Books to Help Kids Understand the Immigrant Experience

Captivating stories of the immigrant and refugee experience can help kids understand what people go through when they move to a new country and start new lives. These novels and memoirs can help build empathy among readers, and kids from immigrant families can see reflections of their own struggles and triumphs. You can also check out our list of books about racism and social justice.

Browse Books to Help Kids Understand the Immigrant Experience

Dreamers Book Poster Image
Gorgeous, joyous book about immigrant mom and child.
By Yuyi Morales
(2018)
(2018)
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Mamá the Alien/Mamá la Extraterrestre Book Poster Image
A fun, bilingual take on being a documented immigrant.
By René Colato Laínez
(2016)
(2016)
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Yo Soy Muslim: A Father's Letter to His Daughter Book Poster Image
Poetic call to be proud of your heritage in a diverse world.
By Mark Gonzales
(2017)
(2017)
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Islandborn Book Poster Image
Vibrant memories of Caribbean island celebrate heritage.
By Junot Díaz
(2018)
(2018)
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This Is Me: A Story of Who We Are and Where We Came From Book Poster Image
Fun look at immigration celebrates bringing items from home.
By Jamie Lee Curtis
(2016)
(2016)
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Where Will I Live? Book Poster Image
Moving book about child refugees brought to life by photos.
By Rosemary McCarney
(2017)
(2017)
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The Day War Came Book Poster Image
Poignant but haunting story of child refugee offers hope.
By Nicola Davies
(2018)
(2018)
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A Different Pond Book Poster Image
Exquisitely tender family story of Vietnamese refugees.
By Bao Phi
(2017)
(2017)
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Ruby Lu Series Book Poster Image
Spirited Ruby faces changing family, friends in fun series.
By Lenore Look
(2016)
(2004)
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Ambassador Book Poster Image
Complex adventure mixes immigration issues, space travel.
By William Alexander
(2014)
(2014)
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Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain Book Poster Image
Historic immigration station comes alive in photos, poems.
By Russell Freedman
(2014)
(2013)
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The Arrival Book Poster Image
Wordless immigrant story is a visual masterpiece.
By Shaun Tan
(2007)
(2007)
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A Faraway Island Book Poster Image
Moving story of Jewish sisters living as refugees in Sweden.
By Annika Thor
(2010)
(2009)
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The Girl in the Torch Book Poster Image
Immigrant girl braves early 1900s NYC in tale of resilience.
By Robert Sharenow
(2015)
(2015)
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The Only Road Book Poster Image
Harrowing, heartfelt tale of Central American teen refugees.
By Alexandra Diaz
(2016)
(2016)
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A Crack in the Sea Book Poster Image
Unusual mix of history and fantasy makes an engrossing read.
By H. M. Bouwman
(2017)
(2017)
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Esperanza Rising Book Poster Image
Historical fiction at its best in story of '30s farmworkers.
By Pam Munoz Ryan
(2011)
(2000)
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Illegal Book Poster Image
Graphic novel paints harrowing picture of refugee crisis.
By Andrew Donkin, Eoin Colfer
(2018)
(2018)
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Inside Out and Back Again Book Poster Image
Inspiring, educational immigrant story told in free verse.
By Thanhha Lai
(2011)
(2011)
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It Ain't So Awful, Falafel Book Poster Image
Relatable story of Iranian girl in U.S. who wants to fit in.
By Firoozeh Dumas
(2016)
(2016)
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Refugee Book Poster Image
Harrowing page-turner sheds light on child refugees.
By Alan Gratz
(2017)
(2017)
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Return to Sender Book Poster Image
Intense story about illegal immigration and friendship.
By Julia Alvarez
(2009)
(2009)
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Shooting Kabul Book Poster Image
Life and 9/11 through lens of 11-year-old Afghan immigrant.
By N. H. Senzai
(2011)
(2011)
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Theodore Boone: The Fugitive Book Poster Image
Suspenseful installment explores death penalty, immigration.
By John Grisham
(2015)
(2015)
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The Weight of Water Book Poster Image
Moving free-verse tale of immigrant girl's new life in UK.
By Sarah Crossan
(2013)
(2013)
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A Long Walk to Water Book Poster Image
Touching take on Lost Boys of Sudan, based on true story.
By Linda Sue Park
(2013)
(2010)
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Jumping Off to Freedom Book Poster Image
Harrowing journey of family fleeing Cuba on a raft.
By Anilu Bernardo
(2003)
(1996)
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The Red Pencil Book Poster Image
Moving verse tale of girl's experience in Darfur genocide.
By Andrea Davis Pinkney
(2014)
(2014)
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Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings Book Poster Image
Poignant memoir-in-verse recalls Cuban-American's childhood.
By Margarita Engle
(2015)
(2015)
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Like No Other Book Poster Image
Cross-cultural teen love story is heartfelt, enlightening.
By Una LaMarche
(2014)
(2014)
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The Maldonado Miracle Book Poster Image
Gripping story of Mexican boy who migrates to U.S. alone.
By Theodore Taylor
(2003)
(2003)
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My Antonia Book Poster Image
Writing shines in pioneer saga of friendship and struggle.
By Willa Cather
(2010)
(2011)
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Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina Book Poster Image
Ballerina's frank, inspiring tale of perseverance and hope.
By Michaela DePrince
(2015)
(2014)
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Something in Between Book Poster Image
Teen romance inspires empathy for immigrants.
By Melissa de la Cruz
(2016)
(2016)
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Hooper Book Poster Image
Poignant tale of Polish immigrant teen's struggle to fit in.
By Geoff Herbach
(2018)
(2018)
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The Joy Luck Club Book Poster Image
Sweeping story of bicultural mother-daughter friction.
By Amy Tan
(2010)
(1989)
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The Sun Is Also a Star Book Poster Image
Beautiful and philosophical love story is deeply moving.
By Nicola Yoon
(2016)
(2016)
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The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts Book Poster Image
Provocative memoir blends history with legend.
By Maxine Hong Kingston
(2011)
(1975)
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