Picture Book Highlights | Immigrant Heritage Month

By Monica C. RSS Thu, June 10, 2021

How does it feel to be an immigrant? Imagine yourself leaving your home, your family and your country to settle in a completely different one.  How would you feel? What would you miss? And how would you define home?

Whether you’re an immigrant yourself or not, these stories will soothe and illuminate what it’s like to live in two different worlds at the same time.

 

A Thousand White Butterflies written by Jessica Betancourt-Perez and Karen Lynn Williams; illustrated by Gina Maldonado

ebook available from Overdrive

Isabella has recently arrived from Colombia with her mother and abuela. She misses Papa, who is still in South America. It’s her first day of school, her make-new-friends day, but when classes are canceled because of too much snow, Isabella misses warm, green, Colombia more than ever. Then Isabella meets Katie and finds out that making friends in the cold is easier than she thought!

My Tree written by Hope Lim; illustrated by Il Sung Na

ebook available from Overdrive

A young boy, who recently arrived from Korea, finds a glorious plum tree in his new backyard. It reminds him of a tree his family had back home, and he names it "Plumee" for the deep purple plums on its branches. Whenever the boy is homesick, he knows he can take shelter in Plumee’s tall branches. When a storm brings the old tree down, he and his friends have all kinds of adventures on its branches, as it becomes a dragon, a treehouse, and a ship in their imaginations. But soon it’s time to say goodbye when the remains of the tree are taken away. Before long, a new plum tree is planted, new blossoms bloom, and a new friendship takes root.

Home Is in Between written by Mitali Perkins; illustrated by Lavanya Naidu

ebook available from Overdrive

Shanti and her parents say goodbye to the monsoon rains in their Indian village. They move to a snowy town on the other side of the world. At first, it isn't easy for Shanti to be new. Back and forth she trudges between her family's Bengali traditions and her new country's culture. Again and again, in between. She feasts on biryani rice while kids in town eat hot dogs and PB&J sandwiches. She watches Bollywood movies at home and Hollywood movies with new friends. Is she still Indian? Is she becoming American? How should she define home?

The Day Saida Arrived written by Susana Gómez Redondo; illustrated by Sonja Wimmer

What happens when a new friend arrives who doesn’t speak your language? A young girl searches for the words to help her friend feel welcome and happy in her new home, and along the way learns about differences and similarities in countries and words. The two forge a strong bond while they each learn the other’s language, exploring the world around them. A joyous, lyrical text—including English translations, pronunciations, and the complete Arabic alphabet—offers an accessible, fresh approach to talking about immigration

Like a Dandelion by Huy Voun Lee

Like feathery seeds, a young girl and her mother take flight, putting down roots in an adopted country. Soon they blossom in their new home, strong and beautiful among hundreds of others just like them.

Sugar in Milk written by Thrity Umrigar; illustrated by Khoa Lee

ebook available from Overdrive

A young immigrant girl joins her aunt and uncle in a new country that is unfamiliar to her. She struggles with loneliness, with a fierce longing for the culture and familiarity of home, until one day, her aunt takes her on a walk. As the duo strolls through their city park, the girl's aunt begins to tell her an old myth and a story within the story begins. A long time ago, a group of refugees arrived on a foreign shore. The local king met them, determined to refuse their request for refuge. But there was a language barrier, so the king filled a glass with milk and pointed to it as a way of saying that the land was full and couldn't accommodate the strangers. Then, the leader of the refugees dissolved sugar in a glass of milk. His message was clear: Like sugar in milk, our presence in your country will sweeten your lives. The king embraced the refugee, welcoming him and his people. The folktale depicted in this book was a part of author Thrity Umrigar's Zoroastrian upbringing as a Parsi child in India, but resonates for children of all backgrounds, especially those settling in a new homeland.

Watch Me: A Story of Immigration and Inspiration written by Doyin Richards; illustrated by Joe Cepeda

ebook available from Overdrive

A picture book about immigration, based on a true story. Joe came to America from Africa when he was young. He worked hard in school, made friends, and embraced his new home. Like so many immigrants before and after him, Joe succeeded when many thought he would fail.

Wishes written by Muon Van; illustrated by Victo Ngai

ebook available from Overdrive

A powerful and honest story about one Vietnamese family's search for a new home on the other side of the world, and the long-lasting and powerful impact that makes on the littlest member of the family. Inspired by actual events in the author's life, this is a narrative that is both timely and timeless. Told through the eyes of a young girl, the story chronicles a family's difficult and powerful journey to pack up what they can carry and to leave their world behind, traveling to a new and unknown place in a crowded boat.

The Most Beautiful Thing written by Kao Kalia Yang; illustrated by Khoa Le

ebook available from Overdrive

Drawn from author Kao Kalia Yang's childhood experiences as a Hmong refugee, this moving picture book portrays a family with a great deal of love and little money. Weaving together Kalia's story with that of her beloved grandmother, the book moves from the jungles of Laos to the family's early years in the United States. When Kalia becomes unhappy about having to do without and decides she wants braces to improve her smile, it is her grandmother—a woman who has just one tooth in her mouth—who helps her see that true beauty is found with those we love most. 

Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms written by Robert Paul Weston; illustrated by Misa Saburi

Sakura’s dad gets a new job in America, so she and her parents make the move from their home in Japan. When she arrives in the States, most of all she misses her grandmother and the cherry blossom trees, under which she and her grandmother used to play and picnic. She wonders how she’ll ever feel at home in this new place, with its unfamiliar language and landscape. One day, she meets her neighbor, a boy named Luke, and begins to feel a little more settled. When her grandmother becomes ill though, her family takes a trip back to Japan. Sakura is sad when she returns to the States and once again reflects on all she misses. Luke does his best to cheer her up—and tells her about a surprise he knows she’ll love, but she’ll have to wait till spring. In the meantime, Sakura and Luke’s friendship blooms and finally, when spring comes, Luke takes her to see the cherry blossom trees flowering right there in her new neighborhood.

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

ebook available from Overdrive

This book is a celebration of making your home with the things you always carry: your resilience, your dreams, your hopes, and your history. It's the story of finding your way in a new place, of navigating an unfamiliar world, and finding the best parts of it. In dark times, it's a promise that you can make better tomorrows.

Here I Am written by Patti Kim; illustrated by Sonia Sánchez

Newly arrived from their faraway homeland, a boy and his family enter into the lights, noise, and traffic of a busy American city in this dazzling wordless picture book. The language is unfamiliar. Food, habits, games, and gestures are puzzling. The boy clings tightly to his special keepsake from home and wonders how he will find his way. How will he once again become the happy, confident kid he used to be? Walk in his shoes as he takes the first tentative steps toward discovering joy in his new world.

The Suitcase by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros

ebook available from Overdrive

When a weary stranger arrives one day with only a suitcase, everyone is full of questions: Why is he here? Where has he come from? And just what is in that suitcase? To learn the answers, they can either trust the newcomer or discover what they risk by not believing him. A story about hope and kindness, truth and perception—and most importantly—about how we treat those in need.

Be sure to check our catalog and Overdrive Kids eReading Room, for these titles and many more being added!


Leave this field empty

Add a Comment to Picture Book Highlights | Immigrant Heritage Month

Your email is kept private and will not be shown publicly