Here to Help: Books about Immigrant & Refugee Experiences

Children's Services Staff Image

By sharing stories together and having conversations about the books you read, you can help young children understand the world around them. Seeing diverse experiences represented in books helps children to explore their own identities and develop empathy for others.

These books for young children explore a variety of immigrant and refugee experiences from around the world. If you’re looking for books on this topic for older children, check out this Staff Pick for more suggestions.

Not every book is available at all locations, but any title can be requested. The children’s librarian at your neighborhood library is also here to help, with suggestions for additional titles on topics of interest–or feel free to suggest some titles to us. New books are always being added to the collection. You can find more Here to Help booklists on different topics by clicking here.

All Are Welcome

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text introduce a school where diversity is celebrated and songs, stories, and talents are shared.

The Big Umbrella

A spacious umbrella welcomes anyone and everyone who needs shelter from the rain.

The Day War Came

Inspired by true events, this story follows the journey of a young refugee and shows the hope a simple act of kindness can bring in the wake of war’s devastation.


Joseph's Big Ride

A refugee boy’s determination to ride a bicycle leads to an unexpected friendship.

Mamá the Alien

A young girl who misunderstands the word “alien” on her mother’s Resident Alien Card lets her imagination run wild, coming to the conclusion that her mother is from outer space.

Marwan's Journey

The story of a young boy forced to take a journey he never intended to take, bound for a place he doesn’t know.

My Beautiful Birds

Follows the journey of a young Syrian boy from his burning neighborhood to a refugee camp, where he cannot overcome the grief of the beloved pet pigeons that he was forced to leave behind.

Saffron Ice Cream

Rashin is excited about her first visit to the beach in her family’s new home. On the way there, she remembers what beach trips were like in Iran, the beautiful Caspian Sea, the Persian music, and most of all the saffron ice cream she shared with her best friend, Azadeh. But there are wonderful things in this new place as well — a subway train, exciting music…and maybe even a new friend!

Someone New

When three children, Jesse, Jason, and Emma, are confronted with new classmates from different ethnic backgrounds, they strive to overcome their initial reactions, and to understand, accept, and welcome Maria, Jin, and Fatima.

The Suitcase

When a weary stranger arrives one day with nothing but a suitcase, his new neighbors ask nervous questions about who he is and where he comes from before they are challenged to decide between trusting the newcomer or taking the risk of not believing him. 

What Is a Refugee? 

Introduces the term ‘refugee’ to curious young children to help them better understand the world in which they live. Who are refugees? Why are they called that word? Why do they need to leave their country? Why are they sometimes not welcome in their new country?