What we're reading: Focusing on immigration and refugees

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The staff of Everyone's Books has been deeply involved in resisting the cruel and punitive policies at the U.S. southern border, as well as working with our community to educated ourselves. The following books are some of the interesting titles on the subject of migration and the immigrant experience.

"Undocumented: A Worker's Fight" by Duncan Tonatiuh

"Migrant" by Jose Manuel Mateo

Both of these beautiful books are in the "accordion format," which shows clearly the challenging journey of individual Mexican migrants from their home country, over the border, and into the US. The art work is extraordinary and these books are appropriate for adults and older children.

"Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This novel is not new, but continues to be a popular read. The main characters are a young Nigerian couple who must leave their home country. Their experiences in the United States and in England are a stark contrast with each other, but both give the reader an insider's experience of being an African migrant to the west. Reading "Americanah" felt like a true education about an experience I will never have as a white American.

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"This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto" by Suketu Mehta

This Indian born New York University professor reports on the world wide anti-immigrant backlash. He demonstrates how the west is being crushed by the poison of fear and hatred directed at "others, " and that our immigrant populations really enrich our communities. Mehta also writes about why people are forced to leave their countries of origin, making it clear that many of those who are leaving are doing so due to desperation and have no alternatives.

"A Refugee's Journey" series

These books address the refugee experience to help kids understand what they are hearing in the news. "A Refugee's Journey from Guatemala" by Heather C. Hudak, one title in the series, explains some of the background of that country to put the current Guatemalan exodus in context through the experience of one child and the plight of their family. The book explains the terms refugee, migrant, and internally displaced person, as well as some ideas for what kids can do to make a difference. The countries of Yemen, Sudan, El Salvador, Somalia and Iraq are among those in the series.

"They Called Us Enemy" by George Takei

George Takei, who many will remember from his "Star Trek" role as Capt. Hikaru Sulu of the Starship Enterprise, has written a powerful graphic memoir with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, of being interred with his family and other American citizens of Japanese descent in camps during World War II. With art by Harmony Becker, this book details his childhood memories, framed reflections from the perspective of adulthood, of this degrading experience which had a profound effect on his life and his family. Reading this memoir will provide a first-hand account of what it is like to be treated as other by your own government, and provide historical detail that may be lacking for many.

Everyone's Books, open since 1984, is a family-owned independent bookstore specializing in books about social change, the environment, and multicultural children's books. It's located at 25 Elliot Street, Brattleboro. Learn more at http://www.everyonesbks.com.


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