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Immigrant Experience: Must-Read Books That Captures What It Means To Make A Home In A New Country

The National Book Month is here! The month-long celebration focuses on the importance of reading, writing, and literature. This is also the period to honour the country’s best books and authors.

…and with the leaves falling, fall has declared its arrival. The cool breeze makes the atmosphere cool and it is the perfect time to start reading a book. There are some books that an immigrant should read that captures what it means to make a home in a new country.

These are some of the non-fiction and fiction books one should definitely read:

NON-FICTION

  • Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Michelle Zauner, also known as “Japanese Breakfast,” broadens on a 2019 New Yorker dissertation with the same name to write about growing up Korean-American in Oregon. Zauner walks the reader’s attention through the formation of her identity and what it means for her to reconcile what she learned from her mother with the life she wants to live.

  • The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir by Samantha Power

Several powerful women in the sector of American politics are migrants. Samantha Power, Pulitzer Prize winner, current head of USAID, and former US Ambassador to the UN uncovers her journey from a childhood in Dublin to war correspondent and, ultimately, the United Nations.

  • There’s Nothing For You Here: Finding Opportunity in the 21st Century by Fiona Hill

“There’s nothing for you here,” Fiona Hill’s father said of her impoverished mining town in the United Kingdom. Hill would go on to become one of the foremost authorities on two 21st-century great powers, Russia and the United States, after coming to the United States. The book has been defined and described as a collection of essays, a history tome, and a proposed policy all rolled into one.

  • Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America by Mayukh Sen

Readers are treated to a poetic feast that weaves together the histories of food, immigration, and gender. When it comes to food, Mayuhk Sen is a James Beard Award winner. The book talks about seven women and their influence on America and the American appetite.

FICTION

  • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

The author deftly explores the themes of culture and identity and migration as two strangers enter into a relationship in the midst of a civil war, with a dash of magic thrown in for good measure.

  • The Things We Lost To the Water by Eric Nguyen

The story is about a mother and her two sons relocating from Vietnam to New Orleans and adjusting to life in America in three very different ways, until tragedy strikes and restructures their lives once more. This book was described as “enchanting” by the New York Times.

  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

The book, written by Yaa Gyasi, who immigrated to Alabama as a child from Ghana, follows a Ghanaian-American scientist who is looking for solutions to the depression and addiction that has affected her family.

  • Refuge by Dina Nayeri

A young girl flees Iran leaving her father, and they only see each other four times over the next twenty years. The book examines the nature of family relationships when they are separated and what the concept of “home” truly means.

GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

This book, a collection of essays by a cartoonist, explores the immigrant experience and how an enduring sense of separation influenced Thi Bui’s experience as a new parent in America, while also chronicling the history of the Vietnam War.

  • Welcome to the New World by Jake Halpern

The book describes a nuclear family flees Syria in search of safety in the United States, only to arrive in New York City the day after President Trump’s election.

  • Superman Smashes by Gene Luen Yang

The author describes the story of two kids, newly migrated to Metropolis with their parents as they find it difficult to adapt while saving the world with Superman, who is going through an existential crisis after years of passing for humans.

YOUTH

  • I is for Immigrant by Selina Alko

From African dance to Zen Buddhism, this graphic novel celebrates the many different factors of influence that immigrants have had on American culture. It commemorates what people brought with them while also assisting children in finding common ground.

  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

This book, which was nominated for a National Book Award in 2021 which is a complicated look at the history of Chinese-American culture in twentieth-century San Francisco, addressing both the displacement of the immigrant community and a young woman’s own sexuality as a lesbian in the 1950s. The book is relevant for students in high school and up.

Abhishek Shah

Abhishek Shah

I'm a final-year management student at NMIMS, Mumbai.

The power of words and their ability to affect others captivates me that's where my love for writing comes from. Content writing welcomes me with my own mind and gives wings to my thoughts. I'll today and forever love gaining insight by reading and writing and that's the reason I am called the father of scriptwriting in my circle.

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