Crossing Borders: A Round-Up of Posts About Books on Immigrants and The Immigration Experience

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Jen Sherman

Staff Writer

Jen is an urban and cultural geographer who did a PhD on public libraries and reading. As a researcher, her interests are focused on libraries, reading, book retailing and the book industry more broadly. As a reader, she reads a lot of crime fiction, non-fiction, and chicklit. And board books. All the board books. You can also find her writing about books for children and babies at Instagram: shittyhousewife / babylibrarians Twitter: @jennnigan

There have been a few headlines of late regarding immigration, border controls, security, how best to treat and deal with people who try and cross borders without the appropriate paperwork. In light of this current discussion around migration (legal or otherwise), it seemed like a good idea to put together a reading list. At Book Riot, we have written about books about the immigrant experience on multiple occasions. This is a handy round-up of what we’ve previously published.

immigration books

But before I get into the links, a book recommendation! The Line Becomes a River is an amazing memoir by Francisco Cantú, a man who worked as a US Border Patrol agent between 2008 and 2012. It’s beautifully written and offers a unique perspective on what happens at the border. It is a particularly timely read now. And now, for more recommendations on books about immigration, click on.

I have previously written about moving to America and a couple of books that shed more light on the matter.

Jamie has recommendations for immigration stories by and about Latinos. 

Earlier this year, Angel discussed books about immigration that are coming out in 2018

Cassandra has 11 books about immigration or on migrants here. She also wrote a reading list a few years ago on the immigrant experience.

Karina has some great recommendations for children’s books about the immigrant experience

Jessica has some recommendations for YA books on the Asian migration experience

We have also written about books on refugees, which I think are appropriate to include in this round-up, given that some of the people crossing the the southern US border are seeking asylum.

Christine has some recent comics about refugee experiences. 

Daisy recommended children’s books about refugees

Kelly has some YA non-fiction recommendations and she’s also written about YA books about immigration

I am trying to not get too overtly political, but I do think that a few things can be forgotten in the heated discussions about immigration, borders, and security. I’m Australian, and we have had (and continue to have) our own terrible discussions and debated about how to deal with people who try to enter the country without the requisite paperwork (you may have heard stories about various human rights abuses and detention centres coming from my fair country). What can be forgotten is that, first, it is not illegal to seek asylum. And second, these people who are being locked up in detention centres and separated from their families are human. The books recommended in these lists remind us of this. They might be immigrants, or refugees, or asylum seekers, but first of all, they are human.