A guide to books on the experience of immigrant children and teens

For Immediate Release
Thu, 01/18/2018


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association

(312) 280-5052


CHICAGO — From its earliest days, the American experience has encompassed immigrants. But in our current atmosphere of political polarization, is it any wonder that many immigrant children feel excluded and isolated? In fact, research shows first- and second- generation immigrant children and teens can be at risk of experiencing identity crisis, self-depreciation, and low self-esteem due to intergenerational and intercultural conflicts. These young readers need books that show them that their experiences are not unique—and these books also carry the important potential of promoting general understanding of and tolerance toward immigrant groups. The first resource of its kind, “The Stories We Share: A Guide to PreK–12 Books on the Experience of Immigrant Children and Teens in the United States,” published by ALA Editions, spotlights dozens of award-winning titles that primarily feature a first- or second-generation immigrant child or teen as a narrator or main character. A valuable tool for teaching, collection development, and readers’ advisory, in this book ALA Carnegie-Whitney Grant-recipient Ladislava N. Khailova:

  • identifies both fiction and non-fiction titles published in the United States and Canada between 1990 and 2015 that focus on the twentieth or twenty-first century immigrant experience;
  • organizes selections by their world region of birth, including Asia, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, with further subdivisions by countries of origin;
  • provides historical background on the immigration patterns of each group, with a list of additional resources on the topic; and
  • offers discussion starters and questions to promote self-reflection, sense of connectedness, and empathy.

Khailova is an associate professor at the Founders Memorial Library, Northern Illinois University, serving as a humanities and social sciences subject specialist and coordinator of library services for persons with disabilities. Born in the Czech Republic, she came to the United States as a Fulbright grantee to study twentieth-century American literature and, subsequently, library and information science. She has published articles on the historical and cultural factors that shape constructions of the social Other (in terms of disability, national origin, race, ethnicity, or gender), including the immigrant Other. She has also been awarded several grants in her topic area.

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