Welcoming Resources

Reading List

A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir by Daisy Hernández

Here, Hernández chronicles what her Cuban-Colombian family taught her about love, money, and race while also figuring out what it means to be an American and a woman. Her book is ultimately the story of a daughter who is eager to find herself and find her community while also creating a new, queer life. Moving between English and Spanish, she reflects on the impact of her parents and many of her fears growing up, resulting in a must-read, heartfelt exploration.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ifemelu and Obinze meet and fall in love as teenagers in Lagos, Nigeria. After graduating, though, both set off for independent journeys in different countries. How will their experience as immigrants change them forever? And when, years later, they meet again, will they be the same people they once were?

My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive by Julissa Arce

Although Arce has a more recent memoir, her journey begins with this one, growing up on the outskirts of San Antonio as an undocumented immigrant while dreaming of professional and financial success. Her honest writing explores the physical, financial, and emotional costs of being a high-achiever while also keeping the secret of her immigration status. Arce paints a picture of the typical undocumented immigrant—the person who could be your next door neighbor or your family down the street. Though her story is incredible, it's also not unusual—which is part of what makes it an incredible tale.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Looking for a YA book about the immigration experience that will appeal to high schoolers? This National Book Award finalist is about a girl coming to the U.S. from Haiti with her mother. Unexpectedly, her mother is detained, leaving Fabiola to navigate a new country—on her own.

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero

She's now best known for her roles on Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, but Guerrero has an immigration story of her own. When she was just 14 years old, Guerrero's parents were detained and deported while she was at school. Remaining in the country (being born in the U.S., she herself was a citizen), she had to rely on the kindness of family friends to survive. In the Country We Love brings to life one extraordinary woman's resilience in the face of a true nightmare but somehow finds the strength to keep going.

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Behold the Dreamers is a modern epic following a Cameroonian couple trying to make it in New York. Their arrival, however, coincides with the Great Recession, making a hard adjustment even more daunting.

Native Speaker by Chang-Rae Lee

Henry Park is a Korean immigrant who spends his life trying to be a native speaker of English; trying to assimilate, essentially, into American culture. Ironically, the more American he becomes, the more alienated he feels from his own self. When he agrees to spy on Korean-American politicians, his own questions of identity are drawn into sharp relief.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummings

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy―two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia―trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?