11 Children’s Books About Immigration That Are Empathetic, Smart, & Kid-Friendly

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Explaining complicated cultural issues to young children can throw many parents for a loop. Thankfully, the world of children's literature is filled with great books that bring giant issues down to a kid-sized level. For instance, the children's books about immigration explore the complexities of this topic in a relatable, nuanced, and intelligent way. Plus, these stories are well-told and engaging for young readers.

In addition, these children's books feature a wide range of voices and insights into the immigrant experience. What's it really like to move some place where the language and culture are totally new and different? How do you navigate a new school and make new friends when everything is so unusual? These books offer kid-sized insights into this experience, covering everything from classmates who can't pronounce your name to the many dangers faced by modern refugees escaping serious conflicts.

Whatever your kid's background, these books can offer tremendous insight into the lives and experiences of others. Plus, many of these reads are just plain fun, featuring brave kids who learn how to make a life for themselves in a new country. Inspiring and informative, these children's books about immigration are a welcome addition to any home library.

1'Carmela Full of Wishes' by Matt de la Pena

'Carmela Full of Wishes' by Matt de la Pena

Amazon

On her birthday, Carmela finds a dandelion. What will she wish for? More than anything, she wants her father's papers to get fixed so he can join her family again.

2'The Little Refugee' by Anh Do & Suzanne Do

'The Little Refugee' by Anh Do & Suzanne Do

Allen & Unwin Book Publishers

Anh Do, one of Australia's top comedians, tells his immigration story in this gorgeously illustrated book. He recounts his family's escape from Vietnam, a treacherous journey by boat, and the trials of adapting to Australian life.

3'Coming to America' by Betsy Maestro

'Coming to America' by Betsy Maestro

Scholastic

Covering the native peoples' journey across the Bering Strait, the Atlantic slave trade, and modern immigration tales, this book explores American immigration stories from many different walks of life. This brightly illustrated book is aimed at readers aged 4 to 8.

4'From Far Away' by Robert Munsch & Saoussan Askar

'From Far Away' by Robert Munsch & Saoussan Askar

Barnes & Noble

This book tells the story of Saoussan and her family as they immigrate from Lebanon to Canada. Once there, she learns to cope with language barriers and new cultural traditions.

5'The Name Jar' by Yangsook Choi

'The Name Jar' by Yangsook Choi

Amazon

Moving from Korea to the United States, Unhei worries about American kids mispronouncing her name. Will she pick out a new, Americanized name, or stick with her given moniker?

6'One Green Apple' by Eve Bunting

'One Green Apple' by Eve Bunting

Barnes & Noble

A young Muslim immigrant, Farah struggles to connect with her new classmates. But a class trip to an apple orchard helps her find that sense of belonging.

7'Two White Rabbits' by Jairo Buitrago

'Two White Rabbits' by Jairo Buitrago

Barnes & Noble

As she and her father travel north toward the US border, a young girl tries to make sense of this long journey. It's a fascinating look at the refugee experience from the perspective of a child.

8'Stepping Stones' by Margriet Ruurs

'Stepping Stones' by Margriet Ruurs

Barnes & Noble

Using the stunning artwork of Nizar Ali Badr, Margriet Ruurs tells the story of the Syrian refugee crisis. Rama and her family's journey is captured in intense emotion.

9'Her Right Foot' by Dave Eggers

'Her Right Foot' by Dave Eggers

Amazon

Eggers uses this fun book to examine the Statue of Liberty, and address the fact that she's depicted in mid-stride. He uses this symbol to examine the acceptance that should be at the core of America. He muses on this nation of immigrants in a thoughtful and kid-friendly way.

10'Refugees and Migrants' by Ceri Roberts

'Refugees and Migrants' by Ceri Roberts

Amazon

Immigration is a complicated topic, but this non-fiction book explains it in a simple and sensitive way. Filled with engaging comparisons and well-researched text, this book is carefully crafted for younger readers.

11'Nowhere Boy' by Katherine Marsh

'Nowhere Boy' by Katherine Marsh

Amazon

After fleeing Aleppo, Syria, for Brussels, Belgium, young teenager Ahmed feels out of place and uncertain. But after meeting Max, another teenager from Washington, DC, the two form a friendship in this new place. It's a story about resilience and the human connections that matter so much.