Social Justice Books: Teaching About Immigration

Titles on immigration and the immigrant experience with a focus on the United States. Books are organized into Elementary, Middle Grades, YA / Adult Fiction, and YA / Adult Nonfiction. Books listed include: Gloria E. Anzaldua, Amigos del Otro Lado / Friends From The Other Side: “Did you come from the other side? You know, from Mexico?” So begins the friendship between Prietita and Joaquin, the young boy who, with his mother, has crossed the Rio Grande River to Texas in search of a new life. • Yangsook Choi, The Name Jar: Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. • Duncan Tonatiuh, Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight: Undocumented is the story of immigrant workers who have come to the United States without papers. Every day, these men and women join the work force and contribute positively to society. The story is told via the ancient Mixtec codex—accordion fold—format. Juan grew up in Mexico working in the fields to help provide for his family. Struggling for money, Juan crosses over into the United States and becomes an undocumented worker, living in a poor neighborhood, working hard to survive.