11 Books on Latin American Immigration and Migration

11 BOOKS onLatin American Immigration & (3)As media coverage has intensified around the events of children crossing the U.S. border, many educators and families are wondering, “What should we tell our students?” For some children, this may be the first time they are learning of these countries. But for many others, these events may involve their own heritage or depict their families’ experiences. Using books to talk about the recent events can be an opportunity to learn about a new region and help children see the cultures and people beyond these events.

We’ve put together a list of 11 books (many of which are bilingual English/Spanish) that teach about the emotional journey families and children must undertake along with the physical journey. These stories allow children to see each other and themselves in characters who are living life to the fullest and refusing to let any obstacle stand in their way.

Whether you are looking to explore the themes of the DREAM Act, learn more about the journey of one’s own family, or see America from a different angle, these books reveal the complexities, challenges, joys, and surprises of coming to a new place. Join these characters as they share their challenges and excitement in moving to a new culture and new school, helping their families adjust, and juggling their home culture with a new culture.

1. A Movie in My Pillow/ Una película en mi almohada

Poet Jorge Argueta evokes the wonder of his childhood in rural El Salvador, a touching relationship with a caring father, and his confusion and delight in his new urban home.

2. Amelia’s Road

Amelia longs for a beautiful white house with a fine shade tree in the yard, where she can live without worrying. In this inspirational tale, Amelia discovers the importance of putting her own roots down in a very special way.

 

3. First Day in Grapes

Chico and his family move up and down the state of California picking fruits and vegetables. Every September Chico starts at a new school again. Often other children pick on him, but Chico’s first day in third grade turns out to be different.

4. From North to South/ Del Norte al Sur

José loves helping Mama, but when Mama is sent back to Mexico for not having proper papers, José and his Papa face an uncertain future. Author René Colato Laínez tackles the difficult and timely subject of family separation with exquisite tenderness.

5. Home at Last

Ana Patino is adjusting well to her new life in the United States, but her mother is having a difficult time because she doesn’t speak English. After mama agrees to take English lessons, her sense of confidence and belonging grow.

6. My Diary from Here to There/ Mi diario de aqui hasta allá

Amada overhears her parents whisper of moving from Mexico to the other side of the border—to Los Angeles. As she and her family make their journey north, Amada records her fears, hopes, and dreams for their lives in the United States in her diary.

7. The Storyteller’s Candle/ La velita de los cuentos

The award-winning team of Lucia González and Lulu Delacre have crafted an homage to Pura Belpré, New York City’s first Latina librarian. Through Pura Belpré’s vision and dedication, the warmth of Puerto Rico comes to the island of Manhattan in a most unexpected way.

8. The Upside Down Boy/ El niño de cabeza

Juanito is bewildered by the new school and everything he does feels upside down. But a sensitive teacher and loving family help him to find his voice and make a place for himself in this new world.

9. When This World Was New

It is Danilito’s first day in America and he is scared. He has heard that some Americans are not friendly to foreigners. In addition, he does not speak any English. Danilito’s worries disappear when Papa leads him on a magical trip of discovery.

10. Xochitl and the Flowers/ Xóchitl, la Niña de las Flores

Miles away from their home in El Salvador, Xochitl and her family make a new home in the United States, but nothing is the same. It is not until her family decides to start a flower nursery in its backyard that Xochitl begins to learn the true value of community in their adopted country.

11. Calling the Doves/ El canto de las palomas

Poet Juan Felipe Herrera shares the story of his migrant farmworker childhood. The farmworker road was the beginning of his personal road to becoming a writer.

For further reading:

11 Educator Resources for Teaching Children About Latin American Immigration and Migration

Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

5 Comments

  1. Keira
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    A beautiful list of books for a difficult topic.

  2. Posted August 4, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Thank you for including my book, My Diary from Here to There on this list. I wonder why you didn’t include my other two books, My Very Own Room and Nana’s Big Surprise which also are about immigrants.

  3. jilleisenberg14
    Posted August 4, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Hi Amada-

    Thanks for asking! We wanted to create a diverse list of books with many different authors and approaches to the topic represented. This list is by no means exhaustive and there are lots of other excellent and moving titles about immigration and migration out there. We hope this list serves as a springboard for conversations, units of study, and discoveries of powerful stories exploring the unique experiences and universal themes of coming to America.

  4. Posted August 4, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for putting together this list!!

  5. jilleisenberg14
    Posted August 11, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Hi Nadia-

    Thank you so much! We recognize what an important opportunity this is to exchange ideas on how to teach children about new countries or a space to reflect on their own families’ experiences.


3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] an amazing week to see the response of last Sunday’s post and hear what many of you are facing, doing, and aspiring to in schools and communities. In […]

  2. […] Jill Eisenberg at Lee & Low Books also has clearly been thinking about it.  She’s scoured the internet and put together a fantastic list of free resources to help educators teach children about Latin American immigration and migration.  It’s such a great list of resources that we wanted to share it with you.  In addition, if this is something which interests you, we also advise checking out Jill’s other recent resource post about 11 Books on Latin American Immigration and Migration. […]

  3. […] is the Latino story, and it’s the human story since time started.” See additionally Eleven Books on Latin American Immigration and Migration from Lee & […]

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *
*
*

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,794 other followers

%d bloggers like this: