The Undocumented Americans

Looking beyond the flashpoints of the border or the activism of the DREAMers, Cornejo Villavicencio explores the lives of the undocumented—and the mysteries of her own life. She finds the singular, effervescent characters across the nation often reduced in the media to political pawns or nameless laborers. The stories she tells are not deferential or naively inspirational but show the love, magic, heartbreak, insanity, and vulgarity that infuse the day-to-day lives of her subjects.

We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World

It is a stirring and timely book that strips the political baggage from the words “migrant” and “refugee,” telling the deeply personal stories of displacement and disruption that were lived by Yousafzai and nine other girls.

The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer Viet Thanh Nguyen called on 17 fellow refugee writers from across the globe to shed light on their experiences, and the result is The Displaced, a powerful dispatch from the individual lives behind current headlines, with proceeds to support the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

Not My Turn to Die

In 1996, just months after the end of the blood-soaked Bosnia and Herzegovina war, seventeen-year old Savo Heleta came face-to-face with the man who had tried to kill his grandfather and terrorized his family during the war. This man was no faceless enemy. His name was Meho, and he had been a friend of the Heleta family. Now, after the war, Savo still had nightmares about him. Savo and his family had endured unspeakable terror at the hands of the very people they once trusted, and all Savo wanted was revenge against those who had betrayed him.

A Long Way Gone

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.

The Lances Were Looking Down

The night of April 6, 1994, in Rwanda was like many others for Hadidja Nyiransekuye and her family. Yet the next morning when they awakened, turned on Radio Rwanda, and heard nothing but dead air, Hadidja’s husband had a premonition―something was wrong. It turns out, he was right. Overnight, the Rwandan President had died in a plane crash, Prime Minister Agathe had been shot, and the killing of innocent people had already begun.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia’s parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy.

City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp

Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, deep within the inhospitable desert of northern Kenya where only thorn bushes grow, Dadaab is a city like no other. Its buildings are made from mud, sticks, or plastic. Its entire economy is grey. And its citizens survive on rations and luck. Over the course of four years, Ben Rawlence became a firsthand witness to a strange and desperate place, getting to know many of those who had come seeking sanctuary.

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

Seventeen years ago, Sepha Stephanos fled the Ethiopian Revolution for a new start in the United States. Now he finds himself running a failing grocery store in a poor African-American section of Washington, D.C., his only companions two fellow African immigrants who share his bitter nostalgia and longing for his home continent. Years ago and worlds away Sepha could never have imagined a life of such isolation.

Children of the River

Sundara fled Cambodia with her aunt’s family to escape the Khmer Rouge army when she was thirteen, leaving behind her parents, her brother and sister, and the boy she had loved since she was a child. Now, four years later, she struggles to fit in at her Oregon high school and to be “a good Cambodian girl” at home. A good Cambodian girl never dates; she waits for her family to arrange her marriage to a Cambodian boy. Yet Sundara and Jonathan, an extraordinary American boy, are powerfully drawn to each other.