“No human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?” ~Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize winner, Holocaust survivor, Author of Night and Presenter at the 28th Emmy Awards
The International Emmys will take place this year in November with Maz Jobrani hosting. Jobrani is a comedian whose new special Immigration premiered on Netflix in August. He is one of many in entertainment to draw attention to the plight of immigrants in our country. Entertainers such as Daddy Yankee, Demi Lovato, and Khalid have lent their voices in support of immigrants, as have a number of writers.
With DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) taking center stage, we have to wonder: Do we truly understand the experiences of immigrants in America? These experiences are just as diverse as our nation’s people. To highlight the significance of immigrants, and the immigrant experience, we’ve compiled a list of books, whose authors provide insight into the daily lives of immigrants in the United States. Together, their stories show not only how immigrants have helped shape American culture, but also the importance of inclusion and acceptance in society.
NOMADLAND: Surviving America into the Twenty-First Century, Jessica Bruder (September 19, 2017)
Behold the Dreamers, Imbolo Mbue (2016)
Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)
This is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz (2012)
The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, Dinaw Mengestu (2007)
We Need New Names, NoViolet Bulawayo (2013)
In addition to the above mentioned titles, you may want to read some of the other books recently had reviewed for BookTrib that focus on the unique immigrant experience in America:
Dina Nayeri’s ‘Refuge’ Follows One Woman’s Struggle to Find Her Roots: “In Refuge, Author Dina Nayeri follows Niloo, a young, married, Iranian woman on a journey to find herself and establish roots in a new land. Concurrently, through her father, Bahman’s experiences, we gain an understanding of their relationship and his attachment to home.”
American Street, Ibi Zoboi : “As a Haitian immigrant, teen Fabiola Toussaint has clear dreams for her life in America. But when her mother is detained at the airport by immigration, everything that Fabiola counted on seems lost. Now it’s up to her to navigate America on her own, including her family in Detroit, a potential love interest, and her new life at the corner of American Street and Joy Road.”
Falafel Nation: Cuisine and the Making of National Identity in Israel (Studies of Jews in Society): “When people discuss food in Israel, their debates ask politically charged questions: Who has the right to falafel? Whose hummus is better? But Yael Raviv’s Falafel Nation moves beyond the simply territorial to divulge the role food plays in the Jewish nation. She ponders the power struggles, moral dilemmas, and religious and ideological affiliations of the different ethnic groups that make up the “Jewish State” and how they relate to the gastronomy of the region.”
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