This debut novel by E. Lily Yu is an immigration story. The Daizangi family are traveling from Pakistan for Australia. The story, for the most part, is told through the eyes of young Firuzeh, who is traveling with her younger brother Nour, and her parents. Firuzeh briefly befriends a young girl on the boat that eventually lands them on the island of Nauru, but her friend Nasima falls overboard during a rainstorm, and drowns at sea. Nasima reappears as a ghost, who keeps Firuzeh company as she makes her way in a new land. Even though there are supernatural elements (or maybe just Firuzah's vivid imagination, helping her to survive) this story of a family's struggle to survive, and fit in somewhere in the world is grounded in reality. A heartbreaking story that gives those of us living in relative comfort a peek into the struggles that are faced by so many in this world.
Blanco was the first openly gay, Latino, immigrant, as well as the youngest person to be the US inaugural poet when he read for Obama's second term. He brings this energy with him in this collection, his beautiful language depicting such heartbreak toward America's tendency for gun violence, racism, and LGBTQ oppression. Throughout, you can see him struggling with the idea of nationhood, digging his way closer to the answer of how to truly love a country.
A dystopian YA novel that tackles immigration and what it means to seek refuge in a country that does not want you. Very original storytelling that left my heart racing till the very end.
One of the best queer stories I've read in a long time. A young Colombian girl is uprooted from her home and moves to Miami with her family. Her mom becomes a member of a local Evangelical church and pushes her reluctant daughter to join her. Things begin to really unfold when our main character begins to fall for the pastor's daughter. I can't recommend this novel enough!
This book will be making my best of 2020 list for sure. If you read the novel American Dirt and enjoyed it, then I dare you to pick this up. This explores the real lives of undocumented Americans and what they have contributed to this country. You may find yourself surprised to find what they have done for all of us.
Given news from Syria in recent years I was hesitant to read this book, not believing that a story about a beekeeper could capture war, loss, and devastation. Once I started reading, the chapters flowed into one another with a pace matched only by the intensity of Nuri and Afrah’s journey as they fled Syria. This book, informed by Lefteri’s refugee volunteer work with UNICEF in Athens, Greece and her own experience as a daughter of Cypriot refugees, makes you stay up late or miss your bus stop (or both!). If we are lucky, our hearts will ache and grow, love and mourn, grieve and be more open than before.
I've never seen a story like Jude's depicted in children's literature. At 12 years old, she and her mom leave Syria to live with her uncle in America. But once in America, they quickly understand they won't be treated like they belong. This America that promised an acceptance of people from different countries, is one that calls Jude a terrorist once she starts wearing a hijab.
But through it all, Jude remains hopeful. From trying to make new friends, to trying out for her school's musical, she starts to learn that making a new home doesn't mean you have to forget the one you came from. This novel in verse is urgently relevant and not to be missed!