100 books like This Land Is Our Land

By Suketu Mehta,

Here are 100 books that This Land Is Our Land fans have personally recommended if you like This Land Is Our Land. 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 Open City

Glenda R. Carpio Author Of Migrant Aesthetics: Contemporary Fiction, Global Migration, and the Limits of Empathy

From my list on migration, migrant lives, and how they shape our common world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I embody the “American Dream” mythology: I came to the United States as a child who did not speak English and had few means. And now I am the Chair of the English Department at Harvard. But I am the exception, not the rule. So many migrants die on perilous journeys or survive only to live marginal lives under surveillance. Yet we don’t always ask why people risk their lives and those of their children to migrate. And when we do, we don’t often go beyond the first layer of answers. The list of books I recommend allows us to think deeply about the roots of forced migration.

Glenda's book list on migration, migrant lives, and how they shape our common world

Glenda R. Carpio Why did Glenda love this book?

By most accounts, immigrant literature deals primarily with how immigrants struggle to adapt to their adopted countries.

Its readers have come to expect stories of identity formation, of how immigrants create ethnic communities and maintain ties to countries of origin. Yet such narratives can center exceptional stories of individual success or obscure the political forces that uproot millions of people the world over.

This novel simulates the intimacy of immigrant memoir by seemingly giving readers access to his narrator’s interiority; it seems to cater to readerly expectation. And yet this is ultimately a ruse to obtain readerly investment, which Cole then redirects to the global history of forced migration and dispossession.

I love the combination of erudition and subtlety in a novel that, while ranging across three continents, allows readers to think simultaneously about dislocation across history and in our contemporary world.

By Teju Cole,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Open City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling debut novel from a writer heralded as the twenty-first-century W. G. Sebald.

A haunting novel about national identity, race, liberty, loss and surrender, Open City follows a young Nigerian doctor as he wanders aimlessly along the streets of Manhattan. For Julius the walks are a release from the tight regulations of work, from the emotional fallout of a failed relationship, from lives past and present on either side of the Atlantic.

Isolated amid crowds of bustling strangers, Julius criss-crosses not just physical landscapes but social boundaries too, encountering people whose otherness sheds light on his own remarkable journey…


Book cover of The Undocumented Americans

Glenda R. Carpio Author Of Migrant Aesthetics: Contemporary Fiction, Global Migration, and the Limits of Empathy

From my list on migration, migrant lives, and how they shape our common world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I embody the “American Dream” mythology: I came to the United States as a child who did not speak English and had few means. And now I am the Chair of the English Department at Harvard. But I am the exception, not the rule. So many migrants die on perilous journeys or survive only to live marginal lives under surveillance. Yet we don’t always ask why people risk their lives and those of their children to migrate. And when we do, we don’t often go beyond the first layer of answers. The list of books I recommend allows us to think deeply about the roots of forced migration.

Glenda's book list on migration, migrant lives, and how they shape our common world

Glenda R. Carpio Why did Glenda love this book?

Cornejo Villavicencio renders the lives of the undocumented across America with razor-sharp clarity, intertwining her own story throughout.

She shows us how the undocumented struggle to find work, healthcare, and safety while also maintaining their families, integrity, and sanity. She becomes a medium for immigrant stories that might otherwise remain illegible except as fodder for ideological battles.

Cornejo Villavicencio was one of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard and was a PhD candidate at Yale at the time of her book’s publication; this marks her as an exceptional kind of speaker, and the book’s marketing and reviews rarely failed to mention these facts.

And yet Cornejo Villavicencio vehemently rejects the American-dream mythology that would make her life exemplary. Even so, that mythology orbits around her book, showing how difficult it is to disentangle false themes of transcendence from migrant literature.

But Cornejo Villavicencio cuts through the sentimental or…

By Karla Cornejo Villavicencio,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Undocumented Americans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • One of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans in this deeply personal and groundbreaking portrait of a nation.

“Karla’s book sheds light on people’s personal experiences and allows their stories to be told and their voices to be heard.”—Selena Gomez

FINALIST FOR THE NBCC JOHN LEONARD AWARD • NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, NPR, THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY, BOOK RIOT, LIBRARY JOURNAL, AND TIME

Writer Karla Cornejo Villavicencio was on…


Book cover of The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move

Glenda R. Carpio Author Of Migrant Aesthetics: Contemporary Fiction, Global Migration, and the Limits of Empathy

From my list on migration, migrant lives, and how they shape our common world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I embody the “American Dream” mythology: I came to the United States as a child who did not speak English and had few means. And now I am the Chair of the English Department at Harvard. But I am the exception, not the rule. So many migrants die on perilous journeys or survive only to live marginal lives under surveillance. Yet we don’t always ask why people risk their lives and those of their children to migrate. And when we do, we don’t often go beyond the first layer of answers. The list of books I recommend allows us to think deeply about the roots of forced migration.

Glenda's book list on migration, migrant lives, and how they shape our common world

Glenda R. Carpio Why did Glenda love this book?

Drawing on a wide range of research, Shah counteracts the common assumption that contemporary human and nonhuman migrations represent an unprecedented global crisis.

She reframes migration as a biological and cultural necessity that has been a crucial part of human history and shows how it has been fueled by such factors as economic inequality, politics, nationalism, colonialism, etc. I learned so much from this meticulously researched, yet highly readable book.

I love how it asks readers to consider migration and its history from multiple perspectives and that it can help us think and prepare for an increase of migration due to climate change.

By Sonia Shah,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Next Great Migration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finalist for the 2021 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
A Library Journal Best Science & Technology Book of 2020
A Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction Book of 2020
2020 Goodreads Choice Award Semifinalist in Science & Technology

A prize-winning journalist upends our centuries-long assumptions about migration through science, history, and reporting--predicting its lifesaving power in the face of climate change.

The news today is full of stories of dislocated people on the move. Wild species, too, are escaping warming seas and desiccated lands, creeping, swimming, and flying in a mass exodus from their past habitats. News media presents this scrambling…


Book cover of Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times

Glenda R. Carpio Author Of Migrant Aesthetics: Contemporary Fiction, Global Migration, and the Limits of Empathy

From my list on migration, migrant lives, and how they shape our common world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I embody the “American Dream” mythology: I came to the United States as a child who did not speak English and had few means. And now I am the Chair of the English Department at Harvard. But I am the exception, not the rule. So many migrants die on perilous journeys or survive only to live marginal lives under surveillance. Yet we don’t always ask why people risk their lives and those of their children to migrate. And when we do, we don’t often go beyond the first layer of answers. The list of books I recommend allows us to think deeply about the roots of forced migration.

Glenda's book list on migration, migrant lives, and how they shape our common world

Glenda R. Carpio Why did Glenda love this book?

In this book, Stoler rightly warns us against assuming that colonial violence existed only in the past. But she also shows that it is hard to grasp the effects of colonial power in our contemporary world.

This is because that power wraps “around contemporary problems,” including “toxic dumping in Africa, devastated ‘waste lands,’ precarious sites of residence, ongoing dispossession, or pockets of ghettoized urban quarters,” as well as migration crises the world over.

Imperial formations of power have transformed, adhering “in the logics of governance,” plaiting “through racialized distinctions,” and holding “tight to the less tangible emotional economies of humiliations, indignities, and resentments that manifest in bold acts of refusal to abide by territorial restrictions.”

Empires, old and new, intentionally conceal and silence their brutality, failures, and disorderliness and thus keep us in the dark while making us complicit in their violence.

By Ann Laura Stoler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How do colonial histories matter to the urgencies and conditions of our current world? How have those histories so often been rendered as leftovers, as "legacies" of a dead past rather than as active and violating forces in the world today? With precision and clarity, Ann Laura Stoler argues that recognizing "colonial presence" may have as much to do with how the connections between colonial histories and the present are expected to look as it does with how they are expected to be. In Duress, Stoler considers what methodological renovations might serve to write histories that yield neither to smooth…


Book cover of Rescue: Refugees and the Political Crisis of Our Time

Nell Gabiam Author Of The Politics of Suffering: Syria's Palestinian Refugee Camps

From my list on refugees in or from the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

I developed an interest in the Middle East after taking a class on the Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa as an undergraduate student. I later lived and worked in Kuwait for two years and traveled extensively across the Middle East, including to Syria, a country whose hospitality, history, and cultural richness left an indelible impression on me. During subsequent travel to Syria, I became acquainted with the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, in Damascus. This camp, which physically blended into its surroundings while retaining its Palestinian-ness, ignited my desire to better understand Palestinian refugee identity and the political claims at the heart of this identity. 

Nell's book list on refugees in or from the Middle East

Nell Gabiam Why did Nell love this book?

This is another book that addresses Europe’s 2015-2016 “refugee crisis.” While Miliband also offers some insights into the experience of refugees seeking asylum in Europe, the focus of his book is on how current European policy betrays the values at the core of Europe’s recent history and self-understanding. Miliband weaves analysis of the predicament of mostly Middle Eastern and African refugees attempting to reach Europe through irregular Mediterranean routes with reflection on his parents’ experience as Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany and seeking protection in England in the 1940s. The strength of Rescue is that it provides the reader with multiple frames of reference for thinking about what ought to be Europe’s response toward contemporary refugees, a significant number of whom are Muslims from the Middle East. 

By David Miliband,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

We are in the midst of a global refugee crisis. Sixty five million people are fleeing for their lives. The choices are urgent, not just for them but for all of us. What can we possibly do to help?

With compassion and clarity, David Miliband shows why we should care and how we can make a difference. He takes us from war zones in the Middle East to peaceful suburbs in America to explain the crisis and show what can be done, not just by governments with the power to change policy but by citizens with the urge to change…


Book cover of We Are Not from Here

Holly Green Author Of In the Same Boat

From my list on contemporary YA survival stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was eleven, I picked up a book about a girl and a boy who get lost on a backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada. It’s the first book I can remember reading over and over and over again. I wanted to be in that tent and in that forest figuring out how to survive. Since then, I’ve been hooked on books about people facing grueling physical challenges, surviving in the wilderness, and finding out what they’re made of. They’re urgent and compelling and the stakes are high, and I’ll never stop loving the thrill of reading about people being pushed to their physical and mental limits.

Holly's book list on contemporary YA survival stories

Holly Green Why did Holly love this book?

It is no longer safe for three teens, Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña to stay in Guatemala. Even though they love their families, they have no choice but to travel the route of La Bestia, a train system that will take them to the United States. Nothing about this journey is safe or easy, and the three friends face threats from the natural world and from people who mean them harm. This book hooked me from the opening pages, and I could not stop thinking or worrying about Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña. Jenny Torres Sanchez puts you right inside the characters' bodies, crafting a story that is compelling and tragic and ultimately hopeful, and brings to life the struggle of people in an impossible situation.

By Jenny Torres Sanchez,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked We Are Not from Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A poignant novel of desperation, escape, and survival across the U.S.-Mexico border, inspired by current events.

A Pura Belpré 2021 Young Adult Author Honor Book!
A BookPage Best Book of 2020!
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best of 2020!
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2020!
A New York Public Library 2020 Top 10 Best Book for Teens!

Pulga has his dreams.
Chico has his grief.
Pequeña has her pride.

And these three teens have one another. But none of them have illusions about the town they've grown up in and the dangers that surround them. Even…


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 Letters from Cuba

Maria Kiely Author Of Which Way Is Home?

From my list on highlight the importance of trust and friendship.

Why am I passionate about this?

An act of kindness from a stranger when you’re having a bad day can totally change your mindset, it can even change your life. I believe there are few things more important than trust, friendship, and making genuine human connections. Those are some of the main themes of my novel Which Way is Home? and themes that appear in each of the books on my list. You never know when someone is going to come into your life and change it for the better. I always want to be open to those experiences in my life and reflect them in my writing. Reading these books has only reinforced that desire.

Maria's book list on highlight the importance of trust and friendship

Maria Kiely Why did Maria love this book?

Based on the true-life experiences of author Ruth Behar’s grandmother, the letters that Esther writes from Cuba to her beloved sister Malka back in Poland feel totally real and remind me of my mother’s connection to her cousins that were left behind when she escaped Czechoslovakia. I love how open and curious Esther is and how that helps her connect with her new Cuban neighbors despite their differences. Esther creates a strong community by sharing her Jewish traditions with people who know nothing about them. The neighbors are willing to come together at first, despite their apprehensions, because they like this sweet, smart, little girl but they soon learn that they all have more in common than they would have ever guessed. This book will strengthen your faith in humanity.

By Ruth Behar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Letters from Cuba as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Pura Belpre Award Winner Ruth Behar's inspiring story of a young Jewish girl who escapes Poland to make a new life in Cuba, while she works to rescue the rest of her family

The situation is getting dire for Jews in Poland on the eve of World War II. Esther's father has fled to Cuba, and she is the first one to join him. It's heartbreaking to be separated from her beloved sister, so Esther promises to write down everything that happens until they're reunited. And she does, recording both the good--the kindness of the Cuban people and her discovery…


Book cover of How to Pronounce Knife: Stories

Rabindranath Maharaj Author Of The Amazing Absorbing Boy

From my list on for believing you've found a home.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a large extended family in a rural district in Trinidad. Frequently, as a young boy, I sought escape in the forested area at the back of the house. There, I would craft childish stories and fantasize about becoming a writer. This wish was granted after I moved to Canada in the 1990s. As an immigrant writer here, most of my books are about movement, dispossession, and finding a home. So, in a sense, I have always been running away from, while at the same time, searching for a home. This tension has given birth to most of my books.

Rabindranath's book list on for believing you've found a home

Rabindranath Maharaj Why did Rabindranath love this book?

In these stripped-down stories, the minute observations are just as significant as the broader strokes the writer uses to depict the lives of refugees, people at the margins. Told mostly from the perspective of a Laotian adolescent, the characters are each trying to understand the steps they must take to fit into their new barricaded lives. In spite of the claustrophobia that encloses the characters, the stories are funny and tender. 

By Souvankham Thammavongsa,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How to Pronounce Knife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE 'Spellbinding' i 'Breathtaking' Elle 'Powerhouses of feeling and depth' Mary Gaitskill 'Sharp and vital' Daisy Johnson An ex-boxer turned nail salon worker falls for a pair of immaculate hands; a mother and daughter harvest earthworms in the middle of the night; a country music-obsessed housewife abandons her family for fantasy; and a young girl's love for her father transcends language. In this stunning debut, Souvankham Thammavongsa captures the day-to-day lives of immigrants and refugees in a nameless city, illuminating hopes, disappointments, love affairs, and above all, the pursuit of a place to belong


Book cover of Ten Pound Poms: Australia's Invisible Migrants

Wendy Webster Author Of Mixing It: Diversity in World War Two Britain

From my list on migrants and refugees in twentieth-century Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian and writer and worked in universities all my life. I love writing and everything about it—pencils, pens, notebooks, keyboards, Word—not to mention words. I started writing the histories of migrants and refugees in twentieth-century Britain (and their entanglement with the history of the British Empire) in the 1980s and then kept going. When I studied history at university, migrants and refugees were never mentioned. They still weren’t on historians’ radar much when I started writing about them. Here I’ve picked stories that are not widely known and histories that show how paying attention to migrants and refugees changes ideas about what British history is and who made it. 

Wendy's book list on migrants and refugees in twentieth-century Britain

Wendy Webster Why did Wendy love this book?

This may seem an odd choice, but many British who migrated to Australia subsequently returned to Britain and some, nicknamed ‘boomerang migrants,’ had lives of to and fro between Australia and Britain. I’ve chosen it because the experiences of migrants who don’t settle but either return or migrate onwards are often missing from histories. In Ten Pound Poms, the voices of people who returned or boomeranged are prominent, talking about intense homesickness, but also about a kind of reverse homesickness since the place they return to doesn’t match the way they imagined it while they were away and has changed during their absence. The book reminds us that people’s attachment to particular places and landscapes and soundscapes can be powerful, and that migration often involves complex feelings of belonging and unbelonging.

By A. James Hammerton, Alistair Thomson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ten Pound Poms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than a million Britons emigrated to Australia between the 1940s and 1970s. They were the famous 'ten pound Poms' and this is their story. Illuminated by the fascinating testimony of migrant life histories, this is the first substantial history of their experience and fills a gaping hole in the literature of emigration.

The authors, both leading figures in the fields of oral history and migration studies, draw upon a rich life history archive of letters, diaries, personal photographs and hundreds of oral history interviews with former migrants, including those who settled in Australia and those who returned to Britain.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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