In light of recent events, it seems more important than ever to remember that empathy and kindness are Creek values, Maryland values, and American values. Studies have shown that reading stories about people who are different than you can help you  develop empathy for those people and their unique situations. The next time you visit the library for a book to read, try out one of these books about immigrants and refugees!

Picture Books

pb_ringgold_-we-came-to-americaWe Came to America by Faith Ringgold

Grades K – 2

ISBN: 9780517709474

Celebrates United States immigration and the country’s diverse immigrant heritage.

81anjrdcmelFrom North to South by Rene Colato Lainez; illustrated by Joe Cepeda

Grades 1 – 3

ISBN: 9780892392315

When his mother is sent back to Mexico for not having the proper immigration papers, Jose and his father travel from San Diego, California, to visit her in Tijuana.

51ohy2i2borl-_sx258_bo1204203200_The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Grades K – 2

ISBN: 978-0440417996

After Unhei moves from Korea to the United States, her new classmates help her decide what her name should be.

51tgqegsiol-_sx258_bo1204203200_I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien

Grades PreK – 3

ISBN: 9781580896122

Three children from other countries (Somalia, Guatemala, and Korea) struggle to adjust to their new home and school in the United States.

51fqo9u2bq-l-_sx258_bo1204203200_Migrant by Maxine Trottier; illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

Grades PreK – 2

ISBN: 9780888999757

Anna wonders what it would be like to stay in one place forever as spring comes and she has to, once again, move north with her family to harvest fruits and vegetables on farms.

61vprd4djbl-_sx258_bo1204203200_My Grandfather’s Coat by Jim Aylesworth; illustrated by Barbara McClintock

Grades PreK – 2

ISBN: 9780439925457

A tailor’s very old overcoat is recycled numerous times over the years into a variety of garments and other uses.

15798648The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman; illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Grades 1 – 4

ISBN: 9780763646011

Follows a girl’s perusal of her great-grandfather’s collection of matchboxes and small curios that document his poignant immigration journey from Italy to a new country.

img_5546The Journey by Francesca Sanna

Grades K – 2

ISBN: 9781909263994

During a war, a mother and her two children set out on a search for a new home–a journey filled with both uncertainty and hope.


Children’s Books

81swwvtzyulMy Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits; illustrated by Gabby Swiatkowska

Grades PreK – 4

ISBN: 9780374351144

Disliking her name as written in English, Korean-born Yoon, or “shining wisdom,” refers to herself as “cat,” “bird,” and “cupcake,” to feel more comfortable in her new school and new country.

51bq4heny5lBrothers in hope: the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams; illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Grades 3 – 5

ISBN: 9781584302322

Eight-year-old Garang, orphaned by a civil war in Sudan, finds the inner strength to help lead other boys as they trek hundreds of miles seeking safety in Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally in the United States.


512bpe0efz0l-_sy344_bo1204203200_The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye

Grades 2 – 6

ISBN: 9780062019721

When Aref, a third-grader who lives in Muscat, Oman, refuses to pack his suitcase and prepare to move to Michigan, his mother asks for help from his grandfather, his Siddi, who takes Aref around the country, storing up memories he can carry with him to a new home.


51fsbsyxjql-_sx258_bo1204203200_Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say

Grades 3 and up

ISBN: 9780395570357

A Japanese American man recounts his grandfather’s journey to America which he later also undertakes, and the feelings of being torn by a love for two different countries.

51bcks2ba2dl-_sx337_bo1204203200_My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada; translated by Ana M. Cerro; illustrated by K. Dyble Thompson

Grades 2 – 5

ISBN: 9780689802171

Third grader Maria Isabel, born in Puerto Rico and now living in the U. S., wants badly to fit in at school; and the teacher’s writing assignment, “My Greatest Wish,” gives her that opportunity.

51vpzgchknl-_sx258_bo1204203200_Here I Am by Patti Kim; illustrated by Sonia Sanchez

Grades 3 – 5

ISBN: 978-1479519316

Tells the story in pictures of a family newly immigrated to the United Sates and the challenges of starting a life in a new place.


61xequ1kdzl-_sx258_bo1204203200_Mama’s Nightingale by Edwidge Danticat; illustrated by Leslie Staub

Grades 2 – 5

ISBN: 9780525428091

When Saya’s mother is sent to jail as an illegal immigrant, she sends her daughter a cassette tape with a song and a bedtime story, which inspires Saya to write a story of her own–one that just might bring her mother home.


Middle Grade

91oi7w1jgflShooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai

Grades 5 – 8

ISBN: 9781442401945

Escaping from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in the summer of 2001, eleven-year-old Fadi and his family immigrate to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Fadi schemes to return to the Pakistani refugee camp where his little sister was accidentally left behind.

51kqckgzall-_sy344_bo1204203200_Flying the Dragon by Natalie Dias Lorenzi

Grades 5 – 7

ISBN: 9781580894340

When Skye’s cousin Hiroshi and his family move to Virginia from Japan, the cultural differences lead to misunderstandings and both children are unhappy at the changes in their lives–will flying the dragon kite finally bring them together?

25685200The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly

Grades 4 – 7

ISBN: 9780062238641

Abandoned by their father and living in poverty with their heartless stepmother in Louisiana, two sisters from the Philippines, twelve-year-old Sol and six-year-old Ming, learn the true meaning of family.

51ly6rgccjl-_sx334_bo1204203200_Inside Out and Back Again by Thahnha Lai

Grades 4 – 8

ISBN: 9780061962783

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

51g3pegw7rl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Grades 5 – 8

ISBN: 9780439120418

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

158277Enrique’s Journey: the True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with his Mother by Sonia Nazario

Grades 7 and up

ISBN: 9780385743273

Documents the journey of a Honduran teen who braved hardship and peril to reunite with his mother after she was forced to leave him behind and seek migratory work in the United States.

512bjesb-q4l-_sx258_bo1204203200_Denied, detained, deported: stories from the dark side of American immigration by Ann Bausam

Grades 5- 9

ISBN: 9781426303326

Examines the history of American immigration, particularly those lesser-known stories of immigrants who were denied entrance into the United States or detained for security reasons, including the story of a ship of Jewish refugees.

61uqpkf8aul-_sx258_bo1204203200_This Land is Our Land: the History of American Immigration by Linda Barrett Osborne

Grades 6 – 10

ISBN: 9781419716607

Explores the way government policy and popular responses to immigrant groups have evolved throughout U.S. history, from 1800 to today.

41r6y2k2xpl-_sx258_bo1204203200_We are Americans: Voices of the Immigrant Experience by Dorothy Hoobler

Grades 5 – 9

ISBN: 9780439162975

A history of immigration to America, from speculation about the earliest immigrants to the present day.

51nubq2tttl-_sy344_bo1204203200_The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Grades 6 – 10

ISBN: 9780375861901

In 1961 after Castro has come to power in Cuba, fourteen-year-old Lucia and her seven-year-old brother are sent to the United States when her parents, who are not in favor of the new regime, fear that the children will be taken away from them as others have been.


Young Adult

410gglpve6l-_sy344_bo1204203200_A Step from Heaven by An Na

Grades 9 – 12

ISBN: 9781886910584

A young Korean girl and her family find it difficult to learn English and adjust to life in America.

anyasghostcoverbrosgolAnya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Grades 9 – 12

ISBN: 9781596437135

Anya, embarrassed by her Russian immigrant family and self-conscious about her body, has given up on fitting in at school but falling down a well and making friends with the ghost there just may be worse.

811yx31ifllThe Arrival by Shaun Tan

Grades 6 – 12

ISBN: 9780734406941

In this wordless graphic novel, a man leaves his homeland and sets off for a new country, where he must build a new life for himself and his family.

51-dk3-ml6l-_sy344_bo1204203200_The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang; illustrated by Sonny Liew

Grades 6 – 12

ISBN: 9781596436978

In the comics boom of the 1940s, a legend was born: the Green Turtle. He solved crimes and fought injustice just like the other comics characters. But this mysterious masked crusader was hiding something more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity… The Green Turtle was the first Asian American super hero.

61xslvguz0l-_sx258_bo1204203200_Vietnamerica: a Family’s Journey by G.B. Tran

Grades 9 – 12

ISBN: 978-0345508720

When his last surviving grandparents die within months of each other, GB visits Vietnam for the first time and begins to learn the tragic history of his family, and of the homeland they left behind.

28763485The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Grades 9 – 12

ISBN: 9780553496680

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.

28688476Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

Grades 9 – 12

ISBN: 9780373212385

Shattered when her parents reveal their illegal immigrant status and that the education she has worked so hard to earn may be impossible, Jasmine struggles to redefine her sense of identity while bonding with the charming son of a high-ranking congressman.

good-braider-hi-resThe Good Braider by Terry Farish

Grades 8 – 12

ISBN: 9780761462675

Follows Viola as she survives brutality in war-torn Sudan, makes a perilous journey, lives as a refugee in Egypt, and finally reaches Portland, Maine, where her quest for freedom and security is hampered by memories of past horrors and the traditions hermother and other Sudanese adults hold dear. Includes historical facts and a map of Sudan.

51qxokk1all-_sy344_bo1204203200_The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson

Grades 9 – 12

ISBN: 9780449809976

Exiled to the United States after her father, a Middle Eastern dictator, is killed in a coup, fifteen-year-old Laila must cope with a completely new way of life, the truth of her father’s regime, and her mother and brother’s ways of adjusting.

watched-cover-196x300Watched by Marina Tamar Budhos

Grades 7 and up

ISBN: 9780553534184

Moving quickly throughout his Queens immigrant neighborhood to avoid the watchful eyes of his hardworking Bangladeshi parents, their gossipy neighbors and surveillance cameras mounted everywhere, charismatic but troubled youth Naeem is offered a deal by the cops to become a community protector in ways that challenge his sense of identity.


Books for Parents and Teachers

51hljfge1pl-_sx258_bo1204203200_We Are America: a Tribute from the Heart by Walter Dean Myers; illustrated by Christopher Myers

ISBN: 9780060523084

Provides a look at the diversity in people, wealth, dreams, and desire that make up this great nation and give it the unique character, charm, and beauty revered and respected all over the world.

31d6myk72bcl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Made in America: Immigrant Students in our Public Schools by Laurie Olsen

ISBN: 978-1595583499

As the United States reexamines its borders and immigration policies, the debate over educating immigrant students in our public schools has divided Americans. What can teachers and immigrant students expect from each other? Laurie Olsen, director of a nationally recognized immigrant organization, describes what it looks and feels like to go to school and to teach in a culturally diverse environment.

pid_22645The DREAMers: How the Undocumented Youth Movement Transformed the Immigrant Rights Debate by Walter Nicholls

ISBN: 978-0804788847

The DREAMers provides the first investigation of the youth movement that has transformed the national immigration debate, from its start in the early 2000s through the present day. Walter Nicholls draws on interviews, news stories, and firsthand encounters with activists to highlight the strategies and claims that have created this now-powerful voice in American politics.

51jfjibhu-l-_sy344_bo1204203200_Dreamers: An Immigrant Generation’s Fight for Their American Dream by Eileen Truax

ISBN: 978-0807030332

In Dreamers, Eileen Truax illuminates the stories of these men and women who are living proof of a complex and sometimes hidden political reality that calls into question what it truly means to be American.

41jp8osjwxlLearning a New Land: Immigrant Students in American Society by Carola Suárez-Orozco, Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, Irina Todorova

ISBN: 978-0674045804

Based on an extraordinary interdisciplinary study that followed 400 newly arrived children from the Caribbean, China, Central America, and Mexico for five years, this book provides a compelling account of the lives, dreams, and frustrations of these youngest immigrants.