My Account

Loading...

National Immigrant Heritage Month: Immigrant Memoirs

Home 

National Immigrant Heritage Month: Immigrant Memoirs

immigrant memoirs

Since June of 2014, Immigrant Heritage Month has given people across the United States an opportunity to annually explore their own heritage and celebrate the shared diversity that forms the unique story of America. You can check out the 2024 White House Proclamation in celebration of this observation here.

Here are some recently published memoirs available with your Livingston Library card that chronicle the lives, experiences and stories of immigrant communities in the US.

brown album

Brown Album : Essays on Exile and Identity by Porochista Khakpour

Khakpour’s family moved to Los Angeles after fleeing the Iranian Revolution, giving up their successes only to be greeted by an alienating culture. Growing up as an immigrant in America means that one has to make one’s way through a confusing tangle of conflicting cultures and expectations. And Porochista is pulled between the glitzy culture of Tehrangeles, an enclave of wealthy Iranians and Persians in LA, her own family’s modest life and culture, and becoming an assimilated American.

Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant: A Memoir by Curtis Chin

This “vivid, moving, funny, and heartfelt” memoir tells the story of Curtis Chin’s time growing up as a gay Chinese American kid in 1980’s Detroit (Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers ). Nineteen eighties Detroit was a volatile place to live, but above the fray stood a safe haven: Chung’s Cantonese Cuisine, where anyone—from the city’s first Black mayor to the local drag queens, from a big-time Hollywood star to elderly Jewish couples—could sit down for a warm, home-cooked meal. Here was where, beneath a bright-red awning and surrounded by his multigenerational family, filmmaker and activist Curtis Chin came of age; where he learned to embrace his identity as a gay ABC, or American-born Chinese; where he navigated the divided city’s spiraling misfortunes; and where—between helpings of almond boneless chicken, sweet-and-sour pork, and some of his own, less-savory culinary concoctions—he realized just how much he had to offer to the world, to his beloved family, and to himself. 

First Gen : A Memoir by Alejandra Campoverdi

From former White House aide to President Obama and Harvard graduate, Alejandra Campoverdi, comes a riveting and unflinching memoir on navigating social mobility as a first gen Latina, offering a broad examination of the unacknowledged emotional tolls of being a trailblazer. 

Go Back To Where You Came From : And Other Helpful Recommendations On How to Become American by Wajahat Ali

A rollercoaster ride of a memoir, by turns hilarious and heartbreaking, by the journalist, playwright, and political activist Ali. “Go back to where you came from, you terrorist!” This is just one of the many warm, lovely, and helpful tips that Wajahat Ali and other children of immigrants receive on a daily basis. Go back where exactly? His hometown in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he can’t afford rent? Awkward, left-handed, suffering from OCD, and wearing Husky pants, Ali grew up on the margins of the American mainstream, devoid of Brown superheroes, where people like him were portrayed as goofy sidekicks, shop owners with funny accents, sweaty terrorists, or aspiring sweaty terrorists. 

The Hungry Season : A Journey of War, Love, and Survival by Lisa M. Hamilton

This unforgettable portrait of resistance, from Laos to California, follows one woman, with wounds inflicted by war and family alike, as she builds a new existence for her and her children by growing Hmong rice, just as her ancestors did, and selling it to those who hunger for the Laos of their memories.

illegally yours

Illegally Yours : A Memoir by Rafael Agustin

Growing up, Rafa’s parents didn’t want him to feel different because, as his mom told him: “Dreams should not have borders.” But when he tried to get his driver’s license during his junior year of high school, his parents were forced to reveal his immigration status. This book is a heartwarming, comical look at how this struggling Ecuadorian immigrant family bonded together to navigate Rafa’s school life, his parents’ work lives, and their shared secret life as undocumented Americans, determined to make the best of their always turbulent and sometimes dangerous American existence.

Made in China: A Memoir of Love and Labor by Anna Qu

As a teen, Anna Qu is sent by her mother to work in her family’s garment factory in Queens. But instead of acquiescing, Qu alerts the Office of Children and Family Services, an act with consequences that impact the rest of her life. Nearly twenty years later, estranged from her mother and working at a Manhattan tech startup, Qu requests her OCFS report. When it arrives, key details are wrong. Faced with this false narrative, and on the brink of losing her job as the once-shiny startup collapses, Qu looks once more at her life’s truths, from abandonment to an abusive family to seeking dignity and meaning in work.

A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, a History, a Memorial by Viet Thanh Nguyen

He expands the genre of personal memoir by acknowledging larger stories of refugeehood, colonization, and ideas about Vietnam and America, writing with his trademark sardonic wit and incisive analysis, as well as a deep emotional openness about his life as a father and a son. 

The Manicurist’s Daughter: A Memoir by Susan Lieu

An emotionally raw memoir about the crumbling of the American Dream and a daughter of refugees who searches for answers after her mother dies during plastic surgery. 

Mott Street : A Chinese American Family’s Story of Exclusion and Homecoming by Ava Chin

Mott Street follows Chinese American writer Ava Chin, who grew up estranged from her father, as she seeks the truth about her family history-and uncovers a legacy of exclusion and resilience that speaks to the American experience past and present. Chin’s ancestors became lovers, classmates, sworn enemies, and, eventually, through her birth, kin-all while converging at a single Chinatown address.

My Side of the River: A memoir by Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez

Gutierrez reveals her experience as the U.S. born daughter of immigrants and what happened when, at fifteen, her parents were forced back to Mexico in this captivating and tender memoir. 

solito

Solito : A Memoir by Javier Zamora

When Javier Zamora was nine, he traveled unaccompanied by bus, boat, and foot from El Salvador to the United States to reunite with his parents. This is his memoir of that dangerous journey, a nine-week odyssey that nearly ended in calamity on multiple occasions. It’s a miracle that Javier survived the crossing and a miracle that he has the talent to now tell his story so masterfully. While Solito is Javier’s story, it’s also the story of millions of others who have risked so much to come to this country.

They Called Us Exceptional : And Other Lies That Raised Us by Prachi Gupta

An Indian American daughter reveals how the dangerous model minority myth fractured her family in this searing, brave memoir. How do we understand ourselves when the story about who we are supposed to be is stronger than our sense of self? What do we stand to gain–and lose–by taking control of our narrative? These questions propel Gupta’s heartfelt memoir, and can feel particularly fraught for many immigrants and their children who live under immense pressure to belong in America.

The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit In by Ayser Salman

Recounts the author’s experiences as a young Iraqi immigrant trying to fit in among her American counterparts, discussing her parents’ strict rules, her ill-advised romantic dalliances, and the isolation she felt after 9/11.

Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe

Stay in the loop and never miss out! Our weekly newsletter is the best way to stay informed on all things Library!
What are you waiting for?
Subscribe
22 July 2024
The Nordic countries are a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic....
Read More
21 July 2024
Livingston Library Community, Do you enjoy popular fiction titles and discussing them with other readers?...
Read More
19 July 2024
More than 70 percent of our planet’s surface is covered by the oceans. Our ocean provides countless benefits...
Read More
18 July 2024
Whether they’re fighting for equal rights, competing in elite-level athletic competitions, or simply...
Read More
17 July 2024
Stop by the Youth Services Desk to pick up your Take Home Camera Craft and borrow some stories: Show...
Read More
17 July 2024
From brand-new albums by some of today’s hottest stars, to recently-unearthed recordings from the...
Read More
16 July 2024
Watercolor painting is one of the most accessible forms of art and has a rich history. More likely than...
Read More
15 July 2024
You voted and Legend listened–Legend visited Northland Recreation Center! All this week, you can come...
Read More
15 July 2024
July is the perfect month to grab a book to learn about the life and traditions of new characters. Consider...
Read More
14 July 2024
Livingston Library Community, There is nothing we love more at the Livingston Library than connecting...
Read More