The Stories We Share: A Guide to PreK–12 Books on the Experience of Immigrant Children and Teens in the United States

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Named Best Professional Resource for School or Youth Librarians—2019 SLC/ARBA Best of Reference Awards

From its earliest days, the American experience has encompassed immigrants. But in our current atmosphere of political polarization, is it any wonder that many immigrant children feel excluded and isolated? In fact, research shows first- and second- generation immigrant children and teens can be at risk of experiencing identity crisis, self-depreciation, and low self-esteem due to intergenerational and intercultural conflicts. These young readers need books that show them that their experiences are not unique—and these books also carry the important potential of promoting general understanding of and tolerance toward immigrant groups. The first of its kind, this guide spotlights dozens of award-winning titles that primarily feature a first- or second-generation immigrant child or teen as a narrator or main character. A valuable tool for teaching, collection development, and readers’ advisory, in this book ALA Carnegie-Whitney Grant-recipient Khailova

  • identifies both fiction and non-fiction titles published in the United States and Canada between 1990 and 2015 that focus on the twentieth or twenty-first century immigrant experience;
  • organizes selections by their world region of birth, including Asia, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, with further subdivisions by countries of origin;
  • provides historical background on the immigration patterns of each group, with a list of additional resources on the topic; and
  • offers discussion starters and questions to promote self-reflection, sense of connectedness, and empathy.

Helping librarians and educators navigate the vast terrain of multicultural literature, this book will serve as a powerful resource for increasing understanding and fostering connections with immigrant populations.



Part I The Power of Stories on Immigrant Children and Teens

Chapter 1 Why Share Books on Immigrants?

Chapter 2 Selection and Organization Principles


Part II Let’s Get Reading!

Chapter 3 Asia

Chapter 4 Latin America and the Caribbean

Chapter 5 Europe

Chapter 6 Africa and the Middle East




Ladislava N. Khailova

Dr. Ladislava N. Khailova is an associate professor at the Founders Memorial Library, Northern Illinois University, serving as a humanities and social sciences subject specialist and coordinator of library services for persons with disabilities. Born in the Czech Republic, Khailova came to the United States as a Fulbright grantee to study twentieth-century American literature and, subsequently, library and information science. She earned a PhD in English and an MLIS from the University of South Carolina and an MA in Russian and American studies from Charles University in Prague. Khailova’s ability to produce quality research studies has been repeatedly recognized, as evidenced by her list of publications and awards. She has published articles on the historical and cultural factors that shape constructions of the social Other (in terms of disability, national origin, race, ethnicity, or gender), including the immigrant Other. She has also been awarded a number of grants in her topic area, including the prestigious ALA Carnegie-Whitney Award in 2015. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and their two children, who are growing up trilingual.

”The bibliography at the end of each section will allow a deeper dive into regions and cultures for teachers and librarians intent on implementing cultural-sensitivity curriculum. The book is a valuable resource ... For educators and librarians serving recent immigrants, and for anyone looking to widen horizons, this title is worth acquiring."
— Booklist

”A reference title not only for our times but also for every level and all manner of school and youth librarians. This well-ordered volume offers a concise review of the literature on the need for children to experience diverse stories and the valuable social-emotional impact of such experiences ... Librarians looking to meet the AASL National School Library Standards within the Shared Foundation Include will find this a ready reference. School Librarians seeking to build collections that reflect the diversity of their school population and shed light on the immigrant experience will find The Stories We Share a tool they will turn to time and again. Ladislava Khailova has gifted school and youth librarians with a powerful tool for reflection as well as a resource to improve their collections and their practice."
— 2019 SLC/ARBA Best of Reference Awards citation