Undocumented immigrant experiences

Arce, Julissa  Someone like Me: How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream
Gr. 4–6, middle school    240 pp.    Little, Brown

At once heartbreaking and full of hope, this moving memoir is a survival story that recounts the Mexican American author's adolescence spent as an undocumented immigrant in Texas. Arce brings to life the current reality of many, and her story will evoke empathy. This well-written testament to the power of hope, sacrifice, and education also conveys information about various immigration laws. Includes an insert of family photos.
Subjects: Autobiographies; Women—Autobiographies; Women—Biographies; Mexican Americans; Women—Mexican Americans; Mexico; Undocumented immigrants; Immigration; Survival; Texas

Argueta, Jorge  Somos como las nubes / We Are like the Clouds
Gr. K–3, 4–6    32 pp.    Groundwood

Illustrated by Alfonso Ruano. Translated by Elisa Amado. Argueta's bilingual collection gives voice to refugee children who emigrate from Central American countries to the United States in search of safety or better lives. The poems, written in the first person, present the candid perspective of the children's experiences; they include whimsical imagery but also scary threats. Delicate illustrations present both realistic portrayals and surreal depictions that complement the textual imagery.
Subjects: Poetry; Refugees; Foreign languages—Spanish language; Immigration; Central America; Bilingual books; Books in translation; Undocumented immigrants

Guerrero, Diane and Moroz, Erica  My Family Divided: One Girl's Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope
Gr. 4–6, middle school    251 pp.    Holt

This young readers' adaptation of the adult memoir In the Country We Love tells the heartbreaking story of a girl who was left behind when her undocumented parents were deported to Colombia. Guerrero's experience provides readers with an inside view of a contemporary issue and will trigger a variety of emotions in readers. Photographs are sprinkled throughout, and the book ends with a call to action. Websites.
Subjects: Women—Biographies; Women—Autobiographies; Autobiographies; Undocumented immigrants; Colombia; Immigration; Loss (Psychology); Family—Parent and child; Activism; Social reformers; Women—Social reformers; Women—Actors; Actors; Women—Latina Americans; Latino Americans

Kuklin, Susan  We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults
Middle school, high school    182 pp.    Candlewick

The Trump administration's 2017 repeal of DACA put photojournalist Kuklin and this work-in-progress in an awkward place: would she be exposing her nine interviewees, undocumented all, to possible arrest and deportation? The book was postponed, photographs of the subjects removed, and names replaced by first initials. Kuklin includes an array of circumstances that may broaden readers' understanding, conveying the difficult choices undocumented immigrants face at every step of their journeys. Reading list, timeline, websites. Ind.
Subjects: Social Sciences; Immigration; Prejudices; Race relations; Refugees; Social acceptance; Undocumented immigrants

Saedi, Sara  Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card
Middle school, high school    280 pp.    Knopf

This funny, engaging memoir focuses on the Iranian American author's teenage years after she discovers that she and her family are undocumented immigrants. Despite her fear of deportation, Saedi was equally preoccupied with the trappings of teenage life: finding a boyfriend, achieving clear skin, and keeping her unibrow at bay. Saedi's irreverent voice buoys a warm story of an immigrant family's adjustment to American life. Black-and-white snapshots are interspersed throughout.
Subjects: Individual Biographies; California; Women—Biographies; Autobiographies; Immigration; Undocumented immigrants; Iranian Americans; Schools—High schools; Women—Autobiographies; Diaries; Iran

From the September 2019 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to reviews of books, ebooks, and more