For many families, immigration is a key theme in their Family Trees and family story. The books in this list can inspire conversations with your children and foster a deeper understanding of what it's like to be a refugee or immigrant.
PJ LIBRARY BOOKS
All-of-a-Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor
This ground breaking series by Sydney Taylor follows a Jewish family on their daily adventures on New York City's Lower East Side. The series includes All-of-a-Kind Family
and All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown.
Anna & Solomon by Elaine Snyder
Anna and Solomon, a young Russian couple, wanted to move to America -- but they could only afford one ticket at a time. Solomon went first, and sent a ticket back for Anna -- but then something unexpected happened.
Annushka’s Voyage by Edith Tarbescu
Annushka and her sister have a long trip ahead of them -- they are leaving Russia and heading for New York City. They’re a little scared, but they’re also excited -- and they can’t wait to reunite with Papa in the New World.
The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco
In this story, a simple cup holds the story of one family’s heritage -- and hope.
Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty
by Linda Glaser
Emma Lazarus was raised in a wealthy Jewish American family in 1880’s New York City, where she was moved by the plight of immigrants. As a young woman, asked to write a poem to raise money for a pedestal for the proposed Statue of Liberty, she composed “The New Colossus” and so became the voice of the Statue of Liberty.
Brave Girl by Michelle Markel
Just because Clara Lemlich is a young immigrant doesn’t mean she’s going to let factory owners treat workers poorly. After all, equality and a fair shot is what America is all about -- and no one understands that better than this brave girl.
The Castle On Hester Street by Linda Heller
In this immigration story, a young girl’s grandmother contradicts her husband’s recollections of what it was like coming to America from Russia. Was he really pulled to New York by a flying goat? Is there truly a castle on Hester Street?
Feivel’s Flying Horses by Heidi Smith Hyde
Feivel’s wife and children stay in the Old Country while he comes to New York to make a better life for them all. A wood carver, Feivel creates carousel horses for a Coney Island amusement park – all the while working to earn enough to reunite the family.
Hannah's Way by Linda Glaser
After her father loses his job, Hannah and her family must move. In Minnesota, Hannah is the only Jewish girl in her class--how can she help her new classmates understand her beliefs?.
Molly's Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen
Molly’s family is new to America, and Molly is having trouble fitting in with other children in her school. When the teacher assigns a Thanksgiving project, Molly’s helps her make a connection to Judaism.
The Memory Coat by Elvira Woodruff
A boy's tattered coat tells the story of his family's journey to America.
Mendel's Accordion by Heidi Smith Hyde
The memory of a young man’s long-forgotten accordion playing resurfaces when his great-grandson finds the instrument.
Rivka’s First Thanksgiving by Elsa Okon Rael
It is 1910, and Rivka’s family has recently moved to America from Poland. Many American holidays and traditions are new to them -- including Thanksgiving
What Zeesie Saw on Delancey Street by Elsa Okon Rael
In the early 1900’s on the Lower East Side, a seven-year-old girl learns lessons of community, generosity, and courage from the Jewish immigrant population.
When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest
Jessie lives in an Eastern European shtetl. The rabbi in her town decides to give Jessie his ticket to America, where she works for years to save enough money to send for her beloved grandmother.
Yosef's Dream by Sylvia Rouss
When Yosef was a child in Ethiopia, he had a strange dream, one that didn’t make sense until later when he -- along with thousands of others in his community -- was flown to Israel as part of Operation Solomon. Sometimes our dreams tell us more than we know.
Yuvi’s Candy Tree by Lesley Simpson
Based on a true story, this book tells of Yuvi’s extraordinary journey from Ethiopia to Israel.
PJ OUR WAY BOOKS
PJ Our Way, our choose-your-own book program for kids ages 9-11, also has some great books with multicultural content. If you have an older reader at home, be sure to check out:
Bridge to America by Linda Glaser
As a Jewish immigrant boy in Duluth, Minnesota, Fivel (now Phil) struggles to fit in with the local kids without losing his identity.
Lily Renee, Escape Artist by Trina Robbins
This vibrantly illustrated graphic novel tells Lily Renee’s real life story, from her idyllic pre-war, 1930’s childhood in Austria through her challenging experiences as a refugee in England, and finally, as she begins her new life as a comic book artist in America.
Letters From Rifka by Karen Hesse
Traveling from Russia to America, twelve year-old Rifka gets separated from her family. Will she ever find a way to join them again?
Visit www.pjourway.org to sign up and learn more.
Looking for more great books to share with your children? Visit the links below:
12 Picture Books About Refugees via What Do We Do All Day?
15 Inspiring Books About The Immigrant Experience in America via Brightly
How To Explain the Refugee Crisis to Kids via Tablet
A New Land, A New Life: Mighty Girl Books About the Immigrant Experience via A Mighty Girl
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January 26, 2017