Immigrant Voices

american_street.jpgThis year, several young adult books were published about teen immigrants and their experiences living in the U.S. These stories explore the challenges involved in moving to a new country, as well as issues related to race, culture, identity, and community.

If you’re looking for a story told from a different perspective, check out one of these reads featuring teen immigrant characters!

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Fabiola, an immigrant from Haiti, is excited to start her new life in the United States. But when her mother is detained at the airport in Detroit by Immigrant and Customs Enforcement agents, her dreams come to a crashing halt. Interwoven with elements of magical realism, the story follows Fabiola as she reunites with distant relatives, begins high school, and navigates a new romance and neighborhood dangers--all on her own.  

The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Michael and Mina find an instant connection that neither could have predicted, given their disparate backgrounds. Michael is white and his parents belong to an anti-immigrant group that opposes refugees entering their community in Australia. Mina is a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan, who is a gifted and hardworking new student at Michael’s private school. The two find that they have a bond and a romance develops.

The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt

Marquart’s novel is the story of two teens, Phoenix and Gretchen, who are both coping with trauma. Phoenix is an asylum seeker from El Salvador, who is fighting to keep himself and his brother in the country and away from gang violence back home. Gretchen is struggling with post traumatic stress and panic attacks after being robbed and assaulted in her neighborhood. The teens meet and find a connection over shared experiences, finding comfort in each other’s presence.

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha and her family have happily called New York City their home for the past 10 years. Bad news arrives in the form of a deportation order following her father’s arrest for a DUI, meaning that the family must go back to their homeland of Jamaica, a place Natasha hardly remembers from childhood. Afraid and upset, Natasha flees her apartment to clear her head. It is then that she runs into Daniel, a Korean-American teen who is dealing with family struggles of his own. Finding themselves quickly drawn to each other, they spend the day together in what may be her last day in the city.

 
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