100 books like Gender, Migration and Social Transformation

By Tanja Bastia,

Here are 100 books that Gender, Migration and Social Transformation fans have personally recommended if you like Gender, Migration and Social Transformation. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The New American Servitude: Political Belonging Among African Immigrant Home Care Workers

Michele Ruth Gamburd Author Of Linked Lives: Elder Care, Migration, and Kinship in Sri Lanka

From my list on migration and aging.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom was an anthropologist, and when I was two, she took me to Sri Lanka, the island off the tip of India. After years of insisting that I wanted nothing to do with any social science, let alone anthropology, I ended up in graduate school studying… anthropology. Long story. Having taken up the family mantel, I returned to the village where I lived as a child and asked what had changed in the intervening years. Since then, my Sri Lankan interlocutors have suggested book topics that include labor migration, the use and abuse of alcohol, the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the challenges of aging. 

Michele's book list on migration and aging

Michele Ruth Gamburd Why did Michele love this book?

When American families hire “market proxies” to do care work, it leads to all sorts of tangled relationships. In this book, Cati Coe explores the experiences of immigrant Ghanaian home health workers in the US. Care work, although often monotonous and difficult, is also incredibly intimate, meaningful, and personal. These migrants provide crucial services for American elders, but many of them feel so unwelcome that they return to Africa when they retire. I love the gritty details that this book provides as it explores the paradoxes of discrimination and exploitation that Black African women face in the care work industry. If you like this book as much as I do, consider reading Coe’s subsequent book, which follows retired Ghanaian care workers back to Africa.   

By Cati Coe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The New American Servitude as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finalist, 2020 Elliott P. Skinner Award, given by the Association of Africanist Anthropology
Examines why African care workers feel politically excluded from the United States
Care for America's growing elderly population is increasingly provided by migrants, and the demand for health care labor is only expected to grow. Because of this health care crunch and the low barriers to entry, new African immigrants have adopted elder care as a niche employment sector, funneling their friends and relatives into this occupation. However, elder care puts care workers into racialized, gendered, and age hierarchies, making it difficult for them to achieve social…


Book cover of Care Across Distance: Ethnographic Explorations of Aging and Migration

Michele Ruth Gamburd Author Of Linked Lives: Elder Care, Migration, and Kinship in Sri Lanka

From my list on migration and aging.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom was an anthropologist, and when I was two, she took me to Sri Lanka, the island off the tip of India. After years of insisting that I wanted nothing to do with any social science, let alone anthropology, I ended up in graduate school studying… anthropology. Long story. Having taken up the family mantel, I returned to the village where I lived as a child and asked what had changed in the intervening years. Since then, my Sri Lankan interlocutors have suggested book topics that include labor migration, the use and abuse of alcohol, the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the challenges of aging. 

Michele's book list on migration and aging

Michele Ruth Gamburd Why did Michele love this book?

The authors in this lively edited volume provide eight short, readable chapters about migration and aging that span the globe, from Vienna to Ecuador to Upstate New York. How do elders displaced from Tibet think about a “second exile” in the United States? Do Bosnian migrants’ remittances make up for their long absences, or would it be better to stay home but not provide financial support? These ethnographers offer riveting windows into intergenerational relations in transnational families around the world.  

By Azra Hromadzic (editor), Monika Palmberger (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Care Across Distance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

World-wide migration has an unsettling effect on social structures, especially on aging populations and eldercare. This volume investigates how taken-for-granted roles are challenged, intergenerational relationships transformed, economic ties recalibrated, technological innovations utilized, and spiritual relations pursued and desired, and asks what it means to care at a distance and to age abroad. What it does show is that trans-nationalization of care produces unprecedented convergences of people, objects and spaces that challenge our assumptions about the who, how, and where of care.


Book cover of Chinese Senior Migrants and the Globalization of Retirement

Michele Ruth Gamburd Author Of Linked Lives: Elder Care, Migration, and Kinship in Sri Lanka

From my list on migration and aging.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom was an anthropologist, and when I was two, she took me to Sri Lanka, the island off the tip of India. After years of insisting that I wanted nothing to do with any social science, let alone anthropology, I ended up in graduate school studying… anthropology. Long story. Having taken up the family mantel, I returned to the village where I lived as a child and asked what had changed in the intervening years. Since then, my Sri Lankan interlocutors have suggested book topics that include labor migration, the use and abuse of alcohol, the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the challenges of aging. 

Michele's book list on migration and aging

Michele Ruth Gamburd Why did Michele love this book?

Immigrants often try to reunite their families once they settle in their new home countries. This book looks at the experiences of elder Cantonese parents who have followed their children from China to the US. Newendorp’s sensitive ethnography reveals the joys, strains, and tensions as reunited families renegotiate the rules around family support, filial duty, and the rearing of Chinese-American grandkids. 

By Nicole Dejong Newendorp,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chinese Senior Migrants and the Globalization of Retirement as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 21st century has seen growing numbers of seniors turning to migration in response to newfound challenges to traditional forms of retirement and old-age support, such as increased longevity, demographically aging populations, and global neoliberal trends reducing state welfare. Chinese-born migrants to the U.S. serve as an exemplary case of this trend, with 30 percent of all migrants since 1990 being at least 60 years old. This book tells their story, arguing that they demonstrate the significance of age as a mediating factor that is fundamentally important for considering how migration is experienced. The subjects of this study are situated…


Book cover of Aging and the Indian Diaspora: Cosmopolitan Families in India and Abroad

Michele Ruth Gamburd Author Of Linked Lives: Elder Care, Migration, and Kinship in Sri Lanka

From my list on migration and aging.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom was an anthropologist, and when I was two, she took me to Sri Lanka, the island off the tip of India. After years of insisting that I wanted nothing to do with any social science, let alone anthropology, I ended up in graduate school studying… anthropology. Long story. Having taken up the family mantel, I returned to the village where I lived as a child and asked what had changed in the intervening years. Since then, my Sri Lankan interlocutors have suggested book topics that include labor migration, the use and abuse of alcohol, the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the challenges of aging. 

Michele's book list on migration and aging

Michele Ruth Gamburd Why did Michele love this book?

This ethnographic work delves into the lives of elders in Calcutta, India, including those who age in place with family nearby, those whose children have migrated abroad, and those who follow their family members to the US. I particularly love the way the author roots the work in traditional South Asian concepts of age and family relationships while dealing simultaneously with social changes such as India’s urbanization and economic liberalization, the out-migration of skilled tech workers, and the introduction of old folks’ homes in urban areas. The sensitive portrayal of life histories made me both laugh and cry. 

By Sarah E. Lamb (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aging and the Indian Diaspora as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The proliferation of old age homes and increasing numbers of elderly living alone are startling new phenomena in India. These trends are related to extensive overseas migration and the transnational dispersal of families. In this moving and insightful account, Sarah Lamb shows that older persons are innovative agents in the processes of social-cultural change. Lamb's study probes debates and cultural assumptions in both India and the United States regarding how best to age; the proper social-moral relationship among individuals, genders, families, the market, and the state; and ways of finding meaning in the human life course.


Book cover of Living with Viola

Marla Lesage Author Of AWOL

From my list on graphic novels that tackle tough topics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always enjoyed reading true stories and stories that feel like they could be true. I enjoy learning about other people’s lives and experiences. If a character’s life experiences have been very different than my own, it is eye-opening and informative. If we’ve had similar experiences it helps me feel less alone. When writing, I usually draw inspiration from my own life experiences. With AWOL, I wanted to share military family culture and help readers affected by PTSD feel less alone. 

Marla's book list on graphic novels that tackle tough topics

Marla Lesage Why did Marla love this book?

Rosena Fung pairs the tough topics of mental health and anxiety with delightfully whimsical and colorful illustrations. Livy is trying to fit in at a new school while navigating the pressure she feels as a child of Chinese immigrants. Viola is Livy’s anxiety personified. I live with my own version of Viola, so I found the story especially relatable. As Livy learns to deal with Viola, we also learn some great tips on dealing with our own anxieties.

By Rosena Fung,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living with Viola as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"unforgettable . . . will shake middle grade readers to the core"-School Library Journal, starred review


"Beautifully illustrated, relatable, and genuine." -Molly Brooks, creator of Sanity & Tallulah


"Everyone needs to buy this book now. Seriously. Buy it, read it, share it."-Colleen Nelson, author and teacher


Honest and funny, this award-winning graphic novel from a debut creator is a refreshingly real exploration of mental health, cultural differences, and the trials of middle school.

Livy is already having trouble fitting in as the new girl at school-and then there's Viola. Viola is Livy's anxiety brought to life, a shadowy twin that…


Book cover of Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes

Seth Rosenfeld Author Of Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power

From my list on spies and radicals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Seth Rosenfeld is an independent investigative journalist and author of the New York Times best-seller Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power. As a staff reporter for The San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle, he specialized in using public records and won national honors including the George Polk Award. Subversives, based on thousands of pages of FBI records released to him as a result of several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, won the PEN Center USA’s Literary Award for Research Nonfiction Prize, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award, and other honors.

Seth's book list on spies and radicals

Seth Rosenfeld Why did Seth love this book?

This gem of narrative non-fiction tells the improbable story of an utterly impoverished immigrant woman who married into one of the wealthiest “establishment” families of New York City and became one of the nation’s most prominent radical activists in the early 1900s. The unlikely marriage of Rose Pastor and Graham Stokes made many national headlines -- and attracted attention from federal agents. Hochschild brings this odd couple to life in all their ups and downs, introduces us to their circle of famous fellow activists, and illuminates their fights for social justice, struggles that remain relevant to this day.

By Adam Hochschild,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rebel Cinderella as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the best-selling author of King Leopold's Ghost and Spain in Our Hearts comes the astonishing but forgotten story of an immigrant sweatshop worker who married an heir to a great American fortune and became one of the most charismatic radical leaders of her time.

Rose Pastor arrived in New York City in 1903, a Jewish refugee from Russia who had worked in cigar factories since the age of eleven. Two years later, she captured headlines across the globe when she married James Graham Phelps Stokes, scion of one of the legendary 400 families of New York high society.

Together,…


Book cover of Rites of Passage

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by "sea stories" since I could read, maybe before. I was born in Liverpool, my dad was in the navy, my family ran an 18th-century inn named the Turk’s Head after a nautical knot, and I’ve directed or written more than twenty films, plays, and novels with the sea as their setting. But they’re not really about the sea. For me, the sea is a mirror to reflect the human condition, a theatre for all the human dramas I can imagine. More importantly, I’ve read over a hundred sea stories for research and pleasure, and those I’ve chosen for you are the five I liked best.

Seth's book list on books about the sea that aren’t just about sailing on it, or fighting on it, or drowning in it, but are really about the human condition

Seth Hunter Why did Seth love this book?

Golding will forever be remembered for Lord of the Flies, but I think this is better (and so did he, apparently, a lot better).

It’s the story of people on a seemingly endless voyage from England to Australia in the 19th century, but for me, it’s like a spaceship on a voyage to another planet, like the spaceship in Alien with its own monsters aboard, the social mores, the injustices, the class privileges and prejudices, the sexual hangups, and the guilty secrets they carry with them. Pity poor Australia!

For me, it demonstrates that the sea can be a metaphor for reading (and writing). You embark on a journey, and you want to get to the end, but in a way, you want it to last forever.

By William Golding,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Rites of Passage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Sailing to Australia in the early years of the nineteenth century, Edmund Talbot keeps a journal to amuse his godfather back in England. Full of wit and disdain, he records the mounting tensions on the ancient, stinking warship, where officers, sailors, soldiers and emigrants jostle in the crammed spaces below decks.Then a single passenger, the obsequious Reverend Colley, attracts the animosity of the sailors, and in the seclusion of the fo'castle something happens to bring him into a 'hell of self-degradation', where shame is a force deadlier than the sea itself.


Book cover of The Day You Begin

Patrice Gopo Author Of All the Places We Call Home

From my list on celebrating stories of home, identity, and belonging.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the Black American daughter of Jamaican immigrants born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, I love stories that depict the beauty of being multifaceted human beings. Stories steeped in broad understandings of place and home. Stories that encourage us to delight in being the people we are. I also believe our children are natural poets and storytellers. Lyrical picture books filled with rich language and sensory details encourage the thriving of such creativity. In addition to writing All the Places We Call Home, I'm the author of All the Colors We Will See, an essay collection about race, immigration, and belonging. 

Patrice's book list on celebrating stories of home, identity, and belonging

Patrice Gopo Why did Patrice love this book?

The Day You Begin is a lovely, lyrical reminder that we all have unique experiences and moments of not belonging, but we find connections through sharing our stories. Jacqueline Woodson’s repetitive phrase, “There will be times,” paired with the use of a 2nd person narrator, instantly draws us into the story. As a result, we feel part of the story as we think of times when we didn’t fit in or people didn’t understand our experience. So powerful!! I am a huge proponent of the power of sharing personal stories, and I often speak to groups about how sharing stories can serve as a bridge that might connect us. The Day You Begin is a glorious reflection of this truth.

By Jacqueline Woodson, Rafael López (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Day You Begin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

Jacqueline Woodson's lyrical text and Rafael Lopez's dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when…


Book cover of Good Neighbors, Bad Times Revisited: New Echoes of My Father's German Village

Ellen Cassedy Author Of We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust

From my list on hope and understanding after the Holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ellen Cassedy explores the ways that people, and countries, can engage with the difficult truths of the Holocaust in order to build a better future. She researched Lithuania’s encounter with its Jewish heritage, including the Holocaust, for ten years. Her book breaks new ground by shining a spotlight on how brave people – Jews and non-Jews – are facing the past and building mutual understanding. Cassedy is the winner of numerous awards and a frequent speaker about the Holocaust, Lithuania, and Yiddish language and literature.  

Ellen's book list on hope and understanding after the Holocaust

Ellen Cassedy Why did Ellen love this book?

Mimi Schwartz’s Jewish father grew up in a German town where Jews and gentiles got along – until the Nazi era put extraordinary strains on their ability to coexist peaceably.  Schwartz explores how people who were not unusually brave managed to perform small acts of kindness and defiance. Her book offers important lessons for our time.

By Mimi Schwartz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Good Neighbors, Bad Times Revisited as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mimi Schwartz's father was born Jewish in a tiny German village thirty years before the advent of Hitler when, as he'd tell her, "We all got along." In her original memoir, Good Neighbors, Bad Times, Schwartz explored how human decency fared among Christian and Jewish neighbors before, during, and after Nazi times. Ten years after its publication, a letter arrived from a man named Max Sayer in South Australia. Sayer, it turns out, grew up Catholic in the village during the Third Reich and in 1937 moved into an abandoned Jewish home five houses away from where the family of…


Book cover of Brown Girl, Brownstones

Janet Golden Author Of Babies Made Us Modern: How Infants Brought America Into the Twentieth Century

From my list on American children and history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing, speaking, blogging, and tweeting about the history of American children and their childhoods for many decades. When I went to school—a long time ago—the subject did not come up, nor did I learn much in college or graduate school. I went out and dug up the story as did many of the authors I list here. I read many novels and autobiographies featuring childhood, and I looked at family portraits in museums with new eyes. Childhood history is fascinating and it is a lot of fun. And too, it is a great subject for book groups.

Janet's book list on American children and history

Janet Golden Why did Janet love this book?

This coming-of-age novel set in the Great Depression and World War II Brooklyn has it all: girlhood, poverty, and cultural conflict between Barbadian immigrants and black Americans. The voice of the narrator, a young first-generation immigrant girl, is captivating. Although published in 1959, it is timeless and fresh today, you’ll ask yourself, “why isn’t this story going to became a major motion picture?”.

By Paule Marshall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Brown Girl, Brownstones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An unforgettable novel, written with pride and anger, with rebellion and tears." — Herald Tribune Book Review"Passionate, compelling . . . an impressive accomplishment." — Saturday Review"Remarkable for its courage, its color, and its natural control." — The New Yorker
Selina's mother wants to stay in Brooklyn and earn enough money to buy a brownstone row house, but her father dreams only of returning to his island home. Torn between a romantic nostalgia for the past and a driving ambition for the future, Selina also faces the everyday burdens of poverty and racism. Written by and about an African-American woman,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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