It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel

Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Nothing can distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home.

Dos Conejos Blancos

In this moving and timely story, a young child describes what it is like to be a migrant as she and her father travel north toward the US border. They travel mostly on the roof of a train known as The Beast, but the little girl doesn’t know where they are going. She counts the animals by the road, the clouds in the sky, the stars. Sometimes she sees soldiers. She sleeps, dreaming that she is always on the move, although sometimes they are forced to stop and her father has to earn more money before they can continue their journey. As many thousands of people, especially children, in Mexico and Central America continue to make the arduous journey to the US border in search of a better life, this is an important book that shows a young migrant’s perspective.

Ting Ting

Like any other eight-year-old, Ting has lots to complain about: too much homework, boring lessons, having to live with her annoying cousin. And missing her parents, of course. She’s in China, they’re far away in Canada, and she wishes they would come home right away.

The Chinese Violin

When Lin Lin and her father immigrate to Canada from China, they bring with them one of their most treasured possessions – a traditional Chinese violin. From the beauty of their new country to the uneasiness of not fitting in, this violin sees them through all their experiences, good and bad.

Azzi In Between

Azzi and her parents are in danger. They have to leave their home and escape to another country on a frightening journey by car and boat. In the new country they must learn to speak a new language, find a new home and Azzi must start a new school. With a kind helper at the school, Azzi begins to learn English and understand that she is not the only one who has had to flee her home. She makes a new friend, and with courage and resourcefulness, begins to adapt to her new life. But Grandma has been left behind and Azzi misses her more than anything. Will Azzi ever see her grandma again? Drawing on her own experience of working among refugee families, renowned author and illustrator Sarah Garland tells, with tenderness and humour, an exciting adventure story to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.Endorsed by Amnesty International.

Mister Orange

The year: 1943. The place: Manhattan. Linus Muller works at the family grocery store in the east 70s. When his oldest brother, Albie, leaves to fight in World War II, Linus takes over the grocery deliveries. One of his customers is an artist from somewhere in Europe who arranges to have a crate of oranges delivered every other week

Pier 21: Listen to My Story

Nowadays most newcomers to North America arrive by airplane, but it wasn’t always this way. Between 1928 and 1971, approximately 1.5 million people passed through Pier 21, on the cusp of new lives after arriving in North America by boat. In this pictorial, fact-filled book for young readers, author Christine Welldon shares the true stories of nine children who remember well their voyages over and their first experiences in a new place.

We meet Heili, an Estonian girl whose father captained a tiny 18-person boat crammed with 347 people fleeing communist rule in 1948, and Jamie, a Second World War guest child from Scotland who later returned to North America to live when he grew up. Also included are stories of immigrants from Italy, the Ukraine and the Netherlands, and the children of war brides who came over to reunite with their husbands.

With over forty photos, a glossary, timeline, and sidebar features on the pier itself and the home countries of those who passed through it, Pier 21provides an excellent introduction for children to this key landmark in immigration history.

When I Get Older: The Story Behind “Wavin’ Flag”

Winner of three Juno awards and recently named the Globe and Mail’s Artist of the Year, singer/songwriter/rapper/hip hop artist/social activist and, now, children’s book author, K’NAAN has a moving and inspiring personal story. K’NAAN (whose name means “traveler” in Somali) spent his childhood in Mogadishu surrounded by a loving family which included his aunt, one of Somalia’s most famous singers, and his poet grandfather. When K’NAAN was thirteen, he and his family fled war-torn Somalia and immigrated to Toronto. His story is inspiring, and his struggles as a new immigrant will speak to many young North Americans.

Now in his thirties, K’NAAN has had huge success as a singer. He has won many awards, and there are now twenty-two versions of his song, “Wavin’ Flag.” He lives in LA where he is at work on his third album. His children’s book is a tribute to growing up, and believing in the future, as he says: “When I get older, I will be stronger…”