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Immigration Project Recommended Reading: Kids

A row of book covers of Amelia's Road, A Different Pond, We Are Like the Clouds, Grandfather's Journey, Their Great Gift, and Harvesting Hope

Bookshop Santa Cruz and the Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County Immigration Project (SCCIP) worked together to curate a book list featuring some of the most accessible and influential books for children that address issues of immigration in the United States of America. You can view that full list below.

We have also created a list of recommended books for adults on these same issues. View the curated adult list here.

In addition to the recommended reading lists, Bookshop and SCCIP are sponsoring a community-wide read of the book Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario. We encourage adults and kids to pick up a copy of either the adult or youth edition, then join us for a moderated book discussion on November 5th.

Read more about our Words to Act On partnership with Santa Cruz County Immigration Project here.


Enrique's Journey (The Young Adult Adaptation): The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385743280
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ember - August 5th, 2014

Pick up a copy of Enrique's Journey and join us on November 5th for our moderated Community Read discussion of this book. 

Red Glass Cover Image
ISBN: 9780440240259
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers - May 12th, 2009

One night Sophie and her parents are called to a hospital where Pedro, a six-year-old Mexican boy, is recovering from dehydration. Crossing the border into Arizona with a group of Mexicans and a coyote, or guide, Pedro and his parents faced such harsh conditions that the boy is the only survivor. Pedro comes to live with Sophie, her parents, and Sophie's Aunt Dika, a refugee of the war in Bosnia. Sophie loves Pedro--her Principito, or Little Prince. But after a year, Pedro's surviving family in Mexico makes contact, and Sophie, Dika, Dika's new boyfriend, and his son must travel with Pedro to his hometown so that he can make a heartwrenching decision.

Grandfather's Journey Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547076805
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - October 27th, 2008

Lyrical, breathtaking, splendid--words used to describe Allen Say's Grandfather's Journey when it was first published. At once deeply personal yet expressing universally held emotions, this tale of one man's love for two countries and his constant desire to be in both places captured readers' attention and hearts. Winner of the 1994 Caldecott Medal, it remains as historically relevant and emotionally engaging as ever. "The immigrant experience has rarely been so poignantly evoked." - Horn Book, starred review

Staff Pick Badge
Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land Cover Image
By John Coy, Wing Young Huie (Photographer)
ISBN: 9781467780544
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Carolrhoda Books (R) - March 2016

There are scores of successful individual immigration stories—for example, Allen Say’s Grandfather’s Journey, Helen Recorvit’s My Name is Yoon, Eleanor Estes’ The Hundred Dresses, Francisco Jimenez’ The Circuit, and Shaun Tan’s The Arrival. But until now it has seemed almost impossible to write a composite immigration picture book essay without being reductive or marzipan, without coming off like “We Are the World.” Their Great Gift is clear, honest, and timely, and it belongs in all elementary school classrooms and home libraries. Grades K–4.— GA

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Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty Cover Image
By Linda Glaser, Claire A. Nivola (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780544105089
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - September 10th, 2013

Few people are familiar with the life of Emma Lazarus, the poet behind the iconic lines inscribed on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses…”. Glaser movingly tells Lazarus’s story, while the delicately composed and whimsical art of Claire Nivola creates an elegant and playful vision of her life. A striking biography and a beautiful picture book. Grades K–4. — Tera

Somos Como Las Nubes / We Are Like the Clouds Cover Image
ISBN: 9781554988495
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Groundwood Books - October 11th, 2016

This powerful book by award-winning Salvadoran poet Jorge Argueta describes the terrible process that leads young people to undertake the extreme hardships and risks involved in the journey to what they hope will be a new life of safety and opportunity in the United States. A refugee from El Salvador's war in the eighties, Argueta was born to explain the tragic choice confronting young Central Americans today who are saying goodbye to everything they know because they fear for their lives. This book brings home their situation and will help young people who are living in safety to understand those who are not. 

Staff Pick Badge
A Different Pond (Fiction Picture Books) Cover Image
By Bao Phi, Thi Bui (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781623708030
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Capstone Young Readers - August 2017

Long before dawn, a boy and his father wake and quietly, companionably, drive to a pond at the city limit to fish for supper. In melting blues, deep red, occasional gold, and crisp inked outlines, we see the small fire the boy starts with a single match, the shared sandwiches, and the father's face as he speaks to his son of a different pond in Vietnam where he and his brother fished together. Returning home, the boy helps his mother clean the fish, and both parents leave for work. In the evening, with his older siblings laughing and delicious food on the table, the kitchen bulb tenderly illuminates our narrator and his family. - Ga

Amelia's Road Cover Image
ISBN: 9781880000274
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Lee & Low Books - April 2000

Amelia Martinez hates all roads; every time her father gets out the map, it means leaving new friends and a teacher who hasn't even learned her name. But for this young Latina migrant, one brief stay offers a modicum of hope: a sympathetic teacher asks for a picture of "something that's really special to you" (Amelia draws a home); and she discovers a winding, "accidental" path to a "wondrous tree...the sturdiest, most permanent thing Amelia had ever seen." When it's time to move on to the next crop, Amelia collects her drawing, the name tag the teacher gave her, and a family photo and buries them under the tree - "a place she could come back to." A spare, unsentimental, empathetic picture of a quietly courageous child making the best of difficult necessity. - Kirkus Reviews

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez Cover Image
By Kathleen Krull, Yuyi Morales (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780152014377
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - March 2003

Cesar Chavez is known as one of America's greatest civil rights leaders. When he led a 340-mile peaceful protest march through California, he ignited a cause and improved the lives of thousands of migrant farmworkers. But as a boy, Chavez's family slaved in the fields for barely enough money to survive. Cesar knew things had to change, and he thought that-maybe-he could help change them. So he took charge. He spoke up. And an entire country listened. This inspiring picture book is illustrated with gorgeous paintings by Yuyi Morales.

La Mariposa Cover Image
By Francisco Jiménez, Simón Silva (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780618073177
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - September 26th, 2000

"La Mariposa is a lovely story that addresses so many of the transformations in the life of a young bicultural, bilingual child. It's refreshing to read a book in which English is flavored with Spanish and in which Latinos present positive and generous role models." - Julia Alvarez

Staff Pick Badge
My Name Is Yoon Cover Image
By Helen Recorvits, Gabi Swiatkowska (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781250057112
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Square Fish - June 10th, 2014

Yoon and her family have just moved to America from Korea, and all Yoon wants is to go back. She doesn’t like the way her name looks in English letters, and she doesn’t think her teacher likes her very much. Slowly, Yoon begins to realize that maybe America isn’t so bad, and that her name is beautiful no matter how she writes it. A lovely story that comes highly recommended by Ga, our children’s book buyer, My Name Is Yoon is all about learning that just because things have changed doesn’t mean they’re bad.— Flannery