First Advisor

Susan J. Lenski

Date of Publication

Fall 12-3-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction




Immigrants in literature, Young adult literature, Immigrants



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 230 pages)


This study was conducted to determine how immigrants and the immigration experience are represented in current young adult (YA) literature. In the study, I asked the following questions: Who are the immigrant characters in recent YA books? Why do they come? How do they experience immigration? How are they perceived or treated by others? A content analysis methodology was used to examine, from a critical literacy viewpoint, recent young adult novels with immigration themes. Data were analyzed by identifying and interpreting patterns in themes across 22 YA novels with immigrant protagonists or other important characters, published between 2013 and 2017. Data indicated that the protagonists in the study reflected current immigration trends fairly accurately, came to the United States primarily to escape violence or persecution in their home countries, experienced a variety of challenges, tended to hold onto their home country cultures, and were often the objects of racism, but also found kindness and friendship in the United States. Teachers who desire to include authentic immigrant literature in their classroom libraries should consider from whose perspectives the books have been written, and learn about the authors' backgrounds and the messages that authors want to convey through the books that they write. In addition, immigrants can be encouraged to write children's and young adult books, sharing their experiences and contributing to the supply of realistic immigrant literature with complex and authentic immigrant characters.


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Persistent Identifier