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READING SUGGESTIONS FOR GRADES 5 - 12
The Crossing by Gary Paulsen (2006)
Grade Level: 6-8. Realistic Fiction
14 year old Manny is an orphan in Juarez, Mexico. He competes with his bigger, meaner rivals for the coins American tourists throw off the bridge between Texas and his town. Across that heavily guarded bridge await a different world and a better existence.
On the night when Manny dares the crossing--through the muddy shallows of the Rio Grande, past the searchlights and the border patrol--the young man encounters an old stranger who could prove to be an ally or an enemy. Manny can't tell for certain. But if he is to achieve his dream, then he must be willing to risk everything--even his life.
Downtown Boy by Juan Felipe Herrera (2005)
Grade Level: 3-8. Realistic Fiction
Juanito, the narrator, is always moving. His Papi is always traveling somewhere, searching for a cure for his diabetes. And he and his Mami are always waiting for el carton, the welfare check, which takes a while to catch up with their frequent moves. Although Juanito is tall and strong-looking he doesn't want to be a boxer, like his cousin Chacho tells him to be. What he really wants is to stay at one school and in one neighborhood, for his Papi to be home, and for people to learn to correctly pronounce his name. However, the book is not about immigration; it is about Juanito and how he tries to find a place in the world.
Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario (2014). Adapted for young people.
Grade Level: 9-12.
The true story of Enrique, a teenager from Honduras, who sets out on a journey, braving hardship and peril, to find his mother, who had no choice, but to leave him when he was a child and go to the United States in search of work. Enrique's story will bring to light the daily struggles of migrants, legal and otherwise, and the complicated choices they face simply trying to survive and provide for the basic needs of their families. The issues seamlessly interwoven in this gripping nonfiction work are perfect for common core discussion.
First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants by Donald R. Gallo, editor (2007)
Grade Level: 6-8.
The contemporary teen immigrants in Gallo's newest story collection hail from a mix of countries--Cambodia, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Mexico, South Korea--reflective of current immigration trends. Among the 10 stories, readers will encounter teens that have left homelands behind for reasons not so different from those of earlier generations; others' circumstances are more distinctly modern, such as the Korean-born girl adopted by white parents and the Swedish teen uprooted from his home by his father's globetrotting career. Overtly tolerance-promoting tales are well balanced with irreverent ones: Lensey Namioka reflects on Chinese etiquette and David Lubar takes a comic look at a Transylvanian immigrant who finds unexpected friends among his school's vampire-obsessed Goths. Newly transplanted teens will find the voices represented in this collection far more relevant than those echoing forth from the huddled masses of Ellis Island, and American-born readers will gain insight from the palpable depictions of what it's like to be thrust into "the middle of a game where [you] don't know the players, the rules, or even the object."
Homestretch by Paul Volponi (2009)
Grade Level: 9-12. General Fiction
Sixteen-year-old Gas is running away from a lot of things. His mother was killed by a policeman chasing an undocumented immigrant, and his depressed father has become so abusive that Gas can't take it anymore. As luck would have it, he ends up hitching a ride in a truck with three recent arrivals from Mexico, brothers who find him work he desperately needs. Gas's attitude does not improve when he discovers that the brothers' skill with horses makes them much more useful to employers than he is. Despite the brothers' kindness to him, Gas can't shake the idea his father drilled into him: that his mother was killed by an immigrant (even though she was really killed by the cop). It takes a while for Gas to recognize that his crooked employer is exploiting him just as much as he's exploiting the Mexican workers. Teens who like hard-knock books will be engaged in Gas's struggle to pull himself out of his bad situation and his prejudice. Gas is not, however, a politically correct narrator, and both adults and teens may be shocked and upset by his use of derogatory racial slurs. I'd suggest bearing with it; for one thing, Gas does change, and for another, the book focuses on how people develop racist views in the first place.
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julie Alvarez (1991)
Grade Level 9-12. Realistic Fiction
The novel is divided in three parts: Part I (1989–1972), is centered on the adult
lives of the García sisters; Part II (1970–1960), describes their immigration to the United States and their adolescence, and Part III (1960–1956) recollects their early childhood on the island, in the Dominican Republic.
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (1999)
Grade Level: 3-7. Historical Fiction
Inside Out and Back Again is a New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor Book, and a winner of the National Book Award. Inspired by the author's childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to Alabama, this coming-of-age debut novel told in verse has been celebrated for its touching child's-eye view of family and immigration.
Hà has only ever known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope—toward America. This moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing received four starred reviews, including one from Kirkus which proclaimed it "enlightening, poignant, and unexpectedly funny."
Journey of Hope, Memoirs of a Mexican Girl by Rosalina Rosay (2007)
An autobiography of a Mexican girl who immigrates illegally to Los Angeles, California in the 1970's. The book begins with a very young Rosalina recounting her early childhood memories in a small town surrounded by farms in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. Rosalina takes her readers on a vivid journey into life in Mexico as experienced by a young girl in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Surrounded by poverty, the only real hope for many people in the town for a job, a decent life, and an education was to emigrate illegally to the United States. Follow along the Journey of Hope taken by one Mexican girl whose love for learning and appreciation for America will touch your heart.
Kids Like Me: Voices of the Immigrant Experience by Judith M. Blohm (2006)
As our neighborhoods grow more diverse, a variety of cultures, values and traditions become an important part of our classrooms and schools. In Kids Like Me: Voices of the Immigrant Experience, twenty-six personal narratives celebrate the experiences of young people making new homes in unfamiliar communities - finding common ground as they make new friends, learn different languages and share their unique cultural identities. Kids Like Me personalizes the important themes of cultures and customs, immigration and citizenship and learning to appreciate differences. While written to help youth understand their classmates and friends, Kids Like Me also includes discussion questions, self-directed activities and research ideas for teachers and families that can be used in classrooms, clubs and community settings. Richly illustrated with photos and maps of each home country, the text presents countless opportunities to explore and understand new cultures and new friends.
Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow by Faïza Guène, Translated by Sarah Adams (2004)
Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow is about a teenaged Moroccan immigrant girl living outside of Paris. Doria, a smart, appealing first-person narrator, gives a witty and defensive account of the problems in her life: how her father took off to Morocco to find a wife who could give him sons, how she and her mother have to shop at the charity store, how her mother (whose name is Yasmina) gets called Fatma just like all the other Arabs where she works, and how she (Doria) is supposed to talk to all these smug social workers who are probably patting themselves on the back for working with "at-risk youth" in the projects. With all this, Doria doesn't see the point in exerting herself in school. What do poor Arabs in France get to do anyway? Despite its setting in France, many of Doria's problems will ring true to American teenagers. Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow follows some familiar formulas of young adult fiction, like the sassy narrator and her gradual maturation into adult responsibilities; but it's a satisfying formula, and in this case, well-written and effective. This novel is a good read, and also a good reminder that the United States is not the only country dealing with immigration issues. In my work, I've found that many teens are interested in cross-cultural conflict abroad; this book is a good place to start addressing that interest.
Red Glass by Laura Resau (2009)
One night Sophie and her parents are called to a hospital where Pedro, a six-year-old Mexican boy, is recovering from dehydration. Crossing the border into Arizona with a group of Mexicans and a coyote, or guide, Pedro and his parents faced such harsh conditions that the boy is the only survivor. Pedro comes to live with Sophie, her parents, and Sophie's Aunt Dika, a refugee of the war in Bosnia. Sophie loves Pedro—her Principito, or Little Prince. But after a year, Pedro's surviving family in Mexico makes contact, and Sophie, Dika, Dika's new boyfriend, and his son must travel with Pedro to his hometown so that he can make a heart wrenching decision.
The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (2011)
Grade Level: 6-8. Historical Fiction
The Red Umbrella is the moving tale of a 14-year-old girl's journey from Cuba to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan—an organized exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, whose parents sent them away to escape Fidel Castro's revolution.
In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. Her friends feel like strangers. And her family is being watched.
As the revolution's impact becomes more oppressive, Lucía's parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own.
Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life. But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl? The Red Umbrella is a moving story of country, culture, family, and the true meaning of home.
Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez (2010)
Grade Level: 6-8. Realistic Fiction
After Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident; his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn't sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943)
Grade Level: 9-12
Francie Nolan, avid reader, penny-candy connoisseur, and adroit observer of human nature, has much to ponder in colorful, turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. She grows up with a sweet, tragic father, a severely realistic mother, and an aunt who gives her love too freely--to men, and to a brother who will always be the favored child. Francie learns early the meaning of hunger and the value of a penny. She is her father's child--romantic and hungry for beauty. But she is her mother's child, too--deeply practical and in constant need of truth. Like the Tree of Heaven that grows out of cement or through cellar gratings, resourceful Francie struggles against all odds to survive and thrive. Betty Smith's poignant, honest novel created a big stir when it was first published over 50 years ago. Her frank writing about life's squalor was alarming to some of the more genteel society, but the book's humor and pathos ensured its place in the realm of classics--and in the hearts of readers, young and old.
READING SUGGESTIONS FOR ADULT READERS
Across a Hundred Mountains by Reyna Grande (2007)
After a tragedy separates her from her mother, Juana García leaves her small town in Mexico to find her father, who left his family two years earlier to find work in America and rise above the oppressive poverty of his country. Out of money and in need of someone to help her across the border, Juana meets Adelina Vasquez, a young woman who left her family in California to follow her lover to Mexico. Finding themselves — in a Tijuana jail — in desperate circumstances, they offer each other much needed material and spiritual support and ultimately become linked forever in the most unexpected of ways.
Chasing the Moon by Carolyn Boehlke (2013)
Nadia Alvarez, a fifteen-year-old Mexican immigrant travels from a remote and poverty stricken village in southern Mexico with her family to the United States. They sneak illegally into the country through a drain pipe that connects from Sonora, Mexico to Arizona. As the family enters into the country, the Border Patrol is waiting for them and they are captured all except for Nadia. Assuming the identity of her brother, she is now alone in an unknown country and torn whether she should allow herself to be caught and reunited with her family, or continue on in American and live her parents' dream of a better life. Nadia eventually makes her way across the country to Minnesota, living in downtown Minneapolis and working as a laundry girl in a hotel. Chasing the Moon creates a love triangle between Nadia, her home and family in Mexico, and her new "better" life in America. This is a unique and unbiased examination of immigration and what it means to search for "a better life."
Dancing with Butterflies by Reyna Grande (2009)
Uses the alternating voices of four very different women whose lives interconnect through a common passion for their Mexican heritage and a dance company called Alegría. Yesenia, who founded Alegría with her husband, Eduardo, sabotages her own efforts to remain a vital, vibrant woman when she travels back and forth across the Mexican border for cheap plastic surgery. Elena, grief stricken by the death of her only child and the end of her marriage, finds herself falling dangerously in love with one of her underage students. Elena's sister, Adriana, wears the wounds of abandonment by a dysfunctional family and becomes unable to discern love from abuse. Soledad, the sweet-tempered illegal immigrant who designs costumes for Alegría, finds herself stuck back in Mexico, where she returns to see her dying grandmother.
The Fifth Sun by Mary Helen Lagasse (2004)
Winner of the 3rd Annual Miguel MÃ¡rmol Prize from Curbstone Press, Mary Helen Lagasse's The Fifth Sun is an inspiring story of an immigrant who struggles valiantly for a better life for herself and her family. The young Mexican woman, Mercedes, leaves her village to work as a housemaid in New Orleans. This fast-paced novel takes her through her adventures in New Orleans, her marriage, her struggle to raise her children, her -deportation, and her attempt to re-cross the river and be reunited with her children.
House on Mango Street by Cisneros, Sandra (1984)
A coming-of-age novel, it tells the story of a young Latina girl, Esperanza Cordero, growing up in a Chicago ghetto. Esperanza's age is never told to the reader, but it is implied she is about twelve. She begins to write as a way of expressing herself and as a way to escape the suffocating effect of the neighborhood. The novella also includes the stories of many of Esperanza's neighbors, giving a full picture of the neighborhood and showing the many influences surrounding her. Esperanza quickly befriends Lucy and Rachel, two Texan girls who live across the street. Lucy, Rachel, Esperanza, and Esperanza's little sister, Nenny, have many adventures in the small space of their neighborhood. Esperanza later slips into puberty and begins to like it when boys watch her dance. Esperanza's newfound views lead her to become friends with Sally, a girl her age who wears seductive clothes and uses boys as an escape from her abusive father. Esperanza is not completely comfortable with Sally's sexuality. Their friendship is compromised when Sally ditches Esperanza for a boy at a carnival. As a result Esperanza is sexually assaulted by a group of men at the carnival. Earlier at her first job, an elderly man tricked her into kissing him. Esperanza's traumatic experiences and observations of the women in her neighborhood cement her desire to escape Mango Street. She later realizes that she will never fully be able to leave Mango Street behind. She vows that after she leaves she will return to help the people she has left behind.
Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea (2009)
Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the United States to find work. Recently, it has dawned on her that he isn't the only man who has left town. In fact, there are almost no men in the village--they've all gone north. While watching The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli decides to go north herself and recruit seven men--her own "Siete Magníficos"--to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over.
Filled with unforgettable characters and prose as radiant as the Sinaloan sun, Into the Beautiful North is the story of an irresistible young woman's quest to find herself on both sides of the fence.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hossein (2003)
Set against the backdrop of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s
and the subsequent civil war, this novel tells the story of two friends, Amir and Hassan. Amir flees Afghanistan for the United States with his father and adjusts to life in California, while Hassan stays behind in Afghanistan. Years later, as Amir pursues his education to become a writer, he learns his old friend's son needs his help.
Mosquito by Gayl Jones (1999)
Depending on your tolerance for digression, Gayl Jones's Mosquito will either be hugely entertaining or absolutely crazy-making. The heroine and narrator of this hefty tome is Sojourner Jane Nadine Johnson--Mosquito, to her friends--an African American truck driver with a mind as flighty as the insect she's named for. You know what you're up against from the very first paragraph in which Mosquito expounds on Texas border towns, tanning products, cacti, a teacup shaped like a cactus, the town of Brownsville, and the Kiowa word for Brownsville (which she can't remember). All of this is delivered in lively dialect. What sets the story rolling is Mosquito's discovery of a young pregnant Mexican woman in the back of her truck. Not surprisingly, it takes all of chapter 1 for her to actually get to this discovery as she is distracted numerous times by her mail, other people she's met along the road, a trip to an aquarium in Florida, and the relationship between yoga and yogurt--to name just a few of the many, many subjects she expounds upon before finally getting back around to the pregnant Mexican in the truck. From here on out, the novel concerns Mosquito's involvement in a "new underground railroad," a sanctuary movement for illegal immigrants. In addition to mother-to-be Maria, we meet Delgadina, a Chicana bartender and wannabe detective; Monkey Bread, a childhood friend; and Ray, a man Mosquito might just be willing to slow down for. What raises this novel above the merely picaresque is Jones's sophisticated political sensibility: as Mosquito makes her physical journey across the Southwest, she embarks on a cultural odyssey as well, examining the struggles of all the "second class peoples" to find a place for themselves in America. Letters, plays, poetry, and songs punctuate the narrative and Mosquito's distinctive voice always keeps the story "keepin' on.
The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle (1995)
Topanga Canyon is home to two couples on a collision course. Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher lead an ordered sushi-and-recycling existence in a newly gated hilltop community: he a sensitive nature writer, she an obsessive realtor. Mexican illegals Candido and America Rincon desperately cling to their vision of the American Dream as they fight off starvation in a makeshift camp deep in the ravine. And from the moment a freak accident brings Candido and Delaney into intimate contact, these four and their opposing worlds gradually intersect in what becomes a tragicomedy of error and misunderstanding.
We Are Americans: Undocumented Students Pursuing the American Dream by William Perez (2009)
Winner of the CEP Mildred Garcia Award for Exemplary Scholarship. About 2.4 million children and young adults under 24 years of age are undocumented. Brought by their parents to the US as minors many before they had reached their teens they account for about one-sixth of the total undocumented population. Illegal through no fault of their own, some 65,000 undocumented students graduate from the nation's high schools each year. They cannot get a legal job, and face enormous barriers trying to enter college to better themselves and yet America is the only country they know and, for many, English is the only language they speak. What future do they have? Why are we not capitalizing, as a nation, on this pool of talent that has so much to contribute? What should we be doing? Through the inspiring stories of 16 students from seniors in high school to graduate students William Perez gives voice to the estimated 2.4 million undocumented students in the United States, and draws attention to their plight. These stories reveal how despite financial hardship, the unpredictability of living with the daily threat of deportation, restrictions of all sorts, and often in the face of discrimination by their teachers so many are not just persisting in the American educational system, but achieving academically, and moreover often participating in service to their local communities. Perez reveals what drives these young people, and the visions they have for contributing to the country they call home. Through these stories, this book draws attention to these students predicament, to stimulate the debate about putting right a wrong not of their making, and to motivate more people to call for legislation, like the stalled Dream Act, that would offer undocumented students who participate in the economy and civil life a path to citizenship. Perez goes beyond this to discuss the social and policy issues of immigration reform. He dispels myths about illegal immigrants supposed drain on state and federal resources, providing authoritative evidence to the contrary. He cogently makes the case on economic, social, and constitutional and moral grounds for more flexible policies towards undocumented immigrants. If today s immigrants, like those of past generations, are a positive force for our society, how much truer is that where undocumented students are concerned?
All the Pretty Horses (2000, Rated: PG-13)
This film released in 2000, is about a young drifter from Texas, John Grady Cole who crosses the border with high hopes. Written by Laurence Mixson, and directed by the infamous Billy Bob Thorton, this movie is thrilling, heart breaking, and inspiring. Set in the 1940's, border crossing was still unsafe and unsure; however the two boys are not coming to America, but leaving. Cole and his friend Lacey Rawlins find Mexico to be beautiful yet also very unwelcoming and mysterious. Hardships galore, the two make their way into the heart of Mexico.
A Better Life (2011, Rated: PG-13)
Single father, Carlos, wants a better life for his only son, 14-year-old Luis. The clashes between father and son are, in many ways, not unlike those in many families. Living in East L.A., Luis sees his best friend tempted toward joining a gang, when Carlos needs his son's help after he has been cheated. The son begins to understand his father's nonviolence and "keep your head down" approach as something much more than cowardice and indifference.
Crossing Arizona (2006, Documentary)
Seen through the eyes of many who are involved of the immigration of illegal aliens, this movie tells all sides of this national problem. Including tales from frustrated ranchers, humanitarian groups, political activists, and minutemen, this film does an excellent job of showing all aspects. Crossing Arizona shows the different views and concerns that people from all walks of life have on this specific issue.
Crossing Over (2009, Rated: R)
A harrowing look at life amongst illegal immigrants and the immigration enforcement agents whose job it is to ensure that the U.S. borders remain secure. Every day, a new batch of immigrants comes flooding into Los Angeles in search of the American dream -- and every day the price of that dream rises exponentially. As the desperation of these newcomers continually tests the humanity of Los Angeles immigration enforcement officers, the face of a 21st century L.A. gradually begins to take form.
A Day Without a Mexican (2004, Rated: R)
One morning the entire Mexican population of California has disappeared. The economic, political and social implications of this disaster threaten California's way of life. and earning money with the dangers of being an illegal immigrant.
Dying to Get In: Undocumented Immigration at the U.S. Mexican Border (2005, Documentary)
Even though this film may be more difficult than usual to get a hold of, it is well worth the wait, as it is one of the few documentaries that really lets you walk in someone else's shoes. This film, featured on the Discovery Channel is a short documentary in which the director Brett Tolley, literally takes this infamous journey along with a group of Hispanics, through the Sonora Desert into Arizona.
El Alambrista (1977, Rated: NR)
At first glance, El Alambrista is simply a tale of an aspiring Mexican wrestler who eventually makes his way to the U.S. to support his family. However, after watching this movie twice, the well-directed action scenes, witty humor, and underlying tones of battling racism, this movie is a bonafide awesome work of a low budget yet high quality film. After a family tragedy, the main character embarks on the most dangerous journey of his life so far: crossing the border. Including scenes with corrupt police and the struggles that illegal immigrants bravely face, El Alambrista offers a realistic portrayal of what "crossing" must be like.
El Chogui : A Mexican Immigrant Story (2001, Documentary)
Luis Miguel, a young peasant living in Oaxaca, had a dream. He wanted to lift his family out of poverty by becoming a champion Mexican boxer. He even invented a name for himself -- "El Chogui" (Little Bird). But when he determined that fame and fortune in the boxing ring was not a real possibility, he decided to emigrate to the US, following the footsteps of countless other Mexican peasants.
Farmingville (2004, Documentary)
The shocking hate-based attempted murders of two Mexican day laborers catapult a small Long Island town into national headlines, unmasking a new front line in the border wars: suburbia. For nearly a year, Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini lived and worked in Farmingville, New York, so they could capture first-hand the stories of residents, day laborers and activists on all sides of the debate.
Gran Torino (2008, Rated: R)
Gritty, harsh portrayal of retired auto worker and U.S. veteran, whose neighborhood has changed from the descendants of Polish immigrants, like himself, to the Hmong people who are refugees from Southeast Asia. The racist attitudes and epiphytes are difficult for modern P.C. sensibilities, but accurate and central to the ultimate understanding of retribution and family bound by blood that has nothing to do with kinship. Clint Eastwood stars in and directs this masterpiece.
Here and There (2012)
Returning home to a small mountain village in Guerrero, Mexico after years of working in the US, Pedro finds his daughters older, and more distant than he imagined, though his wife is ecstatic to have him back. Having saved some of his earnings, he hopes to now finally make a better life with his family, and even to pursue his dreams on the side by starting a band. Work, however, remains scarce, and the temptation of returning north of the border – a place of hope that's always in his mind – remains as strong as ever. Using a cast of non-professionals, first-time director Antonio Mendez Esparza has, created a fresh, authentic, eloquently understated portrait of lives in a constant state of uncertainty, and the toll that it takes on one family. The film's richness of natural detail and delicately nuanced characterizations are reminiscent of the magic of Italy's neo-realist period, allowing each small, expressive moment to soar beyond cliché or easy stereotype. In Spanish with English subtitles.
In America (2002, Rated: PG-13)
From Academy Award Nominee Jim Sheridan comes this deeply personal and poignant tale of a poor Irish family searching for a better life In America. Through the eyes of their spunky daughters, two anguished parents find hope and the ability to once again believe in love and magic" even amidst the dangers of New York's harrowing Hell's Kitchen.
The Joy Luck Club (1993, Rated: R)
Wayne Wang directed this adaptation of Amy Tan's bestselling novel. It is the story of four Chinese women who immigrated to the U.S. and their first-generation daughters. When one of the women dies, her daughter, June plays Mahjong with the older women and beings to really learn what her mother endured in China and of her sisters who were left behind.
Latino Americans (2014)
A six-hour PBS documentary covering over 500 years of history. The film chronicles Latinos in the United States from the sixteenth century to present day. Interviews featured in "Latino Americans" range from civil and workers' rights activist Dolores Huerta, to Mexican-American author and commentator Linda Chávez, to Oscar-winning actress Rita Moreno. http://www.pbs.org/latino-americans/en/about/
Lost Boys of Sudan (2003, Documentary)
A feature-length documentary that follows two teenage Sudanese refugees on an extraordinary journey from Africa to America. Orphaned as young boys in one of Africa's cruelest civil wars, Peter Dut and Santino Chuor survived lion attacks and militia gunfire to reach a refugee camp in Kenya along with thousands of other children. From there, remarkably, they were chosen to come to America. Safe at last from physical danger and hunger, a world away from home, they find themselves confronted with the abundance and alienation of contemporary American suburbia.
My Family (1995, Rated R)
Sprawling immigrant saga tells the stories of three generations of the Sanchez family as they migrate to California during the 1920s, weather the Depression and a world war, and look to the future.
The Other Side of Immigration (2009, Documentary)
Based on over 700 interviews in Mexican towns where about half the population has left to work in the United States, The Other Side of Immigration asks why so many Mexicans come to the U.S. and what happens to the families and communities they leave behind. Through an approach that is both subtle and thought-provoking, filmmaker Roy Germano provides a perspective on undocumented immigration rarely witnessed by American eyes, challenging audiences to imagine more creative and effective solutions to the problem. "There are inevitably real people behind the strident slogans and ideological labels in today's immigration debate. Roy Germano's The Other Side of Immigration does more than any other work to give people otherwise disparaged as 'threatening' and 'illegal' a human face and to reveal the devastating personal effects of U.S. immigration and economic policies on our closest neighbors."
Road to Opportunity (2006, Rated: NR)
In search of his father while in pursuit of his family's dream, a young Mexican man embarks on a journey to America.
Sin Nombre (2009, Rated: R)
This film combines two stories. One involves a young woman, Sayra, a native of Honduras who embarks on a journey with her father and uncle to escape Guatemala/Mexico and hopes to bring her relatives to a more promising New Jersey. The other involves a young gang member, Willy (aka "Casper"), from South Mexico who makes a living robbing people who ride the train. Eventually, the two cross paths and endure vicious racism, the dangers of gang violence and the terrible struggles of the ultimate fight for freedom.
Spanglish (2004, Rated: PG-13)
Mexican mother, Flor, enters the U.S. with her young daughter seeking a better life. When she accepts a position as a domestic with an American family it becomes very difficult to maintain her privacy and distance. A story about assimilation, this film provides lessons on tolerance for the misguided but good intentions of immigrants as well as the Americans who employ and/or befriend them.
Sueño (2005, Rated: PG-13)
Romantic comedy in which a Mexican immigrant in Los Angeles enters a singing contest and achieves the American Dream—and then some.
Under The Same Moon (2007, Rated: PG-13)
Tells the parallel stories of nine-year-old Carlitos and his mother, Rosario. In the hopes of providing a better life for her son, Rosario works illegally in the U.S. while her mother cares for Carlito's back in Mexico. Unexpected circumstances drive both Rosario and Carlito to embark on their own journeys in a desperate attempt to reunite. Along the way, mother and son face challenges and obstacles but never lose hope that they will one day be together again.
The Visitor (2007, Rated: PG-13)
In Connecticut, lonely widowed Professor Walter Vale has a boring life. He teaches only one class at the local college and is trying to learn how to play the piano, despite not having the necessary musical talent. Walter is assigned to attend a conference about Global Policy and Development at New York University, where he is to give a lecture about a paper on which he is co-author. When he arrives at his apartment in New York, he finds Tarek Khalil, a Syrian musician, and Zainab, a Senegalese street vendor, living there. He sympathizes with the situation of the illegal immigrants and invites the couple to stay with him. Tarek invites him to go to his gig at Jules Live Jazz. Walter is fascinated with his African drum and Tarek offers to teach Walter to play the drum. However, after an incident in the subway, Tarek is arrested by the police and sent to a detention center for illegal immigrants. Walter has just hired a lawyer to defend Tarek when, out of the blue, Tarek's mother Mouna arrives at the apartment from Michigan. He invites her to stay in Tarek's room and while trying to get Tarek released, Walter and Mouna get close to each other and he finds reasons to feel life can be exciting and worth living again.
Which Way Home (2009, Documentary)
A feature documentary film that follows unaccompanied child migrants, on their journey through Mexico, as they try to reach the United States. We follow children like Olga and Freddy, nine-year old Hondurans, who are desperately trying to reach their parents in the US.; children like Jose, a ten-year old El Salvadoran, who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center; and Kevin, a canny, streetwise fourteen-year old Honduran, whose mother hopes that he will reach the U.S. and send money back to her. These are stories of hope and courage, disappointment and sorrow. They are the children you never hear about; the invisible ones.