Following the News: YA about Undocumented Immigrants

Following the News: YA about Undocumented Immigrants www.onemorestamp.com

They say that books help develop empathy. We can see ourselves in them. We can see the lives of others in them. And sometimes when we learn to truely see others we can open the barres between “them” and “us” and join them. Here are ten books by or about undocumented teens. Let’s have the courage to let their stories and the real stories that are going on all around us change us for the better.

Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author.
— Rudine Sims Bishop, 1990

Need some help?

Sign a ACLU petition to STOP THE GOVERNMENT FROM ABUSING IMMIGRANT CHILDREN.
Sign an ACLU petition to Stop Families being Seperated
Follow @Celeste_Pewter on Twitter
Check out her thread here for a script to call your representatives. Celeste is amazing and writes one for almost issue that comes up. You can also sign up for her daily action email here.


Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz 

Something in Between
by Melissa de la Cruz 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: October 4th 2016
Rating: important topic but fluffier than I wanted
Times Read: 1
Recommended By: I was searching for books on this topic

From Goodreads:

Even though you can’t control the things that happen to you, you can control your perspective and your actions. There’s never a moment you can’t choose who you want to be.

It feels like there’s no ground beneath me, like everything I’ve ever done has been a lie. Like I’m breaking apart, shattering. Who am I? Where do I belong?

Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. Pretty and popular, she’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship.

And then everything shatters. A national scholar award invitation compels her parents to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.

For the first time, Jasmine rebels, trying all those teen things she never had time for in the past. Even as she’s trying to make sense of her new world, it’s turned upside down by Royce Blakely, the charming son of a high-ranking congressman. Jasmine no longer has any idea where—or if—she fits into the American Dream. All she knows is that she’s not giving up. Because when the rules you lived by no longer apply, the only thing to do is make up your own. 


Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi 

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card
by Sara Saedi 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: February 6th 2018
Rating: not as good as I wanted it to be
Times read: 1
Recommended by: The Hey YA podcast

From Goodreads:

At thirteen, bright-eyed, straight-A student Sara Saedi uncovered a terrible family secret: she was breaking the law simply by living in the United States. Only two years old when her parents fled Iran, she didn’t learn of her undocumented status until her older sister wanted to apply for an after-school job, but couldn’t because she didn’t have a Social Security number.

Fear of deportation kept Sara up at night, but it didn’t keep her from being a teenager. She desperately wanted a green card, along with clear skin, her own car, and a boyfriend.

Americanized follows Sara’s progress toward getting her green card, but that’s only a portion of her experiences as an Iranian-“American” teenager. From discovering that her parents secretly divorced to facilitate her mother’s green card application to learning how to tame her unibrow, Sara pivots from the terrifying prospect that she might be kicked out of the country at any time to the almost-as-terrifying possibility that she might be the only one of her friends without a date to the prom. 

My focus on school was a side effect of battling stage-four ICGC, also known as immigrant child guilt complex. This is a chronic disorder that affects only children of immigrants, who experience a constant gnawing guilt for the multitude of sacrifices their parents made to bring them to the United States. There is no cure for ICGC, but treatments include making your mom and dad proud.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

American Street
by Ibi Zoboi 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: February 14th 2017 
Rating: powerful
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Twitter

So trying to come to America from the wrong country is a crime?

From Goodreads:

The rock in the water does not know the pain of the rock in the sun.

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream? 


First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants by Donald R. Gallo

First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants
by Donald R. Gallo

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 9th 2004
Rating: a good
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

Fleeing from political violence in Venezuela, Amina and her family have settled in the United States. Sarah, adopted, is desperate to know her Korean birth parents. Adrian’s friends have some spooky — and hilarious — misconceptions about his Romanian origins. Whether their transition is from Mexico to the United States or from Palestine to New Mexico, the characters in this anthology have all ventured far and have faced countless challenges. Each of these stories is unique, and each one has something to say to all of us.

A series of words, a sequence of movements — a story, a dance, these things Grandma passed on to me, these things that are almost sacred in their simplicity. And they are mine, yet they belong to me only as much as the flame of a candle belongs to its wick. When the candle is melted away, the flame is passed on — that’s all.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

The Book of Unknown Americans
by Cristina Henriquez 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: June 3rd 2014
Rating: beautiful writing
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

I felt the way I often felt in this country - simultaneously conspicuous and invisible, like an oddity whom everyone noticed but chose to ignore.

From Goodreads:

A dazzling, heartbreaking page-turner destined for breakout status: a novel that gives voice to millions of Americans as it tells the story of the love between a Panamanian boy and a Mexican girl: teenagers living in an apartment block of immigrant families like their own.

After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel's recovery--the piece of the American Dream on which they've pinned all their hopes--will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.

At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panamá fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she's sustained, is a gentle, funny, and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.

Peopled with deeply sympathetic characters, this poignant yet unsentimental tale of young love tells a riveting story of unflinching honesty and humanity that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be an American. An instant classic is born.


Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos

Ask Me No Questions
by Marina Budhos 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: February 1st 2006
Rating: dark and painful
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

The most important thing, Abba said, was not to stick out. Don’t let them see you. But I think it hurt him, to hide so much.

Nadira and her family are illegal aliens, fleeing to the Canadian border -- running from the country they thought was their home. For years since emigrating from Bangladesh, they have lived on expired visas in New York City, hoping they could someday realize their dream of becoming legal citizens of the United States. But after 9/11, everything changes. Suddenly, being Muslim means being dangerous, a suspected terrorist. And when Nadira's father is arrested and detained at the border, Nadira and her older sister, Aisha, are sent back to Queens and told to carry on, as if everything is the same. 

But of course nothing is the same. Nadira and Aisha live in fear they'll have to return to a Bangladesh they hardly know. Aisha, always the responsible one, falls apart. It's up to Nadira to find a way to bring her family back together again. 

Critically acclaimed author Marina Budhos has given us a searing portrait of contemporary America in the days of terrorism, orange alerts, and the Patriot Act, and a moving and important story about something most people take for granted -- citizenship and acceptance in their country. 


Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez

Return to Sender
by Julia Alvarez 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: January 13th 2009 
Rating: TBR
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum id ligula porta felis euismod semper.
— Pablo

After Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?

In a novel full of hope, but no easy answers, Julia Alvarez weaves a beautiful and timely story that will stay with readers long after they finish it


My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive by Julissa Arce

My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive
by Julissa Arce

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 13th 2016 
Rating: TBR
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

Since the age of fourteen, I had learned to live an alternate reality, an imagined reality in which my immigration status didn’t matter. Denial had become the only way I could move through life.

For an undocumented immigrant, what is the true cost of the American Dream? Julissa Arce shares her story in a riveting memoir.

When she was 11 years old Julissa Arce left Mexico and came to the United States on a tourist visa to be reunited with her parents, who dreamed the journey would secure her a better life. When her visa expired at the age of 15, she became an undocumented immigrant. Thus began her underground existence, a decades long game of cat and mouse, tremendous family sacrifice, and fear of exposure. After the Texas Dream Act made a college degree possible, Julissa's top grades and leadership positions landed her an internship at Goldman Sachs, which led to a full time position--one of the most coveted jobs on Wall Street. Soon she was a Vice President, a rare Hispanic woman in a sea of suits and ties, yet still guarding her "underground" secret. In telling her personal story of separation, grief, and ultimate redemption, Arce shifts the immigrant conversation, and changes the perception of what it means to be an undocumented immigrant.


Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt

Dream Things True
by Marie Marquardt

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 1st 2015
Rating:
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

This girl had no shortage of sarcasm, but he could keep up.

A modern-day Romeo and Juliet story in which a wealthy Southern boy falls in love with an undocumented Mexican girl and together they face perils in their hostile Georgia town.

Evan, a soccer star and the nephew of a conservative Southern Senator, has never wanted for much -- except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two-years-old, excels in school, and has a large, warm Mexican family. Never mind their differences, the two fall in love, and they fall hard. But when ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) begins raids on their town, Alma knows that she needs to tell Evan her secret. There's too much at stake. But how to tell her country-club boyfriend that she’s an undocumented immigrant? That her whole family and most of her friends live in the country without permission. What follows is a beautiful, nuanced, well-paced exploration of the complications of immigration, young love, defying one’s family, and facing a tangled bureaucracy that threatens to completely upend two young lives. 


The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu

The Secret Side of Empty
by Maria E. Andreu 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: March 11th 2014 
Rating: satisfying
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

You’d figure you would have checked to see if the two names matched together before naming me that. Or if anyone at all could ever pronounce it in America.

From Goodreads:

As a straight-A student with a budding romance and loyal best friend, M.T.’s life seems as apple-pie American as her blondish hair and pale skin. But M.T. hides two facts to the contrary: her full name of Monserrat Thalia and her status as an undocumented immigrant. 

But it’s harder to hide now that M.T.’s a senior. Her school’s National Honor Society wants her to plan their trip abroad, her best friend won’t stop bugging her to get her driver’s license, and all everyone talks about is where they want to go to college. M.T. is pretty sure she can’t go to college, and with high school ending and her family life unraveling, she’s staring down a future that just seems empty. In the end, M.T. will need to trust herself and others to stake a claim in the life that she wants.

Author Maria E. Andreu draws from her personal experience as a (formerly) undocumented immigrant to explore an issue that affects over one million children in the U.S. But while the subject matter is timely, it is M.T.’s sharp, darkly funny voice and longing for a future that makes this story universally poignant. 

Anyway, I am mad. Read some books and call your representatives. That is what I am going to do.

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