Sunday, May 2, 2010

Great Books- The Immigrant Experience

The Great Books, Great Libraries theme for May is the Immigrant Experience.

The American Dream leads many people from all walks of life to immigrate to the United States. These books highlight the journey that these souls have taken in their quest for a better life. While most involve groups coming to these United States, a few involve people moving to other countries. The idea is the same; these immigrants are seeking better lives. Some of these titles show that the pursuit is not always easy. Many of these stories show that with perseverance and hard work, the dream of a better life can be achieved. Allow the people who have made the journey, or have created a story based on others' experiences, tell you what such a journey is like.

Which groups are represented?
The books in this list represent people from all walks of life. Many popular titles deal with the lives of Irish, African, Indian, Carribean, Japanese, and Chinese immigrants, but are certainly not limited to only these groups.

The experiences in these book vary by age group, too. Adult immigrants arrive with the expectation of more work opportunities and a better life for their families. Some arrive hoping to work so they can later send for their families to join them. Children experience immigration in many unique ways from learning a new language to starting at a new school in a strange land.

Here are a few terrific titles:

Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid
A girl from the West Indies immigrates to a city in the United States to work as an au pair for an American family.  She quickly finds that this "happy" family is falling apart at the seams.

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
After moving from Haiti to New York to be with her mother, Sophie longs to return to her native land.

The House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
Iranian immigrant Behrani has moved to California with his family and finds little luck finding work while his money is quickly running out.

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