Middle grade novel Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga (HarperCollins, 2019) captures one teen girl’s perspective as a Syrian refugee to America. Even without using dates within the text, Other Words for Home feels sadly applicable today since the Syrian conflict still rages and refugees flee to America from many different countries. Jude’s life

Read Post

Matthew is a seventh-grader now required to finish his school year online, isolated from his friends, due to the COVID pandemic. Nothing could be worse than having to help his 100-year-old great-grandmother (GG) sort her belongings. But it is through his isolation with GG that Matthew learns the secrets of her life and just how

Read Post

In the picture book The Words We Share by Jack Wong (Annick Press, 2023), the child narrator, Angie, tells how she is the one that helps her father with basics of communication in their Canadian community because he is not comfortable or fluent in English. Angie finds she can help the entire community, and to

Read Post

Front Desk by Kelly Yang (Scholastic, 2018) is a story about a family of immigrants from China who are trying to achieve the American dream, but they haven’t been having much success. In this first novel of a middle-grade series, Mia begins to see just how she can help her family with her skills and

Read Post

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin (Sourcebooks, 2018) is a graphic novel that illustrates the fictional story of two orphaned brothers traveling illegally from their home in Ghana to Europe, hoping to reunite with their sister, who illegally traveled the same route years before. On their journey, they face robbers and homelessness as they

Read Post

Solito by Javier Zamora (Hogarth, 2022) is the stark memoir of the adventure of one nine-year-old as he traveled from his small town in El Salvador to join his parents in the U.S. in 1999. During his ordeal, Javier was abandoned by his “coyote” (the paid smuggler). He wasn’t truly alone (or, solito) as he

Read Post

Lina, the main character in Finally Seen by Kelly Yang (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, February 2023) has grown up with her grandmother in China, while her young sister and parents have spent the last years living in California without her. Now it is her chance to move to the United States to

Read Post

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (2011 National Book Award for Young People and Newbery Honor Award) is a novel in poetry about a young girl’s relocation to American from Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It is about the challenge of starting over and the pain of discrimination in a strange new country and

Read Post

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan is a powerful story about a rich and spoiled Mexican girl whose sudden impoverishment in the 1930s takes her into the migrant worker camps of California. It teaches much about the Great Depression as well as discrimination during that period.  At the beginning of the novel, Esperanza lives a

Read Post

Letters from Rifka by Karen Hesse (1991) is a coming-of-age story, this time dealing with a 12-year-old Russian immigrant traveling alone. But Rifka is not an ordinary traveler. She expects to do “everything” once she reaches America, but first, she has to get there. When sickness keeps her behind, she learns to survive on her

Read Post