Author: Margarita Gokun Silver
Summary: Moscow, 1988. After years of antisemitic harassment, countless hours waiting in line for toilet paper, and having zero access to cool jeans, Margarita decides it’s time to get the hell out of the Soviet Union. While dreaming of buying the boat-sized Buick she’d seen in a pirated VHS of Miami Vice and getting a taste of whatever it is Bruce Springsteen is singing about, she comes up with a plan to escape Mother Russia for good.
When Margarita arrives in the US with her family, she has one objective – become fully American as soon as possible, and leave her Soviet past behind. But she soon learns that finding her new voice is harder than avoiding the KGB.
Because, how do you become someone else completely? Is it as simple as changing your name, upgrading your wardrobe and working on your pronunciation of the word ‘sheet’? Can you let go of old habits (never, ever throw anything away), or learn to date without hang-ups (‘there is no sex in the Soviet Union’ after all)? Will you ever stop disappointing your parents, who expect you to become a doctor, a lawyer, an investment banker and a classical pianist – all at the same time? And can you still become the person you dreamed you’d be, while learning to embrace parts of yourself you’ve wanted to discard for good when you immigrated?
Continue reading “I named my dog Pushkin (and other immigrant tales)”
Author: Mazie K. Hirono
Summary: The intimate and inspiring life story of Mazie Hirono, the first Asian-American woman and the only immigrant serving in the U.S. Senate
Mazie Hirono is one of the most fiercely outspoken Democrats in Congress, but her journey to the U.S. Senate was far from likely. Raised on a rice farm in rural Japan, she was seven years old when her mother, Laura, left her abusive husband and sailed with her two elder children to Hawaii, crossing the Pacific in steerage in search of a better life. Though the girl then known as “Keiko” did not speak or read English when she entered first grade, she would go on to serve as a state representative and as Hawaii’s lieutenant governor before winning election to Congress in 2006. Continue reading “Heart of Fire – An Immigrant Daughter’s Story”
Author: Huda Fahmi
Summary: Huda and her family just moved to Dearborn, Michigan, a small town with a big Muslim population. In her old town, Huda knew exactly who she was: She was the hijabi girl. But in Dearborn, everyone is the hijabi girl.
Continue reading “Huda F Are You?”
Author: Wajahat Ali
Summary: “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? Fremont, California, where he grew up, but is now an unaffordable place to live? Or Pakistan, the country his parents left behind a half-century ago? Continue reading “Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American”
Author: Julia Alvarez
Summary: I wonder what it would be like to be free? Not to need wings because you don’t have to fly away from your country? Continue reading “Before We Were Free”
Author: Akwaeke Emezi
Summary: Ada has always been unusual. As an infant in southern Nigeria, she is a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents successfully prayed her into existence, but something must have gone awry, as the young Ada becomes a troubled child, prone to violent fits of anger and grief. But Ada turns out to be more than just volatile. Born “with one foot on the other side,” she begins to develop separate selves. Continue reading “Freshwater”