Books – Migrant Rights


The Crossing
Desperate to cross the border into the US, an orphan boy living on the streets in Juarez, Mexico, has a life-changing encounter with an American soldier, who crosses the border for a drunken night in Juarez.  

  • Author: Gary Paulsen, 2006
  • Source: Scholastic
  • Grade Level: middle – high school 

Esperanza Rising 
Set in post-Revolutionary Mexico and in California during the time of the Great Depression, it examines the plight of the Mexican farm workers though the eyes of a young girl. Teaching Guide with resources and free lesson plans

  • Author: Pam Munoz Ryan, 2000
  • Source: Booksellers
  • Grade Level: upper elementary – middle school

Under the Same Sky
Deals with contemporary issues about immigration and questions about civil disobedience at a level readers will understand. A 14-year-old boy learns about the lives of migrant workers while working with them on his family’s ranch. Lesson Plans available.

  • Author: Cynthia DeFelice, 2003
  • Source: Booksellers
  • Grade Level: middle school



The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child
Autobiographical stories of a family of migrant workers with a lesson plan and discussion guide available.

  • Author: Francisco Jimenez
  • Source: Scholastic
  • Grade Level: upper elementary


Enrique’s Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother (2007; also available in Spanish)
A 17-year-old boy from Honduras makes the difficult journey to be reunited with his mother in the USA. Teaching resources, including lesson plans and videos, available.

  • Author: Sonia Nazario
  • Source: Booksellers
  • Grade Level: high school – adult

Harvesting Hope
Illustrated introduction to migrant rights leader César Chavéz. Teacher’s Guide available.

  • Author: Kathleen Krull
  • Source: Scholastic
  • Grade Level: elementary

Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives
Remarkable oral histories of men and women struggling to carve a life for themselves in the USA without legal status. They arrive from around the world for countless reasons, many simply to make a living. Others are fleeing persecution in their native countries. They are living underground with little protection from exploitation at the hands of human smugglers, employers, or law enforcement. Lesson plans for Underground America available.

  • Author: Peter Orner (editor)
  • Publisher: Voice of Witness/McSweeney’s
  • Grade Level: middle school – college/adult
  • Subject Area: social studies

Voices from the Fields: Children of Migrant Farm workers Tell Their Stories
Features photographs, poems, and interviews with nine children revealing the hardships and hopes of Mexican-American migrant farm workers. Teaching strategies available. 

  • Author: S.Beth Atkin
  • Source: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1993
  • Grade Level: middle – high school