I’m Your Neighbor Books is a Portland, Maine-based organization that helps to build welcoming communities for New Arrivals and New Americans through children’s literature. Using I’m Your Neighbor Books’s catalog, schools, libraries, community groups, and readers can discover books based on theme or the immigrant communities they represent. We've collected a list of welcoming audiobooks for and about New Arrivals and New Americans—share these immigration stories to build empathy and belonging.
Vikas Adam and Soneela Nankani animate alternate chapters of the dynamic love story between Pinky and Samir in this companion to WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI. Coincidence unites the two teens when Samir's promised internship falls through and Pinky invites him to become her pretend summer boyfriend because he meets her mother's expectations. This fast-paced rom-com pairs two unlikely... Read More
Lively music and narrator Adriana Sananes’s rich voice bring Latin flair to this audiobook about a Peruvian-American girl with a too long name. Each one of Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela’s six names has a story. Her father tells Alma about the people she's been named after, including a book lover, a traveler, an artist, a deeply spiritual woman, and an activist. Alma’s... Read More
This sweet story about middle school kids coming to terms with their cultural identity seeks empathy--if not relatability--from its listeners. Priya Ayyar does a good job inviting listeners to consider multiple points of view in her compelling narration. Ayyar is especially skilled at capturing the earnestness and fear that accompany feeling like an outsider in middle school.... Read More
When American-born Fabiola Toussaint's Haitian mother is taken by U.S. immigration officers, the teenager is left on her own to make a new life with her aunt and cousins in Detroit. Narrator Robin Miles glides silkily through Haitian Creole, Detroit street talk, and standard American English, infusing the dialogue with authentic-sounding accents and age-appropriate sass and... Read More
Narrator Soneela Nankani's youthful voice is a wonderful match for shy sixth-grader Amina, her Pakistani-American family, and her Korean-American best friend, Soojin. As Amina faces a new school year, Nankani recounts her struggles with new friendships, her lack of confidence to sing in a recital, her experience with being bullied, and her betrayal of her friends' trust.... Read More
Author Matt de la Peña narrates this spare audiobook for young children, and his beautiful words need no embellishment. It’s Carmela’s birthday, and she’s finally old enough to accompany her big brother on his errands. Outside, Carmela finds a puffy dandelion to make a wish on. Her wishes reflect the simple joys of childhood but also reflect the complex realities of a child of... Read More
In alternating chapters, narrators Priya Ayyar and Christopher Gebauer emotionally connect to Varsha Bajaj’s story, which highlights some of today’s hot topics: immigration and diversity, bullying, and the sharing of personal information on social media. Karina’s grandfather, who grew up in India, comes to live with her family and begins tutoring Chris, the boy next door, who... Read More
In this moving audiobook, narrator Michael Levi Harris takes us into high schooler Darius Kellner's head--he's half Persian, he loves tea, he sees life through STAR TREK and LORD OF THE RINGS references, and, just like his dad, he's clinically depressed. Darius and his family live in Oregon, but they travel to Iran to visit his ailing grandfather. There, a new world opens up... Read More
Roxana Ortega and Christian Barillas dramatize the alternating voices of siblings from Juarez, Mexico. Ortega reads the part of questioning, curious Sara, a newspaper journalist. Sara writes devotedly about the plight of Las Desaparecidas, the disappeared girls, after her best friend, Linda, vanishes without a trace. Ortega makes clear Sara’s commitment to her news stories,... Read More
From the first minute, it's clear this audiobook is special. Even without words, the lilting guitar music, the irresistible laugh of a baby, and the tinkling of wind chimes set the mood of a young Hispanic family with high hopes. Adriana Sananes narrates this picture book’s simple text with a positive spirit. With sounds of birds and surf in the background, she describes the... Read More
Narrator Anthony Rey Perez's voice is full of heart and hope in this moving story of separation, love, and resilience. Efrén Nava is a 12-year-old in a close-knit family. Listeners share Efrén's pain and fear when he comes home from school to find that his mom has suddenly been deported to Mexico. He must now balance worries about his family, his school work, and caring for his... Read More
The author intrigues listeners from start to finish with his powerful memoir. Both Daniel Nayeri’s narrative and his narration express the innocence, tenderness, humor, and losses of the 12-year-old refugee he once was. Nayeri captivates listeners with a patchwork of compelling memories and stories woven from Persian history and myth. He takes listeners from his childhood in... Read More
Trini Alvarado voices young María Luisa, who prefers to be called Malú, in this audiobook about not fitting in. Navigating a cast of diverse characters, from Malú's outspoken mother to her punk rocker father and neighborly Señora Oralia, Alvarado flawlessly tackles a variety of Midwestern and Spanish accents. This vulnerable portrayal of a Hispanic girl meeting life's... Read More
Ring in the new year and celebrate freedom with Bahni Turpin's lively narration and a Haitian Creole "kompa" beat. Ti Gran's warm, gravelly voice and Belle's youthful excitement place listeners right in the kitchen with them as they prepare a holiday feast. Listeners can imagine all the chopping and toe tapping as Belle learns about a culinary tradition with roots in the... Read More
Narrator Sunny Lu lives up to her first name in portraying Mia Tang. Lu captures the fifth grader’s qualities of cheer, ingenuity, and resilience. Mia’s parents, who are Chinese immigrants, work 24/7 to scrape together a living in 1990s Anaheim, California. When they find a motel to manage, plucky Mia enthusiastically takes responsibility for the front desk. Lu fills her... Read More
Cherise Boothe narrates this award-winning story of war, dislocation, and immigration with restrained feeling. Her soft cadence is measured so as not to overwhelm the listener but holds enough vigor to testify to the horrors experienced by Viola, the teenaged protagonist. Boothe's lilting voice captures the Sudanese background of the novel, lacing the speech of the older... Read More
Young, vibrant narrators voice heartfelt concerns as Fatima, Maria, and Jin are each welcomed into new classrooms in a new country. Listeners will hear them wistfully voice their concerns about language fluency and establishing a sense of belonging in their new communities. The repetitive phrasing of each memory of “back home” is powerful. While the pacing of each vignette is... Read More
In 1975, 10-year-old Hà escapes war-torn Vietnam with her mother and four older brothers. Narrator Doan Ly instantly captures the duality of language as we step out of Hà’s old life and into the foreign world of Alabama. Ly transitions deftly between Hà’s fluent thoughts, which are represented in English, and her stunted ability to communicate aloud in her new language. Both... Read More
Lameece Issaq's youthful narration captures the first in a series featuring sixth grader Nadia. She returns from Egypt to reunite with her "Nerd Crew" of like-minded, culturally diverse friends who join forces to put together a museum project. At the story's center are Nadia's changing emotions--her incomprehension of a classmate's bullying, the comfort she finds from friends,... Read More
Narrator Frankie Corzo presents a realistic portrayal of a young, first-generation Cuban-American’s life in Florida. Sixth grader Merci Suárez is a scholarship student at an exclusive private school where she deals confidently with the class queen bee, boys, challenging school assignments, and preparing to try out for the school soccer team. At home, Merci lives with her... Read More
Narrator Greta Jung's voice is warm and child friendly. Her pacing is steady. As the story opens, Jung's voice radiate empathy for Yoomi, a youngster who loves almost everything her grandmother cooks except kimchi. When Yoomi shares her dislike of it, her older brothers' taunts of "baby, baby!" and their refusal to let her join in a big-kid game carry all the bite of older... Read More
Mawi Asgedom brings authenticity to the narration of his memoir, whether he's telling stories of the hardships his family endured while escaping a war or talking about moving to a new country and overcoming difficulties in assimilating there. Illuminating the lessons he learned from his father, his faith, and his culture, Mawi provides a vivid picture of a young man who faces... Read More
Narrator Vaneh Assadourian’s rich, lilting voice underscores the lyricism of this audiobook spoken in verse. She gives sonorous dignity to the Muslim family featured in the story. Twelve-year-old Jude is an ordinary girl who loves her family, her home in Syria, and American movies—but as war comes closer, her pregnant mother decides it is not safe to stay there. Jude and her... Read More
The authors have collaborated on a timely story about first-generation immigrants finding their place as they navigate the challenges of middle school. Nikhaar Kishani is the voice of Sara, daughter of Pakistani immigrants and recent transfer from a small Islamic academy to a huge public middle school. Kishani gives Sara a believable voice as she struggles with feelings of... Read More
The author's passion and pacing unite in her rhythmic reading of linked free-verse poems telling the story of Xiomara Barista. The author, a performance poet, and her heroine possess a gift for arranging words, sequencing sounds, and enriching both with emotions. Xiomara (X) is a first-generation Dominican-American teen who has "a little too much body for a young girl." She has... Read More
Pinkney performs her novel in free verse, which features Amira, a girl listeners meet when she’s living a happy life with her family in the South Darfur region of Sudan. Pinkney narrates with a gravity appropriate to poetry and Amira’s changing circumstances when Janjaweed militants destroy her home and force what remains of her family to flee. Pinkney also infuses notes of... Read More
Author Paola Mendoza communicates the traumatic experiences of immigrants seeking sanctuary as she narrates her own audiobook, coauthored with Abby Sher. In this near-future dystopian novel, Valentina Gonzalez Ramirez--known as Vali--lives in a world in which immigrants are subjected to intense scrutiny and abusive state-sanctioned policies. When governmental violence against... Read More
Timothy Andrés Pabon's narration merges Spanish and English, high emotions, and tension in this audiobook. Since his mother's death when he was 5, Santiago has been shuffled among relatives who neglect and abuse him. Pabon expresses the 12-year-old's resignation, then a glimmer an idea. Might he escape from Mexico to the U.S.? Pabon contrasts Santiago's original hopelessness... Read More
Listeners will fly through a blend of folklore, science fiction, and pop culture that makes for a thrilling and fast-paced story addressing the impacts of racism and abuse. Narrator Inés del Castillo's husky voice enlivens Sia Martinez, an engaging Mexican-American teenager. Sia's mother was deported by ICE and died while crossing the Sonoran Desert to return to Arizona.... Read More
In this compassionate audiobook, three students in a class, Emma, Jason, and Jesse, portrayed by Frankie Corzo and Ramon de Ocampo, find ways to make three three newcomers feel welcome: Maria, portrayed by Ruth Livier; Jin, portrayed by de Ocampo; and Fatimah, portrayed by Ariana Delawari. Thoughtfully, each of the original students tries to connect with one of the newcomers:... Read More
Narrator Greta Jung's exuberant voice captures the honesty, humor, and conflict in Kim's poignant narrative. Yumi's hardworking immigrant parents want her to attend Hogwan on a prestigious scholarship, but when she stumbles into a comedy camp led by her favorite YouTuber, she can't stop herself from joining. Jung's pacing captures Yumi's stress and exhilaration as she struggles... Read More
This trio of narrators turns the alternating voices in this story into a terrific audio. Bahni Turpin emphasizes the raw, seething emotions of Natasha, a Jamaican teen who is in the U.S. illegally. Natasha has only one day to avoid being deported. Into her day walks Korean-American Daniel, portrayed by Raymond Lee. Lee’s narration begins calmly but soon shows how Daniel is... Read More
Narrator LaQuita James brings fresh joy to this engaging story of friendship, sharing, and community. Omu's name means "queen" in the Igbo language of Nigeria. When she makes a stew for dinner, the wafting smell entices neighbors all over the community to knock on her door. Omu shares her stew with every visitor until there is none left for herself. James creates different... Read More
Anthony Rey Perez narrates this story of a Cuban-American boy who has a secret ability to communicate with animals. When sixth-grader Nestor moves in with his abuela while his father is deployed in Afghanistan, he discovers there is something creepy lurking in her woods. As Nestor and his new friends investigate, they discover that an evil shape-shifting witch has been... Read More
Peter Ganim’s dreamlike voice transports listeners to Oman, the home young Aref Al-Amri must leave in a week to go to Michigan, where his parents will attend a three-year doctoral program. Listeners will be reminded of their own experiences with change as Ganim applies the perfect blend of anxiety and misery to Aref as he stubbornly refuses to pack his suitcase. Ganim’s... Read More
Tim Andrés Pabon narrates this realistic fictional account of Juan, an undocumented worker. Pabon delivers this first-person narrative in a conversational tone, his accented English suggesting Juan's Mixteco background. With an earnest and eager voice, Juan seeks employment to help his family. In the background, listeners hear the sounds of dishwashers, food deliverers, and... Read More
Nine narrators lend their voices and talents to the intimate stories of undocumented immigrants who were brought to America as children and who lived in the shadows until the passage of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The stories are presented as interviews, and the first-person confessional style lends itself well to audio, creating powerful performances that... Read More
Narrator Marisa Blake portrays the cruelty and menace of Rey, a gang leader in Guatemala. Blake’s depiction of the terror he evokes in three teens who flee him is heartbreaking. The story is told in alternating chapters by Pequena and Pulga. Pequena was raped by Rey and bore a son she can’t stand to care for. Her cousin, Pulga, and his best friend, Chico, witnessed Rey murder a... Read More
Teenaged Dimple Shah is focused on winning Insomnia Con, an intense summer app-development program. To her dismay, she finds herself partnered with straitlaced Rishi Patel, the boy her parents have arranged for her to marry. Narrators Vikas Adam and Sneha Mathan create a rapid-fire repertoire through alternating chapters as these two unlikely teens work together--and realize... Read More
Skillful soundscaping and a full cast heighten the atmosphere and emotion in this audiobook, inspired by the childhood of coauthor Omar Mohamed. The story follows young Omar, a Somali boy living in a Kenyan refugee camp, where he cares for his brother, studies hard, and tries to balance his hope of resettlement against grim reality. Narrator Faysal Ahmed is thoroughly... Read More
Narrator Greta Jung is outstanding at capturing both the youthful and adult voices in this chapter book for tweens. She embodies the quiet, thoughtful Lily in a subdued tone. Listeners will empathize with the shy Korean-American girl who wants to disappear at the sign of any conflict. Lily’s quiet personality alternates with the sassiness of her older sister, Sam, who will... Read More
Charon Normand-Widmer energetically narrates this story of life in a refugee camp for one imaginative little girl. Abia moves through her daily routine in Ethiopia's Shimelba Camp picturing herself a queen: strong and clever and gentle, as needed. Normand-Widmer's rich and resonant voice expresses Abia's delightful self-confidence in her current circumstances and her uneasiness... Read More
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