Staff Picks for March

| March 8, 2017

I amlight very pleased to have curated this month’s Staff Picks located in the Second Floor Reading Room. I based my selections around Green Card Stories. It encompasses two things I enjoy – having people tell me their stories and happenstance.

I like having people tell me their stories. I want to know about the odd items you collect (me – Pez dispensers and plants) and the jobs you worked before now. No one’s path is exactly the same and change happens at different points for all of us. The stories I love the most are about change. Stories about change remind me that I can’t predict the future.

One of my other favorite things is happenstance. Years ago a friend invited me to join her at Bluestockings downtown for a Q&A with an immigration rights lawyer. I went simply because I wanted to spend time with her. The lawyer was there to talk about her work and the people highlighted in Green Card Stories. This was the first time I began to comprehend the complexity of immigration to the United States, from the paperwork, to the court system, to ICE and other issues that immigrants deal with when they choose to leave their home countries. That talk, this book and those stories have stuck with me over the years. It has affected how I view the immigration debate and my positions. It still amazes me how books and people can affect you for a long time.

This book made me realize that immigration cannot be told as a singular story. It is a topic that is made up of many different stories each unique to the person telling it. I have picked other books by immigrant voices that highlight issues in immigration.

Be sure to check out the new Seen in New York on Ellis Island:


Ebooks from our collection:

U.S. immigration: step by step by Edwin T. Gania.

The border patrol ate my dust [compiled by] Alicia Alarcón ; English translation by Ethriam Cash Brammer de Gonzales

An American in the making: the life story of an immigrant by M.E. Ravage ; edited and with an introduction by Steven G. Kellman

Behind the green card: how immigration policy is killing the American dream by Donald S. Dobkin.

Undocumented and unwanted: attending college against the odds  by Lisa D. Garcia.

Tropical town and other poems by Salomón de la Selva ; edited, with an introduction, by Silvio Siria


Media on Exhibit: 

Green Card Stories
Stories Saundra Amrhein
Photographs by Ariana Lindquist
“Hunched over his computer at his desk, he looks exactly like what he is: a librarian, a scholar, an educator. But underneath his blue polo shirt, Saah’s torso is scarred from knifings, beatings and burnings.” “Here in the library’s orderliness and familiar process of knowledge, he’s found a place to heal.”
Brother, I’m Dying
Edwidge Danicat
“My uncle was now alien 270419999.”
Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age
Philip Kasinitz, John H. Mollenkopf,
Mary C. Waters, Jennifer Holdaway
“Indeed, the children of immigrants, past and present, have often been seen as the quintessential New Yorkers.”
Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail
Ruben Martinez
“I am close to the line. The mostly invisible line that stretches two thousand miles along sand, yellow dirt dotted with scrub brush, and the muddy waters of the Rio Grande.”
Lost In Translation: A Life in a New Language
Eva Hoffman
“We can’t be leaving this all behind – but we are.”
The Atlas of Human Migration
Russell King
“Our image of a sedentary world is seriously flawed: from time immemorial people have travelled, explored, relocated – indeed the roving instinct seems part of human nature.”
Coming to America: The Story of Immigration
Betsy Maestro Illustrated by Susannah Ryan
“Before 1820, no one had recorded the exact number of immigrants who had arrived in the United States.”
We Are Americans: Voices of the Immigrant Experience
Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler
“As their lives were changed by crossing the border, so too would they change the country they came to call their own.”
Immigration: The Ultimate Teen Guide
Tatyana Kleyn
“There is a wide range of terms used to describe people who go through the process of leaving their home country for a new nation.”
Urban Odyssey: A Multicultural History of Washington, D.C.
Edited by Fancine Curro Cary
“If these structures of myriad purpose, lineage, and architecture could speak, they would tell tell the untold stories of the community-building efforts of thousands of migrant, and immigrants who came to Washington in search of opportunity, and stayed to shape the social fabric of an evolving city and changing region.”
How Democracy Works Now
Shari Robertson & Michael Camerini
How Democracy Works Now: Twelve Stories is a multi-part documentary film series that chronicles the inside and outside fight for immigration reform, on Capitol Hill and across the country
Which Way Home
Rebecca Cammisa
Which Way Home follows Latin American migrant children who face the harrowing journey to travel to the United States on the top of freight trains.
Spare Parts
Joshua Davis
“On November 1, 2004, I received an email from Marcos Garcíaacosta, an account manager at Intel in Chandler, Arizona. It looked like spam to me.”
Coming to America: A Muslim Family’s Story
Bernard Wolf
“When Rowan was two months old, her father finally received a letter saying he had won a green card!”
My Mom is a Foreigner, But Not To Me
Julianne Moore Illustrated by Meilo So
“She took a BOAT to get here!”
Hannah Is My Name
Belle Yang
“Hannah is my name in this new country.”
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Junot Díaz
“And now we arrive the stranger part of our tale.”
Dying to Cross: The Worst Immigrant Tragedy in American History
George Ramos
“It smelled of death.”
The Transnational Villagers
Peggy Levitt
“Twenty-two year old Elena cannot remember a time when she actually lived with her mother, Nuria.”
Almost a Woman
Esmeralda Santiago
“In the twenty-one years I lived with my mother, we moved at least twenty times.”
Native Speaker
Chang-Rae Lee
“I should have warned my American wife.”