Immigrant Stories

A collection of books released in the last year dealing with the experience of U.S. immigrants.

During the past month, many U.S. immigrants have faced new challenges as a result of executive orders issued from the White House. As a nation of immigrants, we know that the immigrant experience is varied and unique. Listed below are books released in the last year that capture some of the unique experiences of what it means to be a U.S. citizen and/or an immigrant living in the U.S.

Nonfiction

The  Book of Isais     In the Country We Love     Integration Nation    

How to Make White People Laugh     Under the Same Sky     The Weight of Shadows                 

The book of Isaias : a child of Hispanic immigrants seeks his own America / Daniel Connolly
In a green town in the middle of America, a bright 18-year-old Latino student named Isaias Ramos sets out on a journey to college. Isaias, who passed a prestigious national calculus test as a junior and leads the quiz bowl team, is the hope of Kingsbury High in Memphis, a school where many students have difficulty reading. But Kingsbury's dysfunction, expensive college fees, and forms printed in a language that's foreign to his parents are all obstacles in the way of his getting accepted to a university. Journalist Daniel Connolly follows Isaias, peers into a tumultuous final year of high school, and, eventually, shows how adults intervene in the hopes of changing Isaias' life.

In the country we love : my family divided / Diane Guerrero with Michelle Burford
Diane Guerrero, the television actress from Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was fourteen-years-old on the day when her parents and brother were arrested and deported to Colombia while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family. This book captures the struggles of undocumented residents in the U.S.

Integration nation : immigrants, refugees, and America at its best / Susan E Eaton and The One Nation Indivisible Writer's Group / Eaton, Susan E.
This book takes readers on a spirited and compelling cross-country journey, introducing us to the people challenging America's xenophobic impulses by welcoming immigrants and collaborating with the foreign-born as they become integral members of their new communities.

How to make white people laugh / by Negin Farsad
Negin Farsad is an Iranian-American-Muslim female stand-up comedian who believes she can change the world, one joke at a time. In this book, Farsad shares her personal experiences growing up as the "Other" in an American culture that has no time for nuance. Writing bluntly and hilariously about the elements of race we are often too politically correct to discuss, Farsad takes a long hard look at the iconography that still shapes our concepts of "black," "white," and "Muslim" in America today and examines what it means when white culture defines the culture.

Under the same sky : from starvation in North Korea to salvation in America / Joseph Kim, with Stephan Talty
A searing story of starvation and survival in North Korea, followed by a dramatic escape, rescue by activists and Christian missionaries, and success in the United States thanks to newfound faith and courage.

The weight of shadows : a memoir of immigration and displacement / Jose Orduna
In July of 2011, José Orduña was naturalized as an American citizen, a decision made, he admits, in bad faith and purely out of self-interest. Though grateful to his parents for their many sacrifices, which resulted in his citizenship, he feels anger and resentment towards a punitive and racist government. Orduña reflects on the complicated and contradictory experience of morphing into a "legal" young, brown immigrant. He describes the absurd feeling of being given a piece of paper -- his naturalization certificate -- handed to him by a robed judge to certify something he has always known: he has a right to be here and is, at least in theory, equal under the law. An exploration of race, class, and identity chronicling the process of becoming a North American citizen in a post - 911 United States.

Fiction      

The Refugees     The Houseguest     Behold the Dreamers

The refugees / Viet Thanh Nguyen / Nguyen, Viet Thanh, 1971-
This collection of stories, written over a period of twenty years, explores questions of immigration, identity, love, and family. Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth.

The houseguest: a novel / Kim Brooks
Taking in a European refugee who turns out to be an alluring former star, Russian immigrant and small-town junkyard owner Abe Auer becomes involved in immigrant-organized initiatives to help the Jewish victims of Hitler's genocidal forces.

Behold the dreamers: a novel / Imbolo Mbue
Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself and his family. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Jende is desperate to keep his job and is soon forced to make an impossible choice.

 All book summaries are provided by the publishers.

 

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