Numerous headlines appeared in my news feed this morning, all surrounding a single event: Immigration.
Evangelicals across the political divide came together in unity, urging the President and Congress to act on immigrant and refugee issues. With Jenny Yang of World Relief at its helm, bipartisan leaders from Congress came together at a press conference, urging the public to support Dreamers through DACA and the Dream Act. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi held the Senate floor for eight hours, in support of the Dreamers. With less than a month until legal protection for the Dream Act begins to expire, it’s no wonder that the conversation remains at the top of headlines.
So, what can we do?
While advocacy is key (and supporting advocacy efforts is key for us to do, especially if we identify as Christians), one of the best ways I’ve found to enter into the conversation is through reading. In that way, I’ve got eight books for you to take a look at today, spanning the range of fiction and non-fiction, Christian and children’s.
Esperanza Rising (Pam Munoz Ryan): This children’s book won numerous awards when it released fifteen years ago, but even more so, it helps reader enter into the immigrant experience, particularly for migrant farm workers in California during the Great Depression.
Behold the Dreamers (Imbolo Mbue): Not only is this fiction read one of this month’s Read With Me selections, but it’s the recipient of numerous awards across the literary spectrum. Although I’m only a few chapters in, it follows a Cameroonian couple following their immigration to New York City …including the subsequent drama that follows.
Book of Unknown Americans (Cristina Henriquez): Here’s a YA fiction read that follows the lives of several Latino families, all of whom landed in the same apartment complex. Although the book didn’t get incredible reviews, I really loved the way Henriquez told the story.
The Sun is Also a Star (Nicola Yoon): If you’ve been around for any length of time, you know that Yoon is one of my favorites, and this book, which released a year or so ago, is a truth North Star. Set in New York City, it primarily follows the lives of two teenagers whose paths happen to cross, even when one of the characters fights against deportation.
A Better Country (Cindy Wu): A short workbook designed for church communities, although I didn’t read and discuss it as intended, I gained so much from working through it on my own. Wu provides snapshots of our country’s history and of present-day statistics alongside a biblical argument.
In the Country We Love (Diane Guerrero): I love Guerrero’s performance in Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, so when I heard that she had a memoir coming out, I snatched it up. And friends, it is terribly funny, poignant and sad, all at the same time. Bonus: Listen to it on Audible, as she herself is the reader.
Assimilate or Go Home (D.L. Mayfield): I really love the way Mayfield tells stories, circling and letting the reader really, actually read between the lines. In this book, she examines her privilege as a white, American woman next to the Somali Bantu refugees she came to know and love.
Love Undocumented (Sarah Quezada): All the happy clappy hands for my girl, Sarah Quezada. Her book, which is part love story, part non-fiction analysis of issues of immigration in the U.S. is on point. You may remember the interview with her last month, and while I don’t still have a copy of her book to give away, I still urge you to find a copy for yourself.
Well, there you go. Although none of the aforementioned books were written by men, I don’t doubt that male authors have written books on issues of immigration and are, likewise, interested in the subject itself. So, what books on immigration by the menfolk would you recommend?
Do tell: what’s on the top of your list to read next? Which of these books, whether fiction or non-fiction, strikes your reading fancy?
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