Coming to America: 6 Powerful Novels on the American Dream

Today is Citizenship Day. Let’s explore the American Dream and Diversity of the United States with these six powerful novels.

Book Culture Diverse Voices Graphic Novels Memoirs & Biographies Recommendations Young Adult

Today is Citizenship Day, we are reminded of diverse individuals who had the American Dream. In the United States, we are the melting pot of the world. Most Americans were born from other countries, but have made the United States their home. Today to commemorate this special day are novels that express that power are young adult novels that have diverse voices and experiences. Many of these novels are memoirs and fiction, that is around times of unity among citizens in our country.

Eleven by Tom Rogers


Alex turns eleven on 9/11. He craves the idea of being a hero, but there is no chance. Nothing. But an opportunity arises. He rescues a stray dog and decides to keep it. His new dog, Radar, and himself go through the motions. Being a hero doesn’t seem like a recurring thing. But one day will change everything. This is a story about two families, heroes and furry friends with four legs.


I Was their American Dream by Malaka Gharib


A memoir that is deep and universal. The winner of the Arab American Book Award. A coming of age story. Malaka finds opportunity in America. Her story focuses on her family and adapting to white culture. Malaka tries to keep her Filipino and Egyptian roots. Through art, in this graphic novel, she showcases her childhood experiences. She questions her identity in her teens and trying to be All-American. This graphic novel shows modern immigration and how she was raised. 


Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner


A memoir about singer/songwriter, a guitarist Michelle who tells her story of growing up in Eugene, Oregon. Being an Asian American in a predominantly white neighborhood. Her mother’s expectations weighing on her. their late night bonding moment with plates of food. Missing her visits to Seoul to see her grandmother. Her Korean roots begin to fade. Going to a college in the East Coast and performing band gigs. She is doing everything she dreamed off. But, when her mother is diagnosed with cancer. Michelle starts to parse her Korean identity and the traditions and expectations her Mom taught her. 


Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon



Liliana’s school is underfunded. Her best friend has become distant. her dad leaves, again. She is stuck with her evil brothers and a crazy Mom. She’s doing fine for a fifteen year old. The last thing she expects is to be enrolled in the METCO Program. Her father registered her for a desegregation program at her new school. In this new school she stand out. being a young Guatemalan and Salvadorian girl, she must fit in. Liliana is now Lili, a girl who acts ‘white’ and thinks she’s above everyone. But when she discovers her father was deported to Guatemala, Liliana wants to share her truth.


Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez


This is set in Dominican Republic under the rule of Trujilo dictatorship. Anita de la Torre is twelve. Taking places in the 1960s as her family is declining. Her family is secretly fighting for freedom to America. Anita tries to process what is happening as her family falls apart. Some have fled to the United States, others have gone missing or been arrested. She must overcome her fears and fly her way to freedom. This novel explores what makes a home.


We Came to America by Faith Ringgold


A tribute to carry history of amazing people from the past. Many ancestors were driven to create, change, and hope. Many escaped from pain, prosecution, and poverty. Others started at the top and continued to thrive. Regardless of what brought them here, each has a unique gift. through stories, talent and culture. These individuals shape the world we live in today. this is about the history of immigration and diversity of America. 


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