana Lindquist

The American Immigration Council is proud to support the publication of Green Card Stories. Green Card Stories (due to be printed in November 2011) is an incredible tribute to the diverse backgrounds that make up our immigrant population in America today. The American Immigration Council’s mission is to “strengthen America by honoring our immigrant history by shaping how Americans think about and act towards immigration now and in the future” and we can’t think of a better way to further our mission than through this beautiful and touching book.

Not only can you pre-order books for yourself, your office, family members, clients, etc. you can also pre-order a book to donate to your local school, library or community center or you can donate a book to one of the Council’s designated “hot spots” where education on immigration is needed most. Could your Member of Congress use a thank you or a gentle reminder of who our immigrant population is? Donate a copy of Green Card Stories to a Congressional office. All donated books will be delivered free of charge with a note indicating your generous gift.

To get a preview of the book, check out this slideshow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Year Released: 2011

High School-Adult

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The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens

Author: Brooke Hauser

The New Kids is specifically set in Brooklyn, New York at the International School at Prospect Heights. Yet, the reader travels around the world through Hauser’s retelling of certain students’ lives. The students at Prospect Heights are as different as day and night, but they all have something in common: they’re recent immigrants to the US who couldn’t receive an education anywhere else. This book explores the hardships of a select few of these students’ lives and gives the reader a more comprehensive understanding about immigration. This book allows the reader to understand the horrid and repressive conditions that people face in some countries. Hauser shows the reader what people do to obtain freedom.

The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens

Year Released: 2012

Grades 8-Adult

From Every End of This Earth: 13 Families and the New Lives They Made in America

Author: Steven V. Roberts

Roberts, a journalist by trade and talented story teller by passion, paints the lives of 13 families by retelling their stories in a way that captures the essence of their journeys to the United States as well as their journeys to becoming Americans.  Roberts eloquently breaks down many of the myths surrounding immigrants by sharing stories of men, women and children who had to leave so much behind by emigrating.  The book is divided into sections, The Survivors, The International Entrepreneurs, The Business Owners, The Professionals, and The Women.  The characters and their stories give many  fresh perspectives on the issue of immigration.

Year Released: 2009
Grades 9-Adult

From Every End of This Earth: 13 Families and the New Lives They Made in America

Toward A Better Life

Author:  Peter Coan

Coan's collection of 'new beginning' stories captures the spirit of new Americans.  Each story frames a different period of history but the drive, dreams, passion and pride of the subjects hasn't changed over time. Immigrants often leave so much behind in order to bring so much forward.  The author organized the stories by decade and included a background of each era.  With the perfect dose of history the book moves forward and the readers will feel like they get to know the storytellers. This book is the perfect companion to any educator who is teacing their students about immigration to the United States because it puts both the historic and contemporary issues of immigration into perspective.

Year released: 2011
Grades 7-Adult

Zeitoun

Author: Dave Eggers

During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans resident Abdulrahman Zeitoun decided to stay behind and care for his properties as well as those of his many clients. After immigrating to the United States from his native Syria, Zeitoun founded a successful painting and home repair company, married an American, and was raising four children in New Orleans. After a series of unfortunate events Zeitoun was arrested by the Department of Homeland Security and denied many rights during the chaos following the storm. Being Muslim post September 11, Zeitoun was confronted by officers he thought were approaching him to help, but instead found himself led at gunpoint, profiled as a terrorist and put into a makeshift prison until he was transferred to the local Federal Prison. Dave Eggers’ national best selling depiction of this hardworking man’s mistaken identity and his wife’s commitment to get him back are a must-read.

Year Released: 2010

Grades 6-Adult

Zeitoun

The Day of the Pelican

The Day of the Pelican
Author: Katherine Paterson

The author of Bridge to Terabithia provides a wonderful addition to any middle school classroom with The Day of the Pelican.  This historical fiction novel tells the story of a girl and her family and their struggle to survive the turbulent conflict between the Serbs and Kosovars in the 1990’s. Paterson accurately portrays many of the events of the Serbian/Kosovo War in a voice that young readers will find captivating. The author was inspired by the stories of a refugee family her church sponsored.  This example could lead young writers to explore the journeys of immigrants in their own communities.

Year Released: 2009
Grades 5-8

 

Strange Parents

Author: Julia Mercedes Castilla

Immigration often separates families and often children are left behind while parents go to find work and a better life.  What happens to these children when they are reunited with parents that they’ve never really known?  Castilla addresses many of these issues and explores the predicaments so many young people are faced with when they reconnect with parents they barely remember.  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 school or high school classroom.

Year Released: 2009
Grades 6-9

Strange Parents

Inside Out and Back Again

Author: Thanhha Lai

Written in verse this poetic narrative captures the tale of a young refugee fleeing Saigon after the Vietnam War.  With her father presumed dead, Ha-the protagonist and storyteller, her mother and brothers resettle in the deep south of the United States.  The prose captures the emotions of the young girl as she overcomes the hurdles of leaving so much behind and confronting discrimination, bullying, and many unknowns.  The book parallels many of the perils today’s immigrants have to face and gives the readers opportunities to empathize with Ha and her family.  Inside Out & Back Again is highly recommended for the YA audience.

 

Year Released: 2011
Grades: 5-8

Inside Out and Back Again

Journey of Dreams

Author: Marge Pellegrino

Pellegrino illustrates an authentic story of a family during the armed conflict in Guatemala. Tomasa, a thirteen year old girl, flees with her two brothers and father from military destruction in the Guatemalan highlands in the 1980s. They travel through Guatemala to Mexico City and across the border into Arizona, where Tomasa’s mother and oldest brother await them. Tomasa's journey gives you a taste of a Guatemalan highland culture through the folktales her father tells every night, the words used in Quiché (an American Indian language of the Mayan family), and Tomasa’s weavings. This is a heart felt journey of a young girl trying to stay positive and optimistic for her younger brothers, while burying her own emotions after seeing her mountain village in flames.

Year Released: 2009
Grades 5-8

Journey of Dreams