25 Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books about Immigration

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission.

If you’re looking for a way to better understand one of the most controversial topics in the world today, look no further than these 25 books about immigration.

Talking about immigration can be difficult, but there are excellent books that offer a moving portrayal of the challenges and experiences of immigrants in a new country. 

Of course, these books provide only a small snapshot of what it means to be an immigrant, but they offer an important perspective on the human experience. 

Because, while the experience may be different, the goal is still the same: to make a better life for themselves and their family.

What these books do is help humanize immigrants by providing readers with relatable characters that they can connect to on a personal level. In doing so, it’s hoped that people will be more understanding and empathetic towards immigrants, whether they are seeking asylum or not.  

Whether you’re looking for an introduction to the topic or want to explore it further, these books are sure to challenge your preconceptions about immigration and change how you look at the world.

Happy Reading!

eli2

If you’re looking for all the upcoming books, take a look at

Best 2022 Upcoming Releases

Top 10 Fiction Books about Immigration

Behold the Dreamers book cover

Behold the Dreamers

 by Imbolo Mbue

This is the story of Jende and Neni, two Cameroonian immigrants, living in New York City and trying to pursue the American dream. But when the economic downturn hits, they are forced to confront the harsh realities of life as immigrants in America. Mbue’s debut novel is a moving and insightful look at immigration, class, and race in America. 

Amazon | Goodreads | Read more

The Namesake book cover

The Namesake

by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Namesake tells the story of a Bengali family who immigrates to the United States in the 1970s. The novel explores the challenges of adapting to a new culture and struggling to find one’s identity. Lahiri’s writing is beautiful and evocative, and her characters are incredibly relatable. This is a must-read for anyone interested in exploring immigration through fiction.

Amazon | Goodreads

Peach Blossom Spring book cover

Peach Blossom Spring

by Melissa Fu

A Chinese family is forced to leave home during the Cultural Revolution. The novel follows their story as they travel through China in search of a new home, and ultimately end up in Taiwan. Chen’s writing is lyrical and poignant, and she does an excellent job of capturing the struggles of displacement and exile. This is a powerful and moving novel about the effects of political turmoil on ordinary people.

All My Rage book cover

All My Rage

by Sabaa Tahir

Newly married Misbah and Toufiq start over after tragedy shakes their lives. In Juniper, California, Salahudin and Noor’s bond is shattered when The Fight happens. Meanwhile Sal also struggles to keep the family motel running while Misbah’s health fails and Toufiq falls into alcoholism.

Amazon | Goodreads

.
Exit West book cover

Exit West

 by Mohsin Hamid

This novel follows a young couple as they flee their home country during an unspecified civil war. As they journey from place to place, they must grapple with what it means to be a refugee and what it means to be human. This is a timely and important novel and a moving exploration of what it means to be an outsider in a constantly changing world.

Amazon | Goodreads 

Save for Later

MUST READ BOOKS ABOUT IMMIGRATION
The Leavers

The Leavers

 by Lisa Ko

The Leavers tells the story of Deming Guo, an immigrant from China who is adopted by an American couple. When his mother suddenly disappears, Deming is forced to grapple with his identity as an immigrant and as an American. Ko’s debut novel is a moving and beautifully written exploration of immigration, identity, and family.

Amazon | Goodreads 

The Sympathizer

The Sympathizer

 by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize,The Sympathizer is the story of a North Vietnamese agent who infiltrates the South Vietnamese army during the Vietnam War. The novel follows him as he struggles with his divided loyalties and tries to come to terms with the horrors of war. Nguyen’s debut novel is a searing indictment of the Vietnam War that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

Amazon | Goodreads 

A Place for Us book cover

A Place for Us

 by Fatima Farheen Mirza

A Place for Us tells the story of an Indian-American Muslim family living in California. As the eldest son prepares to get married, the family must grapple with their own traditions and the expectations of their community. Mirza’s debut novel is a moving exploration of identity, religion, and family.

Amazon | Goodreads 

Native Speaker

Native Speaker

 by Chang-Rae Lee

Native Speaker is the story of Henry Park, a Korean-American man who is hired to spy on a suspected traitor. Park’s assignment leads him to question his own identity, and he must grapple with the complexities of race and ethnicity in America. Lee’s novel is a moving exploration of what it means to be an outsider in one’s own country.

Amazon | Goodreads 

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

 by Junot Diaz

A Dominican-American teenager growing up in New Jersey. Oscar struggles to find his place in the world, but he eventually comes to appreciate the beauty of his culture and his community.  Diaz’s debut novel is a coming-of-age story that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.

Amazon | Goodreads 

Best Nonfiction Books About Immigration

In the Country We Love book cover

In the Country We Love 

by Diane Guerrero

In this memoir, actress Diane Guerrero shares her own experience as a child of immigrants who was left alone in the United States when her parents were deported. Guerrero candidly discusses the challenges and heartbreak of living in a country that doesn’t always feel like home. Her story is a powerful reminder of the human cost of our broken immigration system and an inspiring example of resilience in the face of adversity.

Amazon | Goodreads 

The Line Becomes a River book cover

The Line Becomes A River

by Francisco Cantu

Francisco Cantu is a former border patrol agent. In his work, Cantu chronicles his journey from enforcer to advocate, and he offers a powerful insight into the lives of immigrants in America. The Line Becomes A River represents an essential work of immigrant literature.

Amazon | Goodreads 

.
The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us

by Reyna Grande

Reyna Grande’s journey from Mexico to America. This memoir explores her own experience as an undocumented immigrant in Los Angeles and her struggles to adjust to life in a new country. It offers an intimate and moving look at what it means to be an immigrant in America today.

Amazon | Goodreads 

Save for Later

MUST-READS ABOUT IMMIGRATION
The-Devil_s-Highway

The Devil’s Highway

by Luis Alberto Urrea

From a Pulitzer Prize finalist, comes the immigration story of a group of men who attempted to cross the Mexican border via the “Devil’s Highway”. In this novel, Urrea chronicles their journey, and offers a powerful insight into their lives.

Amazon | Goodreads 

The Best We Could Do book cover

The Best We Could Do

by Thi Bui

The Best We Could Do is a graphic novel that tells the story of Thi Bui’s own childhood and her family as they grapple with their experiences as Vietnamese immigrants in America.

Amazon | Goodreads 

Young Adult Books about the Immigrant Experience

The Poet X book cover

The Poet X

 by Elizabeth Acevedo

A coming-of-age novel in verse about a Dominican-American girl who discovers the power of poetry. Xiomara is a fierce and passionate protagonist, and Acevedo’s writing is electric. This is an empowering and uplifting novel about finding your voice and speaking your truth.

Amazon | Goodreads 

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter book cover

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

 by Erika L. Sanchez

Julia, a Mexican-American teenager is trying to find her place in the world.  After her perfect sister Olga died tragically, Julia tries to live up to her sister’s memory, but she must also grapple with her own identity as a Mexican-American girl. Sanchez’s debut novel is a moving and honest exploration of family, identity, and what it means to be imperfect.

Amazon | Goodreads 

The Sun Is Also a Star book cover

The Sun is Also a Star

 by Nicola Yoon

The story of two teenagers, Natasha and Daniel, who fall in love. Natasha is an immigrant who is facing deportation, and Daniel is a Korean-American whose family is struggling to keep their business afloat. Yoon’s novel is a moving exploration of love, loss, and immigration.

Amazon | Goodreads 

The House on Mango Street book cover

The House on Mango Street

 by Sandra Cisneros

Esperanza is a young Latina girl who is growing up in Chicago. As she comes of age, she must grapple with the challenges of being a Latina woman in America. Cisneros’s novel is a brilliant exploration of identity, family, and community.

Amazon | Goodreads 

We Are Not from Here book cover

We Are Not From Here

 by Jenny Torres Sanchez

A powerful novel about three teens who are forced to flee their home in Guatemala and embark on a perilous journey to the United States. The novel follows Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña as they travel through Mexico, encountering danger and hardships along the way. Despite the challenges they face, the trio remains determined to reach their destination, where they hope to find a better life.

Amazon | Goodreads 

Book Club Books about Immigration

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

 by Christy Lefteri

A Syrian refugee who must grapple with the challenges of living in a new country. As he struggles to rebuild his life, he must find a way to reconcile his past with his present. Lefteri’s novel is a moving exploration of the human cost of war and displacement. 

Amazon | Goodreads 

Americanah

Americanah

 by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ifemelu, a Nigerian woman moves to the United States for college. Ifemelu must grapple with the challenges of being a black woman in America, and she eventually decides to return to Nigeria. Adichie’s novel is a thought-provoking exploration of race, identity, and immigration.

Amazon | Goodreads 

American Dirt book cover

American Dirt

 by Jeanine Cummins

A Mexican mother and her son who are forced to flee to the United States after a drug cartel murders their entire family. The novel follows their journey as they attempt to cross the border and start new lives in America.

Amazon | Goodreads 

American Street

American Street

 by Ibi Zoboi

This National Book Award finalist tells the story of a young girl named Fabiola, a Haitian immigrant who must grapple with the challenges of living in a new country. American Street is a moving exploration of what it means to be an outsider in America.

Amazon | Goodreads 

Pachinko

Pachinko

 by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko is the story of a Korean family who immigrates to Japan. The novel chronicles their struggles to assimilate in a new country, and it offers a moving exploration of the human cost of immigration.

Amazon | Goodreads 

.

Do you have a favorite book about immigration or the immigrant experience? Let me know in the comments!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.