Plight of Immigrants

With war, persecution, and violence prevalent in many parts of the world, refugees are fleeing in record numbers trying to find a better life elsewhere.  Their assimilation into a world new to them is tenuous and difficult for a multitude of reasons, as well as the impact it is having on the receiving countries. It is a situation none of us are prepared to handle.  Some religious groups and political factions have voiced their negative opinions concerning the arrival of more immigrants coming into their way of life.  Foreign policies of many countries are being delved into for answers to this human quandary. The issue is expanding daily with overcrowded boats sinking and killing frightened people that were taken advantage of by selfish boat owners. Our own children see news reports and are with people from other cultures in their lives.  The books presented here are just a handful of choices seeking to tell the plight of refugees coming into our communities and the devastating experiences they’ve endured that we can’t fathom.  Their arrival has had a major effect on many countries.  This is a multi-faceted problem, and we know it has occurred in history previously.

journeyThe Journey by Francesca Sanna. 9781909263991. 2016. Gr. Ps-1

With well chosen words and cut paper illustrations, the author presents a collage of the personal story and experiences of a refugee family that possessed great strength as they tried to find a safe place to live. Written from the perspective of a child, we see the journey it took to make it clear from the danger and violence in their homeland. This is a very powerful book to read to children to explain the agony a family suffered in their dangerous escape plan to migrate to a new land.

azziAzzi In Between by Sarah Garland. 9781847802613. 2013. Gr. 2-5

Azzi and her family are forced to flee from a war torn country to safety.  No specific time period or geographic place is noted, but it is a compelling true story. The graphic-novel style portrays the feelings and experiences of the family in their journey to a new place. The displacement and difficulties the family faced are very real.

insideoutInside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai. 9780061962783. 2011. Gr. 4-7

The author skillfully captures the disorientation a child felt in 1975 coming to America from war torn Vietnam.  The language and customs were so different from their home country. Back then, families coming to America had a sponsor family or church that assisted in their assimilation to this new culture. Poems and a bit of humor add dimension to her story.

adamAdam & Thomas by Aharon Applefeld. 9781609806347. 2015. Gr. 4-6

Two nine year old Jewish boys are left in the woods by their mothers who must return to the ghetto. Their mothers did this act out of love, feeling the boys had a better chance of survival in the wilderness than what was happening to the Jews during World War II.  The boys’ survival skills and help from a friend risking her own life to supply them with food helped them stay alive.  In the authors’ note, he shared some of his own experiences during World War II.

90miles90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis. 9781596431683. 2010. Gr. 5-8

Based on the real life story the author and his brother experienced as they were sent to America from Cuba by their family via the “Operation Pedro Pan” boat lift to reach a safe environment.  Not expecting the tough life living in a Miami orphanage, the boys had to test their stamina and endurance along with the other 14,000 children arriving.

Other references

Anna & Solomon by Elaine Snyder. 9780374303624. 2014. Gr. K-3

City of Orphans by Avi. 9781416971023. 2011. Gr. 5-8

Ashes of Roses by M. J. Auch.  9781466852228. 2015. Gr. 7-10