immigrants -- fiction

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, by Julia Alvarez

How the Garcial Girls Lost Their Accents

In a reverse chronological sequence of events, Julia Alvarez takes her readers through the immigration experience of the four Garcia sisters: Carla, Sandra, Yolanda and Sofia in How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. Leaving behind a life of privilege surrounded by their large extended family, the four girls move with their Papi and Mami to New York City, and begin the long, never-ending process of assimilating into American culture. The story is as much a coming of age tale as it is a feminist, Latino perspective on American culture, beautifully conveyed with a sprinkling of Spanish vocabulary here and there.

The sisters are adults at the beginning of the book, and going back in time, the reader experiences their divorces, marriages, college years, teenage angst and confusion, and efforts to learn English while attending American public schools. Their father’s involvement in a plot against the dictator, the subsequent investigations by the authorities, and the escape with the help of friends and family are all experienced by the reader alongside Carla, Sandra, Yolanda and Sofia. Alvarez did a good job of keeping me hooked. The why’s and the how’s unfold further and further the closer the reader gets to the end of the book--which is actually the beginning of the story. 

Walk Through Darkness

By David Anthony Durham

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"...the story of two very different men, each on a quest, both tied together by a history of remorse, jealousy, and a love that crosses the barriers of race during the time of slavery. William, a fugitive slave from Maryland, is driven by two powerful needs--to find his wife, Dover, who is pregnant with his child, and to live as a free man. He undertakes the treacherous journey north to restore meaning to his life, putting him at odds with the law and the sentiments of a nation. Morrison, who fled a painful youth in Scotland, had once hoped to establish a new life in America with his brother, but the unforeseen realities of immigrant life drove them apart."
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Maggie's Door

By Patricia Reilly Giff

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In the mid-1800s, Nory and her neighbor and friend, Sean, set out separately on a dangerous journey from famine-plagued Ireland, hoping to reach a better life in America.

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Small Beauties: The Journey of Darcy Heart O'Hara

By Elvira Woodruff

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Darcy Heart O'Hara, a young Irish girl who neglects her chores to observe the beauties of nature and everyday life, shares "family memories" with her homesick parents and siblings after the O'Haras are forced to emigrate to America in the 1840s.

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Mazel

By Rebecca Goldstein

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Mazel means luck in Yiddish, and luck is the guiding force in this magical and mesmerizing novel that spans three generations. Sasha Saunders is the daughter of a Polish rabbi who abandons the shtetl and wins renown as a Yiddish actress in Warsaw and New York. Her daughter Chloe becomes a professor of classics at Columbia. Chloe's daughter Phoebe grows up to become a mathematician who is drawn to traditional Judaism and the sort of domestic life in suburban New Jersey that her mother and grandmother rejected.
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