The Immigrant Experience Through Literature

The extraordinary ethnic diversity of the United States is due to the vast numbers of immigrants who have settled here. Many Americans today grew up listening to stories from their parents or grandparents about what it was like to come to a new country and struggle to build a life for themselves and their families.

In relocating from one country to another, newcomers have had to find a way to make a living, in addition to adjusting to an unfamiliar culture and often a new language. Through expressive novels, short stories, poetry, plays, biographies and memoirs that have been recently published, the books on this list describe the immigrant experience by those who have lived it.

We have included titles for all age levels, and from authors who came from different countries of origin. Although Puerto Rico is a part of the United States and Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, the cultural and language barriers many Puerto Ricans face when they migrate from their Caribbean Island to the mainland are similar to an international migration.

This booklist was prepared by the following staff members of The New York Public Library: Ismael Alicea, Yolanda Bonitch, Susan Gitman, Harriet Gottfried, Susan Pine, Verónica Reyes, Erika Yánez, Hong Yao.