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For Readers: Blog

Expanded Horizons: The Immigrant Experience

by Book Geniuses on 2019-07-22T15:55:00-05:00 in Fiction, Books & Reading | Comments

As you make your way into the library to pick up your holds, attend a program, or get work done, you may notice a colorful display of "Libraries Are for Everyone" signs along the front walkway. We know that one of the things that makes our community strong is the diversity of people, experiences, and stories, and the library strives to recognize that diversity every day.

We’ve picked some well-crafted reads that capture the variety of voices currently sharing their modern-day immigrant experiences. Whether you’re searching for a story that resonates with your own journey or you're looking to broaden your literary horizons, this list has something for you.

Revisiting her family’s journey to escape war-torn Vietnam and its lasting effects on her as a new mother, Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do is an impactful memoir brought to life as a graphic novel.

The Leavers by Lisa Ko and Patsy by Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn both examine the difficult decisions, complex motivations, and unknowable choices that lead to the separation of a mother and child as they try to build a new life.

Looking for a lighter read? Try The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal, a witty and moving family adventure about the clash between generations as three British-born sisters travel to their unfamiliar homeland, India, to carry out their mother’s last wish. Another option is Maria Kuznetsova’s quirky Oksana, Behave!, an atypical coming-of-age story made ever more complicated by the protagonist leaving Kiev for a new life in Florida.

The Affairs of the Falcóns by Melissa Rivero is an eye-opening and emotional portrait of the struggles of an undocumented family trying to survive in New York City in the 1990s. 

For a take on the immigrant experience outside of the big city, Chia-Chia Lin’s The Unpassing follows a Taiwanese-American family in Alaska as they realize the American dream is often a much darker reality. This is a beautifully written debut.

With a large cast of well-developed characters, Where We Come From by Oscar Cásares ties faces, names, and powerful emotions to the news stories we hear about the U.S.-Mexican border.

Another timely read is Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, an honest memoir by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas about what it means to have nowhere to truly call home.


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