Seven Illustrated Books that Celebrate Immigration

Moving from one country to another can be a hard thing for kids to understand. It’s about more than just a physical shift—it’s about holding onto your culture and heritage. We’ve got seven books that help your child understand and celebrate an international move.

Rani in Search of the Rainbow by Shaila Abdullah

Following the Pakistan floods, Rani’s family takes refuge at a relief camp. The family does their best to help other victims of the flood. Eight-year-old Rani doesn’t know what to do to help but comes up with a unique solution to bring joy to her new friends.

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Nobody can pronounce “Unhei,” or at least that’s what the new Korean girl thinks when she starts in a new school. The solution? Get everybody in the class gets to help pick a new name by filling up a name jar. But after a week of being “Jane” and “Suzy, ” one of Unhe’s classmates discovers what her real name means and encourages her to use it. This book teaches us to cherish who we are even in new situations.

Coming to America: The Kids’ Book About Immigration by David Fassler

This book is filled with illustrations and written descriptions by children who have immigrated to the United States. It’s a beautiful first-hand account of what it’s like for a child to come to a new country.

Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say

One of the older books on this list, it is a timeless story about a grandfather who moves from Japan to California and back again. The grandfather’s love for both places and their related cultures gives one an appreciation of the complexity of an immigrant life. This book won the Caldecott Medal for most distinguished picture book.

This is Me: A Story of Who We Are and Where We Came From by Jamie Lee Curtis

This book, written by Jamie Lee Curtis, poses the question: If you had to fill your suitcase with all the things that are most important to you, what would you pack? There are so many objects that we can relate to. But with all the things and people and places in your life, what defines us? The book even has a pop-up suitcase on the back cover for young readers to fill.

Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation by Edwidge Danticat

Saya’s mother is sent to a detention center for undocumented immigrants. Saya must take solace in the sound of her mother’s voice on the answering machine and the cassette tapes she sends her. While her father spends his evenings writing letters to officials, Saya writes her own story based on the Haitian folk stories her mother tells, and she learns the power words have to change lives.

My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald

A little girl nicknamed Cartwheel moves from Sudan to Australia and finds security in the metaphorical blanket she weaves of her language and memories. She meets a girl at the park who helps her weave a new blanket, with new words and experiences, to go along with the old one. Written by an Austrian immigrant to Australia, this book perfectly captures the experience for anyone who has been the new kid.

All of these books will help your little one to come to terms with a big cultural shift, and hold on to the old while embracing the new.

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