Read a book about immigration/emigration.
June 1, 2021
Books are one of the best ways to learn about another culture—and even our own culture. We’ve gathered together a list of books, both fiction and non-fiction, written by and about immigrants looking to share their stories.
This list is part of the 2021 Adult Summer Reading program.
American Like Me
Reflections on Life Between Cultures
Presents a collection of first person accounts from prominent figures—including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, Roxane Gay and many more—about the experience of growing up between cultures.
The Bad Muslim Discount
Syed M. Masood
A homesick Pakistani immigrant chafing against the strictures of his family’s new devout Muslim life in California and a young woman who barely escaped war-torn Baghdad upend their community in the aftermath of a fateful chance encounter.
Behold the Dreamers
Two marriages, one immigrant working class and the other from the top one percent, are shaped by financial circumstances, infidelities, secrets and the 2008 recession.
The Boat People
A debut novel about a thirty-five-year-old Sri Lankan refugee who has survived the harrowing experiences of civil war, a prison camp, and a perilous ocean voyage to Canada—but his journey has only begun, as he and his young son navigate the morass of the refugee system.
Bride of the Sea
How can she exist between parents, between countries? This question lies at the heart of Eman Quotah’s spellbinding debut about colliding cultures, immigration, religion, and family; an intimate portrait of loss and healing, and, ultimately, a testament to the ways we find ourselves inside love, distance, and heartbreak
Call Me American
Abdi Nor Iftin
A young Somalian, who learned English through American pop culture uses his skills to post secret dispatches to the Internet and NPR after a radical Islamist group comes to power and until he finally wins a visa lottery to emigrate.
A Dream Called Home
Describes the author’s early experiences as a first-generation Latina university student and aspiring writer who navigated racism and poverty to build a life for her family.
Describes one Honduran boy’s difficult and dangerous journey to find his mother, who had made the trek northward to the United States in search of a better life when Enrique had been five years old, but who had never made enough money to return home for her children, in a poignant account that addresses the issues of family and the implications of illegal immigration.
The Far Away Brothers
Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life
A chronicle of contemporary immigration follows the journey of a pair of teenaged twins from El Salvador who were forced by gang violence to seek safety and a better life in the United States.
The Girl Who Smiled Beads
A Story of War and What Comes After
Traces the author’s harrowing experiences as a young child during the Rwanda massacres and displacements, which separated her from her parents and forced the author and her older sister to endure six years as refugees in seven countries, foraging for survival and encountering unexpected acts of cruelty and kindness before she was granted asylum in a profoundly different America.
Given a chance to resume a deferred dream years after raising her troubled siblings, Isma worries about the influence of a powerful politician’s son who drives the family to choose between love and loyalty, with devastating consequences.
A deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams, Homeland Elegies blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque novel, at its heart it is the story of a father, a son, and the country they both call home
Patriot Number One
American Dreams in Chinatown
A portrait of the Chinese immigrant community in Flushing, Queens, offers insights into how their experiences in China and America have reflected and transformed the American dream.
An Iranian girl who escaped to America as a child grows up through 20 transformative years from a confused immigrant to an overachieving Westerner, before the plight of refugees in Europe compels the girl to save her father.
A follow-up to the best-selling Homegoing finds a sixth-year PhD candidate grappling with the childhood faith of the evangelical church in which she was raised while researching the science behind the suffering that has devastated her Ghanaian immigrant family.
The Ungrateful Refugee
What Immigrants Never Tell You
The award-winning author of Refuge draws on first-person testimonies in an urgent portrait of the refugee crisis that reveals how it happened and the harmful ways that Western governments respond to the inhumane conditions refugees endure.
Welcome to the New World
Jake Halpern, Michael Sloan
Delivered with warmth and intimacy, Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan’s Welcome to the New World is a wholly original view of the immigrant experience, revealing not only the trials and successes of one family but showing the spirit of a town and a country, for good and bad.