Immigration is a hot topic. There are many ideological differences and issues to consider, but there are also many stereotypes to break. As an immigrant myself and as an American, it’s important to make sure my children understand the tremendous value of why we call ourselves a nation of immigrants.
I know this can be a challenging topic to discuss with little kids or kids who don’t have a personal story with immigration. The good news is that there are children’s books about immigration that will help kids to get a glimpse of what it’s like to walk in the shoes of other children who are immigrant themselves or whose lives are forever changed by immigration.
I invite you to check out these 6 bilingual children’s books about immigrant kids and their families. I am sure their stories will spark many conversations on this important topic and will touch your heart. In fact, you may need a few tissues…
6 Bilingual Children’s Books About Immigration
My Diary from Here to There: Mi diario de aqui hasta alla
From Juárez to Mexicali to Tijuana to Los Angeles, Amada learns that with her family’s love and her belief in herself, she can make any journey and weather any change here, there, anywhere.
From North to South / Del Norte al Sur
Award-winning children s book author René Colato Laínez tackles the difficult and timely subject of family separation with exquisite tenderness. René is donating a portion of his royalties to El Centro Madre Assunta, a refuge for women and children who are waiting to be reunited with their families up north. Joe Cepeda s bright and engaging illustrations bring this story of hope to vivid life.
The Upside Down Boy/El nino de cabeza
The Upside Down Boy is award-winning poet Juan Felipe Herrera’s engaging memoir of the year his migrant family settled down so that he could go to school for the first time. Juanito is bewildered by the new school, and he misses the warmth of country life. Everything he does feels upside down. He eats lunch when it’s recess; he goes out to play when it’s time for lunch; and his tongue feels like a rock when he tries to speak English. But a sensitive teacher and loving family help him to find his voice and make a place for himself in this new world through poetry, art, and music.
Friends from the Other Side / Amigos del otro lado
Writer Gloria Anzaldúa is a major Mexican American literary voice. Illustrator Consuelo Méndez is a noted Latin American artist. Both grew up in South Texas. In this, their first collaboration, they have captured not only the hardship of daily life on the border, but also the beauty of the landscape and the dignity and generosity of spirit that the Mexican Americans and the Mexican immigrants share.
Waiting for Papá / Esperando a Papá
As Beto looks at the eight candles on his birthday cake, he knows that his wish is always the same. Beto wishes that he could be with his father every chance he gets. It has been three years since he and Mama left El Salvador. Lurking in his mind are the memories of the losses they suffered before leaving: the bombing of a factory, the burning of the family home, the loss of all their possessions, but most of all, he thinks of the father that he has left behind.
Children’s Books in English about Immigration
Coming to America: The Kids’ Book About Immigration
Children who have immigrated to the United States describe their experiences in adjusting to a new country and culture. This is beautifully written from a child’s point of view. It touches on topics of immigration that can be very difficult for children to express
The book explores the evolving history of immigration to the U.S. — a long saga about people searching for religious and political freedom, safety, and prosperity.
All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel
It’s a story that will have kids asking their parents and grandparents: Where did we come from? How did our family make the journey all the way to America?