Immigration Books and Resources
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12
Books and Videos
If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island by Ellen Levine (Grades 1-4)
This unique, interactive history book encourages readers to step into the past guided by a question-and-answer format in full color. It's also packed with quotes from children and adults who passed through Ellis Island.
Coming to America: The Story of Immigration by Betsy Maestro (Grades K-3)
A succinct history of U.S. immigration for students of all levels, this expressive book captures the joy and anxiety of the successive waves of immigrants looking for a better life.
Immigrant Kids Guided Reading Set: 6 Books
Russell Freedman (Grades 3-6)
In the late 1800's and early 1900's, millions of immigrants sailed by the Statue of Liberty and took to heart her words: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." Immigrant kids sold newspapers, hauled firewood, worked in sweatshops, and did many other kinds of work. They played, fought in gangs, and became integrated into the life of America.
Illustrated with 50 authentic and fascinating photographs.
This collection contains 6 paperback copies of the same book.
Dreams in the Golden Country Kathryn Lasky (Grades 4-8)
New dreams and old traditions flourish and clash when a Jewish girl and her family emigrate from Russia to America.
The Journal of Otto Peltonen by William Durbin (Grades 4-8)
Offering a perspective on what people have endured in our land of opportunity, Otto Peltonen's journal documents his daily descent down a Minnesota mine. He essentially gives his life to the Iron Mining Company in pursuit of his family's dream for their own farm. The fictionalized journal includes historical notes and photographs that ground Otto's journal in reality.
A Coal Miner's Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminska, Lattimer, Pennsylvania, 1896 by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Grades 4-9)
Spirited Anetka is only 13 when she leaves her Poland home for Pennsylvania mine country and a husband she's never met. Watch Anetka adapt to her strange new life, finding joy even under desperate circumstances.
The Journal Of Wong Ming-Chung by Laurence Yep (Grades 4-8)
Experience the Gold Rush's excitement and hardships along with Wong Ming-Chung, a Chinese boy who ventures across the ocean to seek fortune for his family. Though he feels alienated by the other miners, Wong chases his dreams. An award-winning author journals Wong's achievement as he discovers physical and spiritual wealth.
New Kids in Town: Oral Histories of Immigrant Teens (Grades 4-8)
Eleven teenage immigrants tell compelling stories of their escape from war, poverty, and repression to carve out new lives in America.
Dear America: So Far From Home
VHS (Grades 4-7)
With the potato famine devastating her homeland in Ireland, Mary Driscoll must leave her parents to seek out a better life in America. Mary finds work in a mill, where working conditions are dreadful. Although her new friends encourage her to join the union, Mary hesitates to speak out for fear of losing her job. When her dear friend, Sean, is falsely accused of murder, Mary must decide if she is ready to face her fears and sacrifice everything to save him.
Professional Books and Software
The Immigrant Experience Fiction/Nonfiction Set
Pairing fiction and nonfiction titles with similar themes is a great way to build on students' interests and comprehension skills. They can see how similar themes and concepts are presented in different types of books - and expand both their imagination and their knowledge. This set, for older students, illustrates models of narrative and expository writing and also helps build the critical reading skills necessary for standardized testing.
A chronicle of immigration in the days of Ellis Island and the same experience from a fictional immigrant's perspective helps students integrate knowledge from different sources.
Primary Sources Teaching Kit: Immigration: A Rich Collection of Authentic Documents, Certificates, Diaries, Photographs, Travel Artifacts, and More With Great Teaching Materials That Makes History Come Alive
by Karen Baicker (Grades 4-8)
Packed with reproducible primary sources from photographs of Ellis Island to the Oath of Citizenship this collection of authentic documents will capture students' interest in immigration to America between the late 1800s and the early 1900s.
Decisions, Decisions 5.0 Immigration: 1-Computer License
Your students play the role of President of the United States facing a recurring dilemma in U.S. history. Students learn to apply the lessons of the history of U.S. immigration policy. Decisions, Decisions: Immigration works well in any U.S. history unit on immigration and its effect on the nation. Includes a program disk or CD-ROM, and backup license, 28 Student Reference Books (7 sets of 4), and a comprehensive Teacher's Guide with detailed lesson plans and reproducible worksheets.
Stimulate Background Knowledge with these related links:
The American Immigrant Wall of Honor
Visitors explore their family's genealogy in America, or the opportunity to pay tribute to them by having their name(s) added to the wall. Links to other sites offering genealogy, ethnicity, and educational resources are provided.
Two tenth-grade students, Jonathan Lee and Robert Siemborski, created this site as part of an American History project. It traces the history of immigration, both legal and illegal, to this country from 1607 to the present.
Angel Island was a chief port for Chinese immigrating to California and other parts of the U.S. The site provides information concerning the expansion and achievements of Chinese immigrants to the nation.
This site on the history and importance of Ellis Island includes background information, an oral history project, and even excerpts from an immigrant cookbook. Audio clips with remembrances of people who immigrated through Ellis Island are available in the WAV format here.
Letters from an Immigrant
A series of letters published between 1890-1911, are a good record by members of the Geerdts family. The letters offer a look into the daily lives of a German immigrant family living in America's Midwest and the relations they kept with each other when separated. The letters are shown in their original German as well as in English. Links to family photographs are provided.
The National Park Service
Learn the history and other facts about Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty.
On the Lower East Side
Photographs and primary documents of the era, such as descriptions of child labor and immigrant families, are at this site about conditions on New York's Lower East Side around the turn of the century.
The Portuguese Historical Museum
This online museum focuses on Portuguese immigrants who settled in California. The purpose of this museum is to tell the story of the immigrants, their hopes and dreams, their achievements, culture and heritage. Links to other sites with Portuguese content.
The Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation
Visit the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation's award-winning web site to learn more about Ellis Island and the American Immigration Experience. Find out what you can see at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, interesting books you can read on immigration and genealogy, and lots of other fascinating Web sites you can connect with. Or search online to see if your family's name is on the American Immigrant Wall of the Honor .
The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
This site provides an in-depth look at the INS. Its services include assistance and direction on applying for U.S. citizenship, a description of the regulations for naturalization eligibility, requirements for immigration employment, and a brief history of the INS.
The Utah Education Network: Ellis Island
This site gives links to several websites but also includes many questions that students can answer while exploring the links. These questions cover a variety of topics from comparing immigration patterns through time to the history of Ellis Island.