Recognizing the Refugee and Immigrant Experience in Books

Great literature reveals the world. It takes us to places we’ve never been and describes experiences we’ll likely never know. When we read, we’re reading stories about strangers. Strangers in strange lands. Yet, the best literature digs out the heart. The best literature shares something so integral to the human experience that it’s immediately recognizable. On a visceral level we understand the plight, the journey and the motivations of all these varied characters.

Because literature, at its core, creates empathy.

Our favorite books serve to remind us that no matter the context, humans everywhere are experiencing similar emotions, fighting through similar struggles, and cultivating similar dreams and ambitions. Reading is an opportunity to know that even in our diversity, we’re not all that different.

The books listed here, in one way or another, explore the lives of refugees and immigrants. These stories do not pretend to have all the answers for the complex problems associated with global migration. But what they do offer is a better understanding of our neighbors.

Read more on our blog

Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812971781
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - January 2nd, 2007

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594483295
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 2nd, 2008

The Joy Luck Club Cover Image
By Amy Tan
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143038092
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - September 21st, 2006

The Kite Runner Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594631931
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 5th, 2013

The Namesake Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780618485222
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - September 1st, 2004

American Gods: Author's Perferred Text Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062080233
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow & Company - February 5th, 2013

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812983586
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - June 12th, 2012

The Sympathizer: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802124944
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - April 12th, 2016

Angela's Ashes Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780684842677
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - May 24th, 1999

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Americanah Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307455925
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - March 4th, 2014

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The Devil's Highway: A True Story Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780316010801
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - September 1st, 2005

What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307385901
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books USA - October 9th, 2007

The Book of Unknown Americans Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780345806406
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 3rd, 2015

The Grapes of Wrath Cover Image
By John Steinbeck, Robert Demott (Introduction by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143039433
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - March 28th, 2006

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399588174
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau - November 15th, 2016

Preparation for the Next Life Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780991360826
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tyrant Books - November 3rd, 2015

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Zeitoun Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307387943
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books USA - June 15th, 2010

O Pioneers! Cover Image
$10.00
ISBN: 9780679743620
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - December 1st, 1992

The Jungle Cover Image
By Upton Sinclair, Eric Schlosser (Introduction by), Charles Burns (Illustrator)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143039587
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - December 1st, 2006

The Tortilla Curtain Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780140238280
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - September 1st, 1996

Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780807001677
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press - May 13th, 2014

La Breve y Maravillosa Vida de Oscar Wao = The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780679776697
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books USA - September 2nd, 2008

The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail Cover Image
By Oscar Martinez, Francisco Goldman (Introduction by), Daniela Maria Ugaz (Translator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781781682975
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Verso - June 3rd, 2014

I Love Yous Are for White People: A Memoir Cover Image
By Lac Su
$14.99
ISBN: 9780061543661
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - May 12th, 2009

The Making of Asian America: A History Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781476739410
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 16th, 2016

Fresh Off the Boat Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812983357
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau - November 12th, 2013

The New Odyssey: The Story of the Twenty-First Century Refugee Crisis Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781631492556
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - January 10th, 2017

Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781784784713
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Verso - October 11th, 2016

The Coyote's Bicycle: The Untold Story of 7,000 Bicycles and the Rise of a Borderland Empire Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781941040621
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - January 10th, 2017

The Year of the Runaways Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781101946107
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - March 29th, 2016

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: The Journey of Doaa Al Zamel: One Refugee's Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781250105998
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - January 24th, 2017

City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World's Largest Refugee Camp Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250118738
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - January 3rd, 2017

Invisible and Voiceless: The Struggle of Mexican Americans for Recognition, Justice, and Equality Cover Image
$20.95
ISBN: 9781450294997
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: iUniverse - February 22nd, 2011

The Journey Cover Image
By Francesca Sanna (Illustrator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781909263994
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nobrow Press - September 13th, 2016

Library Book: One Green Apple Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780618434770
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarion Books - June 1st, 2006

Teacup Cover Image
By Rebecca Young, Matt Ottley (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780735227774
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - October 4th, 2016

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Home of the Brave Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780312535636
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Square Fish - December 23rd, 2008

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Inside Out & Back Again Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780061962790
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins Publishers - January 2nd, 2013

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A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780547577319
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - October 4th, 2011

The Red Pencil Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780316247825
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - November 3rd, 2015