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Immigrant Stories for Teens

Families who leave their homes and journey to a new country face many challenges in their new lives. Learn more about the immigrant experience with these picture books, novels, and nonfiction stories for and about children and teens.

Find more reading suggestions at Books & Media.

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A Step From Heaven by Na An

The U.S. is not what a young immigrant from Korea and her family expected.

Fiction

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City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Tina and her mother have to flee the Congo and find themselves living in Kenya as refugees.

Fiction

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Joyride by Anna Banks

Carly works hard to save money to bring back her parents who were deported to Mexico.

Fiction

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Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

After earning a scholarship, Jasmine finds out that her family's visas have expired and her whole family is now in the country illegally.

Fiction

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The Good Braider by Terry Farish

Viola's story is told in free verse. It follows her journey from war-torn Sudan to Cairo and then to Maine.

Fiction

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

Ten short stories by young adults who have immigrated from many different countries into the United States.

Fiction

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The Distance Between Us: Young Readers Edition by Reyna Grande

Reyna chronicles her life from living in poverty in Mexico to immigrating and attending college in the United States.

Nonfiction

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The Tyrant's Daughter  by J. C. Carleson

Laila and her family have to move to Washington, D.C. after her father, a brutal dictator, is killed.

Fiction

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Taking Hold: From Migrant Childhood to Columbia University by Francisco Jimenez

Francisco recounts his life from being a migrant to graduating from Columbia University.

Nonfiction

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Life, After by Sarah Littman

After a terrorist attack kills family members, Dani and her family move from Argentina to the U.S.

Fiction

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Dream Things True by Marie F. Marquardt

Alma and Evan fall in love. He is the nephew of a senator; she is an undocumented immigrant.

Fiction

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The Radius of Us by Marie F. Marquardt

After being mugged, seventeen-year-old Gretchen is still struggling to deal with her fears when she meets Phoenix, an eighteen-year-old immigrant from El Salvador.

Fiction

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Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Lupita, the oldest of eight children, was born in Mexico and is now living in the U.S. She is always taking the lead and soon discovers that her mom has cancer.

Fiction

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Enrique's Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite With His Mother  by Sonia Nazario

Enrique, a seventeen-year-old from Honduras, goes on a journey in search of his mother who migrated to the U.S.

Nonfiction

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Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung

Lucy Lam doesn't have an easy life. She lives in a poor town with her immigrant parents who work hard to give her the things she needs.

Fiction

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Illegal by Bettina Restrepo

Nora should be looking forward to her quinceñera, but instead she has to make sense of the loss of her father who migrated to the U.S.

Fiction

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The Arrival by Shaun Tan

A man embarks on a difficult journey, leaving his wife and daughter behind while he searches for a better future for them.

Fiction

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Good Enough by Paula Yoo

Patti's parents expect perfection from their Korean-American daughter. They expect good grades and for her to get into an Ivy League University.

Fiction

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The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha and Daniel meet on her last day in the U.S. before she is deported back to Jamaica.

Fiction

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American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Fabiola must move from Haiti to Detroit alone since her mom was detained by immigration officials.

Fiction