June 25, 2019

Reading immigrant experiences

Seeking out books written by immigrant authors is one way that people curious about immigrant experiences can gain a deeper understanding while glimpsing the life stories behind an issue that is often presented to us as a political problem. With the number of great books recently published by immigrant authors, representing a diverse spectrum of cultures and nations, readers have a great deal of choice. Whether tales of refugee survival (Exit West by Mohsin Ahmid), feeling the sting of culture shock (Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), humorous explorations of identity and ethnic stereotypes (American Panda by Gloria Chao), heart-wrenching memoir (The Boy on the Beach by Tima Kurdi), or stories about immigration for young kids (Islandborn by Junot Díaz), nothing beats an engrossing book for shattering our assumptions, providing nuance, and expanding the horizons of our shrinking planet.

An easy strategy for getting at these terrific reads is to use NoveList’s “own voices” appeal term together with terms that touch on immigrants and immigration. To find fiction for all ages, type this string into the NoveList search bar: AP own voices AND TH immigrant experiences. You can then use the check boxes under “Audience” to filter for any age level. For memoirs and other nonfiction, use this one instead: AP own voices AND GN (immigrants OR immigration). There is literally a world of possibilities.

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Clay Boyer is a Metadata Librarian at NoveList. He is currently reading Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. 


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