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Immigration

Covers contemporary works on the topic of immigration at the UTSA Libraries.

Librarian

Tara Schmidt's picture
Tara Schmidt
Contact:
JPL 4.04.14.3
210-458-4894 Online Zoom meetings available. Email for details.

Introduction

Novels, poetry, memoirs, and film can give us a very personal understanding of the many obstacles faced by immigrants and their families as they experience living in a new country. This guide highlights just a few of the many stories on these topics at the UTSA Libraries. 

For more historical and statistical information on immigration, explore these guides to find additional resources:

Emigration, Immigration, and Migration

Highlights

Islandborn

From New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz comes a debut picture book about the magic of memory and the infinite power of the imagination.   Every kid in Lola's school was from somewhere else. Hers was a school of faraway places.   So when Lola's teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can't remember The Island--she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories--joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening--Lola's imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island.  As she draws closer to the heart of her family's story, Lola comes to understand the truth of her abuela's words: "Just because you don't remember a place doesn't mean it's not in you."   Gloriously illustrated and lyrically written, Islandborn is a celebration of creativity, diversity, and our imagination's boundless ability to connect us--to our families, to our past and to ourselves.

Lost Children Archive

A mother and father set out with their two children, a boy and a girl, driving from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. Their destination: Apacheria, the place the Apaches once called home. Why Apaches? asks the ten-year-old son. Because they were the last of something, answers his father. In their car, they play games and sing along to music. But on the radio, there is news about an "immigration crisis": thousands of kids trying to cross the southwestern border into the United States, but getting detained--or lost in the desert along the way. As the family drives--through Virginia to Tennessee, across Oklahoma and Texas--we sense they are on the brink of a crisis of their own. A fissure is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet. They are led, inexorably, to a grand, harrowing adventure--both in the desert landscape and within the chambers of their own imaginations. Told through several compelling voices, blending texts, sounds, and images, Lost Children Archive is an astonishing feat of literary virtuosity. It is a richly engaging story of how we document our experiences, and how we remember the things that matter to us the most. With urgency and empathy, it takes us deep into the lives of one remarkable family as it probes the nature of justice and equality today.

Lima :: Limón

In her striking second collection, Natalie Scenters-Zapico sets her unflinching gaze once again on the borders of things. Lima :: Limón illuminates both the sweet and the sour of the immigrant experience, of life as a woman in the U.S. and Mexico, and of the politics of the present day. Drawing inspiration from the music of her childhood, her lyrical poems focus on the often-tested resilience of women. Scenters-Zapico writes heartbreakingly about domestic violence and its toxic dualityof macho versus hembra, of masculinity versus femininity, and throws into harsh relief the all-too-normalized pain that women endure. Her sharp verse and intense anecdotes brand her poems into the reader; images like the Virgin Mary crying glass tears and a border fence that leaves never-healing scars intertwine as she stares down femicide and gang violence alike. Unflinching, Scenters-Zapico highlights the hardships and stigma immigrants face on both sides of the border, her desire to create change shining through in every line. Lima :: Limón is grounding and urgent, a collection that speaks out against violence and works toward healing.

Rosa's Einstein

Rosa's Einstein is a Latinx retelling of the Brothers Grimm's Snow-White and Rose-Red, reevaluating border, identity, and immigration narratives through the unlikely amalgamation of physics and fairy tale. In this full-length poetry collection, the girls of Rosa's Einstein embark on a quest to discover what is real and what is possible in the realms of imagination, spurred on by scientific curiosity and emotional resilience. Following a structural narrative arc inspired by the archetypal hero's journey, sisters Rosa and Nieve descend into the desert borderlands of New Mexico to find resolution and healing through a bold and fearless examination of the past, meeting ghostly helpers and hinderers along the way. These metaphorical spirits take the shape of circus performers, scientists, and Lieserl, the lost daughter Albert Einstein gave away. Poet Jennifer Givhan reimagines the life of Lieserl, weaving her search for her scientist father with Rosa and Nieve's own search for theirs. Using details both from Einstein's known life and from quantum physics, Givhan imagines Lieserl in a circus-like landscape of childhood trauma and survival, guided by Rosa and Nieve.

American Street

American Street is an evocative and powerful coming-of-age story perfect for fans of Everything, Everything; Bone Gap; and All American Boys. In this stunning debut novel, Pushcart-nominated author Ibi Zoboi draws on her own experience as a young Haitian immigrant, infusing this lyrical exploration of America with magical realism and vodou culture. On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie--a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola's mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit's west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?