From the time she was brought to this country by her hardworking parents as a child, Julissa Arce - the scholarship winner, the honors college graduate, the young woman who climbed the ladder to become a vice president at Goldman Sachs - had secretly lived as an undocumented immigrant.
When Carmela wakes up on her birthday, her wish has already come true — she's finally old enough to join her big brother as he does the family errands. Together, they travel through their neighborhood, past the crowded bus stop, the fenced-off repair shop, and the panadería, until they arrive at the Laundromat, where Carmela finds a lone dandelion growing in the pavement. But before she can blow its white fluff away, her brother tells her she has to make a wish. If only she can think of just the right wish to make...
In 2007, Los Angeles Times reporter Sonia Nazario published Enrique's Journey, a book based on her Pulitzer-Prize winning reports about a teenage boy's harrowing trip north to the U.S. from Honduras to find his mother, who had immigrated to the U.S. eleven years earlier. Sonia has now published a Young Adult version of the compelling and gritty book adapted for readers 12 and older.
Emily Francis' memoir tells her story through a series of letters she writes to eight immigrant students in whom she sees pieces of herself. She shares memories from her childhood in Guatemala, where she worked in her mother’s fruit-selling business and helped raise her four younger siblings, through her journey into the United States as an undocumented, unaccompanied minor, and to her experience fulfilling her dream of becoming an award-winning educator of immigrant students and English learners.
Emily Francis’ If You Only Knew tells her story — from her childhood in Guatemala, where she worked in her mother’s fruit-selling business and helped raise her four younger siblings, through her journey into the United States as an undocumented, unaccompanied minor, and to her experience fulfilling her dream of becoming a teacher — through a series of letters she writes to eight immigrant students in whom she sees pieces of herself.
Product Description: Just Like Us tells the story of four high school students whose parents entered this country illegally from Mexico. We meet the girls on the eve of their senior prom in Denver, Colorado. All four of the girls have grown up in the United States, and all four want to live the American dream, but only two have documents. Just Like Us is a coming-of-age story about girlhood, friendship, and identity — what it means to steal an identity, what it means to have a public identity, what it means to inherit an identity from parents.
When nine-year-old Betita’s beloved father is arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported to Mexico, Betita and her pregnant mother are left behind on their own. Soon they too are detained and must learn to survive in a family detention camp outside of Los Angeles. Even in cruel and inhumane conditions, Betita finds heart in her own poetry and in the community she and her mother find in the camp. The voices of her fellow asylum seekers fly above the hatred keeping them caged, but each day threatens to tear them down lower than they ever thought they could be.
"When Mamá's purse falls on the floor, Sofia gets a peek at Mamá's old Resident Alien card and comes to the conclusion that Mamá might be an alien from outer space. Sofia heads to the library to learn more about aliens. Some are small and some are tall. Some have four fingers on each hand and some have large, round eyes. Their skin can be gray or blue or green. But Mamá looks like a human mother! Could she really be an alien? Sofia is still puzzling out this mystery when she sees an alien-looking Mamá one night.
Before becoming a successful actress and landing a spot on the megahit Netflix show Orange is the New Black, Diane Guerrero was a young girl living in Boston. One day, while Guerrero was at school, her undocumented immigrant parents were taken from their home, detained, and deported to their native country, Colombia. Guerrero's life, which had been full of the support of a loving family, was turned upside down.
Born in the picturesque town of Taxco, Mexico, Julissa Arce was brought to Texas at the age of eight to join her parents, who had already moved north. From then on, Julissa secretly lived as an undocumented immigrant, went on to become a scholarship winner and an honors college graduate, and climbed the ladder to become a vice president at Goldman Sachs. Julissa's story provides a deep look into the little-understood world of a new generation of undocumented immigrants in the United States today.
Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father's restaurant, Nacho's Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans — leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican American parents or following her own path. Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho's is an opportunity for just that — a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo's, and to find the father who left him behind.
Product Description: Zitlally's family is undocumented, and her father has just been arrested for speeding and deported back to Mexico. As her family waits for him to return — they've paid a coyote to guide him back across the border — they receive news that he and the coyote's other charges have been kidnapped and are being held for ransom. Meanwhile, Zitlally and a new friend find a dog in the forest near their trailer park. They name it Star for the star-shaped patch over its eye.
Sixteen-year-old Sonia Ocampo was born on the night of the worst storm Tres Montes had ever seen. And when the winds mercifully stopped, an unshakable belief in the girl’s protective powers began. Sonia knows she has no special powers, but how can she disappoint those who look to her for solace? When she gets a chance to travel to the city and work in the home of a wealthy woman, she seizes it. But when news arrives that her beloved brother has disappeared while looking for work, she learns to her sorrow that she can never truly leave the past or her family behind.
Every year, thousands of migrant children and teens cross the U.S.-Mexico border. The journey is treacherous and sometimes deadly, but worth the risk for migrants who are escaping gang violence and poverty in their home countries. And for those refugees who do succeed? They face an immigration process that is as winding and multi-tiered as the journey that brought them here.
Dan-el Padilla Peralta has lived the American dream. As a boy, he came here legally with his family. Together they left Santo Domingo behind, but when their visas lapsed, Dan-el's courageous mother was determined to make a better life for her bright sons. While Dan-el was only in grade school, the family joined the ranks of the city's homeless. Dan-el, his mother, and brother lived in a downtown shelter where Dan-el's only refuge was the meager library.
Undocumented is the story of immigrant workers who have come to the United States without papers. Every day, these men and women join the workforce and contribute positively to society. The story is told via the ancient Mixtec codex format. Juan grew up in Mexico working in the fields to help provide for his family. Struggling for money, Juan crosses over into the United States and becomes an undocumented worker, living in a poor neighborhood, working hard to survive.
"Perez, a developmental psychologist and professor in Southern California, plumbs the stories of students living with the constant threat of deportation for an answer to the question, 'What does it mean to be an American?' Raised in this country by parents who gained access illegally, the 16 high school, college and post-graduate students profiled here (standing in for 65,000 nationwide) have each embraced our language, culture and collective dream, but are denied pathways to success.
In the spring of 2018, Guatemalan American high school senior Milagros "Millie" Vargas knows her life is about to change. She has lived in Corpus Christi, Texas, ever since her parents sought asylum there when she was a baby. Now a citizen, Millie devotes herself to school and caring for her younger siblings while her mom works as a housekeeper for the wealthy Wheeler family. With college on the horizon, Millie is torn between attending her dream school and staying close to home, where she knows she's needed.
See more great related resources and videos in our Multicultural Literature section!