The year is 2009, and José Antonio Rodríguez, a doctoral student at Binghamton University in upstate New York, is packing his suitcase, getting ready to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with his parents in South Texas. He soon learns from his father that a drug cartel has overtaken the Mexican border village where he was born. Now, because of the violence there, he won't be able to visit his early-childhood home. Instead, his memories will have to take him back. Thus, Rodríguez begins a meditative journey into the past. Through a series of vignettes, he mines the details of a childhood and adolescence fraught with deprivation but offset by moments of tenderness and beauty. Suddenly he is four years old again, and his mother is feeding him raw sugarcane for the first time. With the sweetness still on his tongue, he runs to a field, where he falls asleep under a glowing pink sky. The conditions of rural poverty prove too much for his family to bear, and Rodríguez moves with his mother and three of his nine siblings across the border to McAllen, Texas. Now a resident of the "other side," Rodríguez experiences the luxury of indoor toilets and gazes at television commercials promising more food than he has ever seen. But there is no easy passage into this brighter future. Poignant and lyrical, House Built on Ashes contemplates the promises, limitations, and contradictions of the American Dream. Even as it tells a deeply personal story, it evokes larger political, cultural, and social realities. It speaks to what America is and what it is not. It speaks to a world of hunger, prejudice, and far too many boundaries. But it speaks, as well, to the redemptive power of beauty and its life-sustaining gift of hope.
Ship of Fate tells the emotionally gripping story of a Vietnamese military officer who evacuated from Saigon in 1975 but made the dramatic decision to return to Vietnam for his wife and children, rather than resettle in the United States without them. Written in Vietnamese in the years just after 1991, when he and his family finally immigrated to the United States, Trần Đình Trụ's memoir provides a detailed and searing account of his individual trauma as a refugee in limbo, and then as a prisoner in the Vietnamese reeducation camps. In April 1975, more than 120,000 Indochinese refugees sought and soon gained resettlement in the United States. While waiting in the Guam refugee camps, however, approximately 1,500 Vietnamese men and women insisted in no uncertain terms on being repatriated back to Vietnam. Trần was one of these repatriates. To resolve the escalating crisis, the U.S. government granted the Vietnamese a large ship, the Việt Nam Thương Tín. An experienced naval commander, Trần became the captain of the ship and sailed the repatriates back to Vietnam in October 1975. On return, he was imprisoned and underwent forced labor for more than twelve years. Trần's account reveals a hidden history of refugee camps on Guam, internal divisions among Vietnamese refugees, political disputes between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the U.S. government, and the horror of the postwar "reeducation" camps. While there are countless books on the U.S. war in Vietnam, there are still relatively few in English that narrate the war from a Vietnamese perspective. This translation adds new and unexpected dimensions to the U.S. military's final withdrawal from Vietnam.
Burdened by poverty, illiteracy, and vulnerability as Mexican immigrants to California's Coachella Valley, three generations of González men turn to vices or withdraw into depression. As brothers Rigoberto and Alex grow to manhood, they are haunted by the traumas of their mother's early death, their lonely youth, their father's desertion, and their grandfather's invective. Rigoberto's success in escaping--first to college and then by becoming a writer--is blighted by his struggles with alcohol and abusive relationships, while Alex contends with difficult family relations, his own rocky marriage, and fatherhood. Descending into a dark emotional space that compromises their mental and physical health, the brothers eventually find hope in aiding each other. This is an honest and revealing window into the complexities of Latino masculinity, the private lives of men, and the ways they build strength under the weight of grief, loss, and despair.
This inspiring memoir by the Muslim American Gold Star father and captivating DNC speaker is the story of one family's pursuit of the American dream. NAMED ONE OF THE FIVE BEST MEMOIRS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST "Moving . . . a story about family and faith, told with a poet's sensibility . . . Khizr Khan's book can teach all of us what real American patriotism looks like." --The New York Times Book Review In fewer than three hundred words, Khizr Khan electrified viewers around the world when he took the stage at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. And when he offered to lend Donald Trump his own much-read and dog-eared pocket Constitution, his gesture perfectly encapsulated the feelings of millions. But who was that man, standing beside his wife, extolling the promises and virtues of the U.S. Constitution? In this urgent and timeless immigrant story, we learn that Khizr Khan has been many things. He was the oldest of ten children born to farmers in Pakistan, and a curious and thoughtful boy who listened rapt as his grandfather recited Rumi beneath the moonlight. He was a university student who read the Declaration of Independence and was awestruck by what might be possible in life. He was a hopeful suitor, awkwardly but earnestly trying to win the heart of a woman far out of his league. He was a brilliant and diligent young family man who worked two jobs to save enough money to put himself through Harvard Law School. He was a loving father who, having instilled in his children the ideals that brought him and his wife to America--the sense of shared dignity and mutual responsibility--tragically lost his son, an Army captain killed while protecting his base camp in Iraq. He was and is a patriot, and a fierce advocate for the rights, dignities, and values enshrined in the American system. An American Family shows us who Khizr Khan and millions of other American immigrants are, and why--especially in these tumultuous times--we must not be afraid to step forward for what we believe in when it matters most. Praise for An American Family "An American Family is a small but lovely immigrant's journey, full of carefully observed details from the order in which Ghazala served tea at a university event, to the schedule of the police patrols in the Boston Public Garden where Khan briefly slept while he was in between apartments, to the description of Humayun's headstone as a 'slab of white marble with soft streaks the color of wood smoke.'"--Alyssa Rosenberg, The Washington Post
An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family's journey from war-torn Vietnam, from debut author Thi Bui. This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family's daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves. At the heart of Bui's story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent--the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home. In what Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen calls "a book to break your heart and heal it," The Best We Could Do brings to life Thi Bui's journey of understanding, and provides inspiration to all of those who search for a better future while longing for a simpler past.
A day after N. first crossed the U.S. border from Mexico, he was caught and then released onto the streets of Tijuana. Undeterred, N. crawled back through a tunnel to San Diego, where he entered the United States forever. Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant is his timely and compelling memoir of building a new life in America. Authorial anonymity is required to protect this life. Arriving in the 1990s with a 9th grade education, N. traveled to Chicago where he found access to ESL classes and GED classes. He eventually attended college and graduate school and became a professional translator. Despite having a well-paying job, N. was isolated by a lack of official legal documentation. Travel concerns made big promotions out of reach. Vacation time was spent hiding at home, pretending that he was on a long-planned trip. The simple act of purchasing his girlfriend a beer at a Cubs baseball game caused embarrassment and shame when N. couldn't produce a valid ID. A frustrating contradiction, N. lived in a luxury high-rise condo but couldn't fully live the American dream. He did, however, find solace in the one gift America gave him--his education. Ultimately, N.'s is the story of the triumph of education over adversity. In Illegal he debunks the stereotype that undocumented immigrants are freeloaders without access to education or opportunity for advancement. With bravery and honesty, N. details the constraints, deceptions, and humiliations that characterize alien life "amid the shadows."
In 1994, Anchee Min made her literary debut with a memoir of growing up in China during the violent trauma of the Cultural Revolution.Red Azalea became an international bestseller and propelled her career as a successful, critically acclaimed author. Twenty years later, Min returns to the story of her own life to give us the next chapter, an immigrant story that takes her from the shocking deprivations of her homeland to the sudden bounty of the promised land of America, without language, money, or a clear path. It is a hard and lonely road. She teaches herself English by watching Sesame Street, keeps herself afloat working five jobs at once, lives in unheated rooms, suffers rape, collapses from exhaustion, marries poorly and divorces.But she also gives birth to her daughter, Lauryann, who will inspire her and finally root her in her new country. Min's eventual successes-her writing career, a daughter at Stanford, a second husband she loves-are remarkable, but it is her struggle throughout toward genuine selfhood that elevates this dramatic, classic immigrant story to something powerfully universal.
Tracing his story of becoming a US citizen, José Orduña's memoir explores the complex issues of immigration and assimilation. José Orduña chronicles the process of becoming a North American citizen in a post-9/11 United States. Intractable realities--rooted in the continuity of US imperialism to globalism--form the landscape of Orduña's daily experience, where the geopolitical meets the quotidian. In one anecdote, he recalls how the only apartment his parents could rent was one that didn't require signing a lease or running a credit check, where the floors were so crooked he once dropped an orange and watched it roll in six directions before settling in a corner. Orduña describes the absurd feeling of being handed a piece of paper--his naturalization certificate--that guarantees something he has always known: he has every right to be here. A trenchant exploration of race, class, and identity, The Weight of Shadows is a searing meditation on the nature of political, linguistic, and cultural borders, and the meaning of "America."
A poignant, hilarious, and inspiring memoir from the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet, which explores his coming-of-age as the child of Cuban immigrants and his attempts to understand his place in America while grappling with his burgeoning artistic and sexual identities. Richard Blanco's childhood and adolescence were experienced between two imaginary worlds: his parents' nostalgic world of 1950s Cuba and his imagined America, the country he saw on reruns of The Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver--an "exotic" life he yearned for as much as he yearned to see "la patria." Navigating these worlds eventually led Blanco to question his cultural identity through words; in turn, his vision as a writer--as an artist--prompted the courage to accept himself as a gay man. In this moving, contemplative memoir, the 2013 inaugural poet traces his poignant, often hilarious, and quintessentially American coming-of-age and the people who influenced him. A prismatic and lyrical narrative rich with the colors, sounds, smells, and textures of Miami, Richard Blanco's personal narrative is a resonant account of how he discovered his authentic self and ultimately, a deeper understanding of what it means to be American. His is a singular yet universal story that beautifully illuminates the experience of "becoming;" how we are shaped by experiences, memories, and our complex stories: the humor, love, yearning, and tenderness that define a life.
They are a mass migration of thousands, yet each one travels alone.Solito, Solita, ("Alone, Alone"), is a Voice of Witness collection of oral histories that tell the stories of youth refugees fleeing their home countries and traveling for hundreds of miles seeking safety and protection in the United States. These powerful narrators describe why they fled their homes, what happened on their dangerous journeys through Mexico, how they crossed the border, and their ongoing struggles to survive in the United States. In an era of fear, xenophobia, and outright lies, these stories amplify the compelling voices of immigrant youth. What can they teach us about abuse and abandonment, bravery and resilience, hypocrisy and hope? They bring us into their hearts and onto streets filled with the lure of freedom and fraught with violence. From fending off kidnappers with knives and being locked in freezing holding cells to tearful reunions with parents,Solito, Solita's evocative stories bring to light the experiences of young people struggling for a better life across the border. Steven Mayersis a writer, oral historian, and professor of English at the City College of San Francisco. Jonathan Freedmanis a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, and writing mentor at the City College of San Francisco. Voice of Witness, founded by Dave Eggers, Mimi Lok, and Lola Vollen, is a nonprofit organization that advances human rights by amplifying unheard voices.
Call Number: JPL 3rd Floor, Juvenile Literature PZ7.1.S237 Ame 2018
In development as a television series from Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine production company and ABC Studios! The hilarious, poignant, and true story of one teen's experience growing up in America as an undocumented immigrant from the Middle East, perfect for fans of Mindy Kaling and Trevor Noah's books. "Very funny but never flippant, Saedi mixes '90s pop culture references, adolescent angst and Iranian history into an intimate, informative narrative that thoroughly defies current divisive view on immigration."--The New York Times At thirteen, bright-eyed, straight-A student Sara Saedi uncovered a terrible family secret: she was breaking the law simply by living in the United States. Only two years old when her parents fled Iran, she didn't learn of her undocumented status until her older sister wanted to apply for an after-school job, but couldn't because she didn't have a Social Security number. Fear of deportation kept Sara up at night, but it didn't keep her from being a teenager. She desperately wanted a green card, along with clear skin, her own car, and a boyfriend. Americanized follows Sara's progress toward getting her green card, but that's only a portion of her experiences as an Iranian-"American" teenager. From discovering that her parents secretly divorced to facilitate her mother's green card application to learning how to tame her unibrow, Sara pivots gracefully from the terrifying prospect that she might be kicked out of the country at any time to the almost-as-terrifying possibility that she might be the only one of her friends without a date to the prom. This moving, often hilarious story is for anyone who has ever shared either fear. FEATURED ON NPR'S FRESH AIR A NYPL BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR A CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY BEST OF THE BEST BOOK SELECTION A SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR FOUR STARRED REVIEWS! "A must-read, vitally important memoir. . . . Poignant and often LOL funny, Americanized is utterly of the moment."--Bustle "Read Saedi's memoir to push out the poison."--Teen Vogue "A funny, poignant must read for the times we are living in today."--Pop Sugar
An undocumented immigrant's journey from a New York City homeless shelter to the top of his Princeton class Dan-el Padilla Peralta has lived the American dream. As a boy, he came here legally with his family. Together they left Santo Domingo behind, but life in New York City was harder than they imagined. Their visas lapsed, and Dan-el's father returned home. But Dan-el's courageous mother was determined to make a better life for her bright sons. Without papers, she faced tremendous obstacles. While Dan-el was only in grade school, the family joined the ranks of the city's homeless. Dan-el, his mother, and brother lived in a downtown shelter where Dan-el's only refuge was the meager library. There he met Jeff, a young volunteer from a wealthy family. Jeff was immediately struck by Dan-el's passion for books and learning. With Jeff's help, Dan-el was accepted on scholarship to Collegiate, the oldest private school in the country. There, Dan-el thrived. Throughout his youth, Dan-el navigated these two worlds: the rough streets of East Harlem, where he lived with his brother and his mother and tried to make friends, and the ultra-elite halls of a Manhattan private school, where he could immerse himself in a world of books and where he soon rose to the top of his class. From Collegiate, Dan-el went to Princeton, where he thrived, and where he made the momentous decision to come out as an undocumented student in a Wall Street Journal profile a few months before he gave the salutatorian's traditional address in Latin at his commencement. Undocumented is a classic story of the triumph of the human spirit. It also is the perfect cri de coeur for the debate on comprehensive immigration reform. Praise for Undocumented "Dan-el Padilla Peralta's story is as compulsively readable as a novel, an all-American tall tale that just happens to be true. From homeless shelter to Princeton, Oxford, and Stanford, through the grace not only of his own hard work but his mother's discipline and care, he documents the America we should still aspire to be." --Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, President of the New America Foundation