Here you can browse fiction and nonfiction titles for all ages. Books available through the library system are hyperlinked for easy access. Starred books are carried by Chillicothe Public Library as books, ebooks, and/or audiobooks. Click here to download the list.
OTHER BOOKS BY LUIS ALBERTO URREA
*The House of Broken Angels. 2018. The story of an American family. One that happens to speak Spanish and admire the Virgin of Guadalupe. Imperfect and glorious, messy and hilarious, sometimes heroic. Miguel Angel De La Cruz, aka “Big Angel,” is dying. The beloved and rapidly declining patriarch of the clan, he assembles his relatives for a final, epic birthday bash.
The Water Museum. 2015. A story collection that examines the borders between one nation and another, between one person and another; suffused with wanderlust, compassion, and no small amount of rock and roll.
The Hummingbird’s Daughter/La Hija de la Chuparrosa. 2005. Born of an illiterate, poor Indian mother, Teresita knows little about her past. When she discovers she has the power to heal, she finds that such a gift can be a burden, too, and must come to terms with her destiny, with the miraculous, with the power of faith, and with the sacrifice sometimes required by true love.
Queen of America. 2011. In this sequel to The Hummingbird’s Daughter, after a bloody rebellion, Teresita Urrea flees with her father to Arizona. Embarking on a journey through turn-of-the-century industrial America, she meets immigrants and tycoons, European royalty and Cuban poets, and must decide what her own role in this modern future will be.
Mr. Mendoza’s Paintbrush. Illus. Christopher Cardinale. 2010. Be careful growing up in the mango-sweet Mexican village of Rosario, where corpses rise up out of the cathedral walls during the floods; where vast silver mines occasionally collapse causing a whole section of the village to drop out of sight; where a man with a paintbrush is the town’s self-appointed conscience.
Six Kinds of Sky. 2002. In this poetic, witty, and compassionate story collection, Urrea draws strong characters and glittering landscapes, which warp and ennoble the human spirit.
In Search of Snow. 1994. In the hot Arizona desert of the late 1950s, Mike McGurk comes of age in one big, riotous gush. Trapped pumping gas at a desolate roadstop, he yearns for things he has never known: love, hope, and the soft, white calmness of snow. An explosive coming-of-age adventure, full of hilarious episodes and still, poignant moments.
*The Devil’s Highway. 2004. In May 2001, a group of 26 men attempted to cross the border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadliest region of the continent, a place called the Devil’s Highway. Twelve came back out. This is an almost surreal story of determination, betrayal, survival, brutality, and unexpected compassion.
Wandering Time: Western Notebooks. 1999. A luminous account of Urrea’s own search for healing and redemption. Driving cross-country with a cat named Rest Stop, Urrea wandered the West from one year’s Spring through the next. In mountains and forests he learned not only the names of trees—he learned how to live. His musings remind us all to experience the magic and healing of small gestures, ordinary people, and common creatures.
Nobody’s Son: Notes from an American Life. 1998. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and an Anglo mother from Staten Island, Urrea moved to San Diego when he was three. His childhood was a mix of opposites, a clash of cultures and languages. In prose that seethes with energy and crackles with dark humor, Urrea’s story is both troubling and wildly entertaining as he describes the struggle to claim his own personal and cultural identity.
By the Lake of Sleeping Children: The Secret Life of the Mexican Border. 1996. In 16 indelible portraits, Urrea illuminates the horrors and the simple joys of people trapped between the two worlds of Mexico and the United States—and ignored by both. This startling and memorable work of first-person reportage explores the border purgatory of garbage pickers and dump dwellers, gawking tourists and relief workers, fearsome coyotes and their desperate clientele.
Across the Wire: Life and Hard Times on the Mexican Border. 1993. A compelling and unprecedented look at life on the other side of the border. Despite the numbers of people crossing over to the U.S., hundreds more remain behind in abject poverty. Urrea worked closely with them and provides a compassionate and candid account of their lives.
The Tijuana Book of the Dead. 2015. Mixing lyricism and colloquial voices, mysticism and the daily grind, Urrea weaves English and Spanish languages as fluidly as he blends cultures of the southwest. He offers a tour of Tijuana, spanning from Skid Row, to the suburbs of East Los Angeles, to the stunning yet deadly Mojave Desert, to Mexico and the border fence itself.
Vatos. Photos by José Galvez. 2000. A unique collaboration of two acclaimed artists, Vatos is a tribute to Latino men: children playing in the streets, migrant workers toiling for a better life, homeboys in the barrio, young men with their girlfriends and their mothers, blue collar workers, activists on the streets, sons, uncles, fathers, and grandfathers. Vatos recognizes their joys, their sorrows, their tenderness and their strength.
Ghost Sickness. 1997. Urrea confronts head-on the ghosts and contradictions of his being—his father, a dark and crazy macho Mexicano who Luis admired and dreaded; his proud and lonely Anglo mother, so out of place in the heat of Tijuana; and the conflict of cultures and languages in his psyche.
The Fever of Being.
1994. This series of poems, some written entirely or partly in Spanish, range
in mood from comic to tragic and deal with life within the Hispanic-Anglo
Across a Hundred Mountains. By Reyna Grande. 2006. Winner of the American Book Award, Across a Hundred Mountains is a stunning and poignant novel about a young girl who leaves her small town in Mexico to find her father, who left his family to find work in America—a story of migration, loss, and discovery.
*The Arrival. By Shaun Tan. 2006. In this migrant story told as a series of wordless images, a man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country. Finding himself in a bewildering city, he tries to find his footing, helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history. (All ages)
*The Book of Unknown Americans. By Cristina Henriquez. 2014. The Riveras give up happy lives in Mexico to seek help for their brain-injured daughter and end up in a Delaware apartment building filled with Central and Latin American immigrants, each with a compelling story.
*The Border. By Don Winslow. 2019. The concluding volume in Winslow’s landmark Cartel Trilogy gives a heartbreaking human face to all aspects of the tragically misguided War on Drugs, from the never-ending gang violence, through U.S. immigration policy, to the hedge-fund operators and politicians who conspire to launder billions of Cartel cash.
The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez. By Aaron Bobrow-Strain. 2019. Taking U.S. into detention centers, immigration courts, and the inner lives of daring characters, this novel reveals the human consequences of militarizing a border. With emotional force and narrative suspense, it enters the heart of a violently unequal America and shows U.S. that the heroes of our current immigration wars are likely to be complex, flawed human beings who deserve justice and empathy all the same.
The Gringo Champion. By Aura Xilonen. Tr. by Andrea Rosenberg. 2017. In Xilonen’s spectacular debut, border-crosser Liborio, forced to flee violence in Mexico, finds salvation in the U.S., first working in a bookstore, then as a boxer.
The Guardians. By Ana Castillo. 2007. The transfixing voices of four characters tell a story of suffering and love along the U.S.-Mexico border in Castillo’s tightly coiled, shatteringly realistic, and dramatically mystical novel.
Lost Children Archive. By Valeria Luiselli. 2019. Luiselli’s potent novel follows wife-and-husband audio artists and their children as they travel to the Southwest to study Apache life and end up involved in the overwhelming crisis surrounding Latin American asylum seekers.
The Other Americans. By Laila Lalami. 2019. Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Lalami brings a timely and powerful novel about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant—at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture.
Borderlines: Drawing Border Lives/Fronteras: dibujando
las vidas fronterizas. 2012. Featuring 25
drawings in charcoal, conte crayons, and pastels, this handbook pairs portraits
of people who live and work along the U.S.–Mexico border with bilingual poems
inspired by each drawing. A testimony to the people of the Rio Grande Valley,
this volume captures their spirit, their quest for happiness, and their
struggles to overcome economic hardship. (Middle grade-adult)
Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen. By Jose Antonio Vargas. 2018. A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist frankly recounts his experiences as an undocumented American and raises key questions about citizenship.
*The Devil’s Highway: A True Story. By Luis Alberto Urrea. 2004. Urrea’s indelible book about catastrophic border crossings focuses on the plight of two dozen men from Mexico in the Sonoran Desert.
*Enrique’s Journey/La travesía de Enrique. By Sonia Nazario. 2006. An astonishing story that puts a human face on the ongoing debate about immigration reform in the U.S., this page-turner recounts the unforgettable quest of a Honduran boy looking for his mother, eleven years after she is forced to leave her starving family to find work in the United States.
The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life. By Lauren Markham. 2017. Markham tells the story of young twin brothers who fled gang violence in El Salvador, survived a traumatic border crossing, and struggled to secure legal residency while working and going to school.
The Fence: National Security, Public Safety and Illegal Immigration along the U.S.-Mexico Border. By Robert Lee Maril. 2011. Drawing on interviews with diverse residents along both sides of the border, Maril sharply illuminates both commonalities and thorny conflicts.
A House of My Own: Stories from My Life. By Sandra Cisneros. 2015. Beloved author Cisneros (The House on Mango Street, 1984) creates a patchwork-quilt memoir that illuminates her quest for home as an “American Mexican.”
In the Country We Love. By Diane Guerrero. 2017. Diane Guerrero, the television actor from the megahit Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just 14 years old the day her parents and brother were arrested and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country with family friends who took her in and helped her continue her education and build a life and a successful career. A moving story of extraordinary resilience.
*The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border. By Francisco Cantú. 2018. Carnegie finalist Cantú shares his experiences working for the U.S. Border Patrol, describing the perils immigrants face and the many obstacles to justice.
The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom. By Helen Thorpe. 2017. This book follows the lives of 22 immigrant teens throughout the course of the 2015-2016 school year as they land at South High School in Denver, CO, coming from nations convulsed by drought, famine, or war. Mr. Williams, their teacher of English Language Acquisition, is determined to help them develop basic English skills and new confidence, their foundation for becoming Americans and finding a place in their new home.
Stranger: The Challenges of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era. By Jorge Ramos. Tr. by Ezra E. Fitz. 2018. Ramos, an Emmy-winning journalist, writes of becoming an immigrant and a U.S. citizen and decries the unjust treatment of others seeking asylum.
The Weight of Shadows: A Memoir of Immigration & Displacement. By José Orduña. 2016. Brought to the U.S. from Mexico as a boy by his parents, Orduña recalls how the omnipresent concern about legal citizenship shaped their lives.
Recommended age ranges are approximate guidelines based on professional reviews. Readers and parents should use their own discretion in choosing appropriate titles.
*American Street. By Ibi Zoboi. 2017. On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, the grittiness of Detroit’s west side, a new school, and a surprising romance, all on her own. (Age 14-17)
*The Arrival. By Shaun Tan. 2006. In this migrant story told as a series of wordless images, a man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country. Finding himself in a bewildering city, he tries to find his footing, helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history. (All ages)
*Beast Rider. By Tony Johnston. 2019. Twelve-year-old Manuel leaves his small town in Mexico to join his older brother in Los Angeles. After a few failed attempts as a “beast rider”—someone who hops on a train—he finally makes it. But the longer he’s in LA, the more he realizes that something isn’t right. This thrilling and heartfelt coming-of-age story reveals how a place and its people help to define you. (Age 10-17)
*Becoming Beatriz. By Tami Charles. 2019. Beatriz dreams of a life spent dancing—until tragedy on the day of her quinceañera changes everything. Set in New Jersey in 1984, Beatriz’s story is a timeless one of a teenager’s navigation of romance, her brother’s choices, and her own family’s difficult past. (Age 12-18)
*Butterfly Yellow. Thanhhà Lại. 2019. In the final days of the Việt Nam War, Hằng takes her little brother, Linh, to the airport, determined to find a way to safety in America. In a split second, Linh is ripped from her arms—and Hằng is left behind in the war-torn country. Six years later, Hằng is now in Texas as a refugee, where she finds help a city boy with big rodeo dreams to track down her brother. (13-18)
*Disappeared. By Francisco X Stork. 2017. After her best friend is kidnapped by the web of criminals who terrorize Juárez, Sara and her brother each face impossible choices, between life and justice, friends and family, truth and love. But when the criminals come after Sara, only one path remains for both the siblings: the way across the desert to the United States. (Age 12 & up)
*First Crossing: Stories about Teen Immigrants. 2007. Covering a wide range of cultural and economic backgrounds, these stories by 11 well-known authors touch on a variety of teen experiences, with enough attitude and heartfelt angst to speak to young adults anywhere. (Age 12-17)
*Frankly in Love. David Yoon. 2019. As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he’s forced to confront the fact that while his Korean parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations are a bit stifling. Desperate to be with his white girlfriend without his parents finding out, Frank turns to a family friend in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. (Age 14-17)
The Good Braider. By Terry Farish. 2012. In spare free verse laced with unforgettable images, Viola’s strikingly original voice sings out the story of her family’s journey from war-torn Sudan, to Cairo, and finally to Portland, Maine. Here, in the sometimes too close embrace of the local Southern Sudanese Community, she dreams of South Sudan while she tries to navigate the strange world of America—struggling to braid together the strands of a displaced life. (Age 14-17)
*I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. By Erika L. Sánchez. 2019. A poignant but often laugh-out-loud funny contemporary story about losing a sister and finding yourself amid the pressures, expectations, and stereotypes of growing up in a Mexican-American home. (Age 14-17)
Illegal. By Bettina Restrepo. 2011. When the letters and money from her father stop coming, Nora decides that she and her mother must leave Mexico to look for him in Texas. After a frightening border crossing, the two are alone in a strange place. Nora must find the strength to survive while aching for small comforts: friends, a new school, and her quinceañera. (Age 12-17)
*Love, Hate, and Other Filters. By Samira Ahmed. 2018. Maya Aziz, seventeen, is caught between her India-born parents’ world of college and marrying a suitable Muslim boy and her dream world of film school and dating her classmate, Phil, when a terrorist attack changes her life forever. (Age 13-18)
*Manuelito: A Graphic Novel. By Elisa Amado. Illus. Abraham Urias. 2019. A hard-hitting graphic novel inspired by the hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied minors who flee gangs and violence in Central America to seek asylum in Mexico and the United States. (Age 12-17)
*Picture Us in the Light. By Kelly Loy Gilbert. 2018. Danny Cheng, a Chinese-American teen, grapples with a dangerous revelation about his parents’ past, his plans for the future, and his feelings for his best friend, Harry Wong. (Age 14-17)
*Pig Park. By Claudia Guadalupe Martinez. 2014. Fifteen-year-old Masi Burciaga’s neighborhood is becoming a ghost town since the lard company moved away. As a last resort, the neighborhood grown-ups enlist all the remaining able-bodied youth to haul bricks to help build a giant pyramid in the park in hopes of luring visitors. But something’s not right about the entrepreneur behind it all. (Age 13-17)
*The Radius of Us. By Marie Marquardt. 2017. After being mugged, seventeen-year-old Gretchen is still struggling to deal with her fears when she meets Phoenix, an 18-year-old immigrant from El Salvador. This story of love, sacrifice, and the journey from victim to survivor offers an intimate glimpse into the causes and devastating impact of Latino gang violence, both in the U.S. and in Central America, and explores the risks that victims take when they try to start over. (Age 13-18)
*The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. By Sonia Manzano. 2012. In this powerful novel set in New York’s El Barrio in 1969, the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group, igniting a powerful protest. When Eveyln’s sassy grandmother steps in to take charge, Evelyn is thrust into the action, learning important truths about her Latino heritage and the history makers who shaped a nation. (Age 10-17)
The Secret Side of Empty. By Maria E. Andreu. 2015. As a straight-A student with a budding romance and loyal best friend, M.T.’s life seems as apple-pie American as her blondish hair and pale skin. But M.T. hides two facts to the contrary: her full name—Monserrat Thalia—and her status as an undocumented immigrant. (Age 12-18)
*Something In Between. By Melissa De La Cruz. 2016. After learning of her family’s illegal immigrant status, Jasmine realizes that college may be impossible and that deportation is a real threat, uncertainties she endures as she falls for the son of a congressman who opposes an immigration reform bill. (Age 14-18)
*The Sun Is Also A Star. By Nicola Yoon. 2016. Natasha, whose family is hours away from being deported, and Daniel, a first generation Korean-American who strives to live up to his parents’ expectations, unexpectedly fall in love and must determine which path they will choose in order to be together. (Age 12-17)
*They Called Us Enemy. By George Takei. 2019. In this graphic novel, Takei describes how, long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he was a four-year-old boy who woke up to find his own birth country at war with his father’s—and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future. What does it mean to be American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? (Age 12-17)
Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight. By Duncan Tonatiuh. 2018. Struggling for money, Juan crosses over into the United States and becomes an undocumented worker living in a poor neighborhood. Though he lands a job, he receives less than half the minimum wage. Risking his boss reporting him to the authorities for not having proper papers, Juan risks everything to stand up for himself and the rest of the community. (Ages 14-18)
*You Bring the Distant Near. By Mitali Perkins. 2017. Ranee worries that her children are losing their Indian culture. Sonia is wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair. Tara seeks the limelight to hide her true self. Shanti desperately tries to make peace in the family. Anna fights to preserve Bengal tigers and her Bengali identity. As each woman decides which traditions to uphold in America, one hard truth remains: some scars take generations to heal. (Age 12-18)
Middle Grade & Elementary
Any Small Goodness: A Novel of the Barrio. By Tony Johnston. 2003. Arturo, his family, and friends share all kinds of experiences living in the barrio of East Los Angeles. A novel filled with hope, love and warmth. (Age 8-13)
Crossing the Wire. By Will Hobb. 2007. When falling crop prices threaten his family with starvation, 15-year-old Victor heads north in an attempt to cross from Mexico into the U.S. so he can find work and send money home. But with no money to pay the smugglers who sneak illegal workers across the border, Victor must struggle to survive as he jumps trains, stows away on trucks, and hikes grueling miles through the Arizona desert. (Age 8-12)
*Esperanza Rising. By Pam Munoz Ryan. 2000. Esperanza thought she’d always live a privileged life with her family on their ranch in Mexico. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the new challenges she faces, but she must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances—Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it. (Age 8-12)
Gaby, Lost and Found. By Angela Cervantes. 2013. When Gaby Ramirez Howard starts volunteering at the local animal shelter, the adoption flyers she writes help the cats and dogs there find places where they’ll be loved and cared for, no matter what. But Gaby is in need of a forever home herself. Her mother has recently been deported to Honduras and Gaby doesn’t know where to turn. (Age 8-12)
I Lived on Butterfly Hill. By Marjorie Agosín. 2014. An eleven-year-old’s world is upended by political turmoil in this “lyrically ambitious tale of exile and reunification” (Kirkus Reviews) from an award-winning poet, based on true events in Chile. (Age 10-14)
La Línea. By Ann Jarmillo. 2006. Miguel has dreamed of joining his parents in California since the day they left him behind in Mexico. On the morning of his 15th birthday, Miguel begins his dangerous journey to the border, facing thieves, border guards, the desert, and a speeding train—all with his tagalong sister in tow. They quickly learn that you can’t always count on dreams—even the ones that come true. (Age 10-14)
Migrant. By Jose Manuel Mateo. 2014. A Mexican boy tells of his journey to the U.S. with his family. They must face many dangers to cross the border, only to experience the uncertainty felt by all illegal immigrants. The narrative is accompanied by one long, beautifully vivid illustration reminiscent of pre-Hispanic codices, packaged as an accordion-style foldout frieze. (Age 8 & up)
The Only Road/El unico destino. By Alexandra Diaz. 2016. Everyone in Jaime’s small town in Guatemala knows someone who has been killed by the Alphas, a powerful gang that’s known for violence and drug trafficking. Anyone who refuses to work for them is hurt or killed—like his cousin Miguel. And Jaime fears that he is next. There’s only one choice: Jaime must flee his home to live with his older brother in New Mexico. (Age 8-12)
Return to Sender/Devolver al Remitente. By Julia Alvarez. 2010. After Tyler’s father is injured, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their farm, but Tyler isn’t sure what to make of them. Mari, the daughter of the workers, is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected to her American life, even as her family lives in fear of deportation. In a novel full of hope, but with no easy answers, Alvarez weaves a beautiful and timely story. (Age 8-12)
The Turtle of Oman. By Naomi Shihab Nye. Aref does not want to move to Michigan. He’s sure the kids there won’t like him. Also, he has everything he needs right where he is! But his grandfather, Sidi, has another point of view. He says Aref will go and come back. Just like a falcon or the turtles of Oman, he’ll travel far and make his way home to Muscat. (Age 8-12)
Us, in Progress: Short Stories about Young Latinos. By Lulu Delacre. 2019. Acclaimed author and Pura Belpré Award honoree Lulu Delacre’s beautifully illustrated collection of twelve short stories is a groundbreaking look at the diverse Latinos who live in the United States. (Age 8-12)
Yes! We Are Latinos. By Alma Flor Ada. Thirteen young Latinos and Latinas living in America are introduced in this book celebrating the rich diversity of the Latino and Latina experience in the United States. Free-verse fictional narratives from the perspective of each youth provide specific stories and circumstances for the reader to better understand the Latino people’s quest for identity. (Age 7-12)
Picture Books & Early Readers
Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin. By Duncan Tonatiuh. 2010. Charlie takes the subway to school; Carlitos rides his bike. Charlie plays in fallen leaves; Carlitos plays among the local cacti. Dear Primo covers the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of two very different childhoods, while also emphasizing how alike Charlie and Carlitos are at heart. (Age 4-8)
*A Different Pond. By Bao Phi. 2017. This tender, masterful family story about a hardworking refugee dad and his son focuses on a simple fishing outing that speaks volumes about their lives and the strong ties that bind them. (Age 5-9)
Dreamers/Soñadores. By Yuyi Morales. 2018. This Pura Belpré Illustrator Award-wining story tells how Yuyi Morales left her home in Xalapa, Mexico and came to the U.S. with her infant son. She left behind nearly everything she owned, but she brought her strength, her work, her passion, her hopes and dreams. A reminder that we are all dreamers, bringing our own gifts wherever we roam. (Age 4-8)
From North to South/Del Norte al Sur. By René Colato Laínez. 2013. In this bilingual picture story, José loves helping Mamá in the garden outside their home in California. But when Mamá is sent back to Mexico for not having proper papers, José and his Papá face an uncertain future. What will it be like to visit Mamá in Tijuana? When will Mamá be able to come home? (Age 5-8)
Green is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors. By Roseanne Greenfield Thong. 2014. In this lively picture book, children discover a world of colors all around them: red is spices and swirling skirts, yellow is masa, tortillas, and sweet corn cake. A cheerful color-concept book presenting a slice of Latino culture through food and fun. (Age 3-5)
I Love Saturdays y Domingos. By Alma Flor Ada. 2004. Through this affectionate and revealing portrait of a bilingual girl’s weekend visits to her two sets of grandparents, this book proves that straddling two worlds can be a blessing rather than a hardship. (Age 5-8)
*Islandborn. By Junot Diaz. 2018. Lola can’t remember The Island—she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories—joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening—Lola’s imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back. Islandborn celebrates creativity, diversity, and our imagination’s boundless ability to connect us—to our families, to our past and to ourselves. (Age 5-8)
La Frontera: El viaje con papa/My Journey with Papa. Deborah Mills and Alfredo Alva. 2018.Join a young boy and his father on an arduous journey from Mexico to the United States in the 1980s to find a new life. Inspired by the childhood immigration experience of co-author Alfredo Alva, this story of perseverance is told in both Spanish and English to empower language-learning. (Age 4-8)
Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation. By Edwidge Danticat. 2015. After Saya’s mother is sent to an immigration detention center, Saya finds comfort in listening to her mother’s warm greeting on their answering machine. Mama begins sending Saya bedtime stories inspired by Haitian folklore on cassette tape. Moved by her mother’s tales and her father’s attempts to reunite their family, Saya writes a story of her own—one that just might bring her mother home for good. (Age 5-8)
*Mango, Abuela, and Me. By Meg Medina. 2017. In this poignant tale of intergenerational connection, transition, and patience, Mia’s abuela has come to live with Mia and her parents in the city. While they cook, Mia helps Abuela learn English, and Mia learns some Spanish, too, but it’s still to communicate. Then Mia sees a parrot in the pet-shop window and has an idea for how to help. (Age 4-8)
Mango Moon/La Luna Mango. By Diane de Anda. 2019. When a father is taken away from his family and facing deportation, Maricela, Manuel, and their mother face the many challenges of his absence. While Mango Moon shows a child’s of what life is like when a parent is deported, Maricela learns that her love for her father continues even though he’s no longer part of her daily life. (Age 3-5)
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no combina. By Monica Brown. 2011. Marisol McDonald has brown skin, freckles, and hair the color of fire. She pairs polka dots with stripes and eats peanut butter and jelly burritos. She’s a Peruvian-Scottish-American who is perfect just the way she is. This lively bilingual book encourages readers to embrace their uniqueness. (Age 5-8)
Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote. By Duncan Tonatiuh. 2013. In this allegorical picture book, a young rabbit named Pancho eagerly awaits his papa’s return. Papa Rabbit traveled north two years ago to find work in the great carrot and lettuce fields to earn money for his family. When Papa does not return, Pancho sets out to find him. (Age 5-9)
Two White Rabbits. By Jairo Buitrago and Rafael Yockteng. 2018. In this moving and timely story, a young child describes what it is like to be a migrant as she and her father travel north toward the U.S. border. (Grade K-2)
A Gift from Papá Diego/Un regalo de Papá Diego. By Benjamin Alire Sáenz. 2008. Diego’s birthday is coming, and he longs to see his Pap Diego, who lives far away in Chihuahua, Mexico. He knows his grandfather is old and that it’s hard to cross the border. Diego fantasizes about flying there in his new Superman suit, until he walks into the kitchen and finds his beloved grandpa waiting for him. (Age 4-8)
*¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market. By Raúl the Third. 2019. Bilingual in a new way, this paper over board book teaches readers simple words in Spanish as they experience the bustling life of a border town. Follow Little Lobo and his dog Bernabe as they deliver supplies to a variety of vendors, selling everything from sweets to sombreros, portraits to piñatas, carved masks to comic books! (Age 4-7)
*The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66: Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Men, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito. By Shing Yin Khor. 2019. As a child growing up in Malaysia, Shing Yin Khor had two very different ideas of what “America” meant: one looked a lot like Hollywood. The other looked more like The Grapes of Wrath. This graphic memoir chronicles Shing’s solo road trip (small adventure-dog included) that ends up something like a pilgrimage in search of a forever-shifting American landscape. (Age 11-18)
*Americanized: Rebel without a Green Card. Sara Saedi. 2018. At thirteen, bright-eyed, straight-A student Sara Saedi uncovered a terrible family secret: she was breaking the law simply by living in the United States. (Age 14-18)
The Distance between Us: Young Readers Edition. By Reyna Grande. 2017. When her parents make the dangerous and illegal trek across the Mexican border to the US, Reyna and her siblings must live with their stern grandmother. But when things don’t go as planned, Reyna finds herself preparing for her own journey to “El Otro Lado.” (Age 10-18)
*Enrique’s Journey (The Young Adult Adaptation). By Sonia Nazario. 2014. The true story of a teenager from Honduras who sets out on a journey to find his mother, who had to leave him when he was a child and go to the U.S. in search of work. Enrique’s story brings to light the daily struggles of migrants, legal and otherwise, and the complicated choices they face. (Age 12-17)
*The Far Away Brothers (Adapted for Young Adults): Two Teenage Immigrants Making a Life in America. By Lauren Markham. 2019. Markham tells the story of young twin brothers who fled gang violence in El Salvador, survived a traumatic border crossing, and struggled to secure legal residency while working and going to school. (Age 12-18)
*Immigration. New York Times. 2019. This fascinating collection compiles articles that reflect the diverse and changing perspectives the public has held on immigration policy and immigrant groups over the decades. (Age 13-18)
Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience. 2019. This poetry collection for young adults brings together some of the most compelling and vibrant voices today reflecting the experiences of teen immigrants and refugees. (Age 12-17)
*My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope. By Diane Guerrero. 2019. Diane Guerrero, the star of Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, presents her personal story in this middle-grade memoir about her parents’ deportation and the nightmarish struggles of undocumented immigrants and their American children. (Age 10-14)
*The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border. By Juan Pablo Villalobos. 2019. Award-winning Mexican author Juan Pablo Villalobos explores illegal immigration with this emotionally raw and timely nonfiction book about ten Central American teens and their journeys to the United States. (Age 12-18)
*Rendez-vous in Phoenix. By Tony Sandoval. 2016. Eisner-nominated writer/artist Tony Sandoval was born and raised in northwestern Mexico. In this autobiographical account, his urge to visit his American girlfriend can’t wait for the lengthy, frustrating visa process standing in the way of their relationship. So he makes the ultimate romantic gesture: smuggling himself across the border, despite the dangers he’ll face. (Age 13 & up)
*Someone Like Me: How One Undocumented Girl Fought For Her American Dream. By Julissa Arce. 2019. Born in Taxco, Mexico, Julissa’s parents brought her to Texas, where she lived as an undocumented immigrant, became a scholarship winner, an honors college graduate, and eventually a vice president at Goldman Sachs. Her story provides a deep look into the world of a new generation of undocumented immigrants in the United States today—kids who live next door, sit next to you in class, or may even be one of your best friends. (Age 8-14)
*Thinking Critically: Illegal Immigration. By Jim Gallagher. 2019. Illegal immigration remains one of the most controversial and divisive issues today. There is strong disagreement among Americans about the effects on the nation. In this book, predominant pro/con arguments are synthesized into clear, accessible discussions supported by details and evidence. (Age 14-18)
This Land Is Our Land: A History of American Immigration. By Linda Barrett Osborne. 2016. This book explores the paradoxical attitudes of American attitudes toward immigrants, and the way government policy and popular responses to immigrant groups evolved throughout U.S. history, particularly between 1800 and 1965. The book concludes with a summary of events up to contemporary times. (Age 10-17)
*Voces Sin Fronteras: Our Stories, Our Truth. 2018. This book is an opportunity to hear directly from youth who are often in the headlines but whose stories don’t get told in full. Sixteen young people from the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) in Washington, D.C. came together to tell their own stories of immigration and transformation in comics form. The result is this side-by-side bilingual collection of graphic memoirs that not only builds connections across language, but also breaks down barriers and expands hope. (Age 13-18)
*We Are Displaced. By Malala Yousafzai. 2019. Nobel Peace Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai starts with her own story as an Internally Displaced Person to show what it means to lose your home, your community, and the only world you’ve ever known. She also shares the personal stories of some of the incredible girls she has met on her journeys to refugee camps and the cities where refugees have settled. (Age 14-& up)