Inside: Children’s Books About Immigrants + Immigration Experiences
Reading stories is a powerful way to cultivate empathy in children. When they see life through someone else’s eyes in a story, children gain a new perspective they might not ever notice simply through experience.
Reading stories leads to empathy. Empathy leads to compassion and kindness. And we all know we need more of that in the world!
These books about immigrants and immigration experiences are a great way to build up a child’s understanding and appreciation of other cultures outside of what may be familiar to them.
Children’s Books About Immigrants + Immigration Experiences
Click on any of the book covers to learn more about individual books.
Or you can directly access the Immigrant Stories section in the Book Finder.
Experience Other Cultures
All of the books in the Immigrant Stories section of our Book Finder will help your child understand what it feels like to be in a new, unfamiliar culture and the challenges that come with that experience.
However, as a family, you can deepen understanding by exploring these cultures. This is a great way to create familiarity and build appreciation for people and cultures all over the world.
For example, in our guide for the book The Hundred Dresses, which involves a Polish immigrant family, we walk you through a whole week of exploring Poland and its culture, geography, traditional music, and more. And, we discuss how the story might have been different if the community surrounding the Polish family had been curious about their culture.
Here are ideas of how you can explore deeper:
- Locate the countries on a map (and follow journeys)
- Explore languages and learn some common words and phrases
- Understand major historical events (and compare to what was happening in your country at the same time)
- Learn about family culture
- Search for videos with traditional music & dance (listen and try out the dances)
- See examples of traditional clothing
- Learn about holidays and other celebrations
- Find images of the landscape (how does it vary?)
- Explore traditional foods and recipes (try making one or two!)
Also, consider creating a notebook or binder to gather your findings. You’ll create a notebook of places around the world as you continue to read and explore these stories!
The Hundred Dresses
We mentioned above one of our favorite stories involving an immigrant family is The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes.
This book beautifully illustrates the challenges that many immigrants experience in a new place. In this case, it places you in the shoes of a character who sees unkindness, does nothing, and regrets her decision. The lesson is clear and powerful, but gently communicated to readers.
This classic story will tug at your heartstrings and is guaranteed to remain with you and your child for a lifetime. Be sure to have tissues ready!
Our book guide will help your family engage deeper with the context of the story and lead you through meaningful discussions about important topics.
Explore these wonderful stories together and help your children gain new perspective and appreciation for people all over the world!