No week is the wrong week to dive into good books by or about migrants and immigrants. During a time of heightened scrutiny and inflammatory rhetoric directed at immigrants in the United States, these stories have never been more valuable.
This may be the exact right week to read an migration or immigration narrative, though: It’s New York City’s annual Immigrant Heritage Week, and to celebrate, the New York Public Library’s Elizabeth Waters posted a fantastic list of NYC-based immigration books, both fiction and non-fiction, worth checking out. (The NYPL is also throwing a number of free events in honor of the week, for New York readers.)
It’s easy for some to see immigrants as threatening outsiders who are encroaching on their resources, jobs and space. But a closer look at the experiences of people who have immigrated or migrated to the United States often shows a more nuanced, humane viewpoint. Immigrants’ novels and memoirs can remind us that they’re simply flesh-and-blood people, who have often overcome great obstacles to earn a living, to improve their new communities and to become American.
Check out the NYPL’s recommendations below ― click on the titles to check out the books from the NYPL ― and head to their blog for more on the selected books.