To immigrate is to enter a foreign country to live there. To emigrate is to leave a country to live in another. Think of it this way: immigrating is to coming as emigrating is to going.
Uprooting one’s life and moving to a foreign land is rarely an easy process. Sometimes people move by choice, while other times they leave for their own safety. Once arrived, learning how to live in a new culture can be almost as difficult. Below are several stories of people who immigrated all over the world.
If you’re interested in finding more books about immigration and emigration, search the catalog using keywords such as “juvenile fiction” for fiction books, “juvenile literature” for nonfiction books, and an additional term such as “immigration,” “emigration,” or “refugees.”
America Border Culture Dreamer. 2018 (Nonfiction).
Eighteen immigrant teenagers define their experiences using the alphabet. In this unique approach to exploring immigration, each story is accompanied by an impactful photograph.
I’m an Immigrant Too! 2018 (Picture Book).
Set in Australia, this colorful book celebrates the diversity that immigrants bring to a new place and how they make communities wonderful. This joyful story is a fresh look at immigration from a non-American perspective.
Refugee. 2017 (Middle Grade Novel).
Intense and action-packed, this book is really three stories in one. Josef, a Jewish boy in 1930’s Nazi Germany, Isabel, a young girl living in Cuba in 1994 during great political unrest, and Mahmoud, a boy living in Syria in 2015 where the death count increases daily, all must flee their home countries for the safety of their families. While each story is different, every character experiences the same fear and uncertainty, making this a narrative that transcends decades.
Lorenzi, Natalie Dias
A Long Pitch Home. 2016 (Middle Grade Novel).
When Bilal leaves Pakistan to come to America, he finds it difficult to adjust. Speaking English is exhausting, cricket is definitely not the same as baseball, and he wishes more than anything that his father could move to America too. In this endearing tale, Bilal must learn to find his courage.
Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story. 2019 (Picture Book).
Based on a real immigrant’s experiences at Ellis Island, this story follows a young girl and her mother as they make their way to America. When her mother does not pass the health inspection, Gittel is forced to enter the country on her own, which becomes an even more frightening prospect when she realizes that she does not have the address of the cousin with whom she is supposed to stay!
[Q. S. N465gi]
Raúf, Onjali Q.
The Boy at the Back of the Class. 2019 (Middle Grade Novel).
Set in England, this book follows the story of new kid Ahmet, a nine-year-old refugee from Syria. Highlighting the power of an ally, Ahmet’s classmates work together to come up with a plan to help reunite him with his family.
Chee-Kee: A Panda in Bearland. 2017 (Picture book).
When Chee-kee moves to Bearland, he is worried that he will never fit in. He doesn’t know how to use a fork, or how to skateboard, and he prefers wearing hats to sunglasses. Soon, however, Chee-Kee finds that he might have more to offer than he realized.
The Arrival. 2007 (Graphic Novel).
This stunning and totally wordless graphic novel tells the story of a man who leaves his home to build a better future for his family. No specific countries are named, and the foreign is presented as totally foreign to both the man and the reader. This story captures the emotional highs and lows of an immigrant’s journey.
[Q. S.741.595 T153a]
The Little Tree. 2015 (Picture Book).
When a little tree realizes that her forest is becoming smaller and smaller, she sends her seed off with a bird friend in hopes that it may find a new forest and one day grow big and strong. Based on the author’s own mother, this heartwarming tale is both colorful and sweet.
Wallace, Sandra Neil and Wallace, Rich
First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great. 2018 (Nonfiction).
Giving brief biographies of immigrants and refugees from all over the world, this book explores the lives of many people who have helped shape their respective fields, as well as the United States in general. Included are famous figures such as Albert Einstein, as well as change-makers you may not have heard of before.
Weston, Robert Paul
Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms. 2018 (Picture Book).
Sakura loves spending springtime sitting underneath a tall cherry tree with Obaachan. When Sakura’s family moves from Japan to America, she worries she will never feel at home again. A beautiful tale of love and loss, this story is told entirely in Tanka, a style of poetry similar to haiku.