One of my absolute favorite units to teach is immigration. This is a bit unsurprising because I really love historical fiction to begin with, but I just can’t even explain the excitement I get when my students make connections across historical periods. There is just nothing like watching the revelation in a child’s eyes as they realize that things happen more than once. That the Russians persecuted the Jews. That the Germans persecuted the Jews. That in different countries other people were persecuted for religious or political beliefs. That unthinkable things recur throughout time. Because I hold on very dearly to the hope that by making these connections these children will be part of making sure that these things never happen again. As we read books about immigration my students gain such a greater understanding of the world and their responsibilities to each other.
Over the course of November, I’ll be bringing you stories of immigration from all around the world: China, Russia, Dominican Republic, Thailand, England and India. In these stories, we can follow many common themes. People leave their homeland for jobs, to be near family, to avoid persecution, for freedom, because they are forced to go. People face hardships en route to their new homes and people face hardships when they arrive including bullying, exclusion, trouble learning the language, poverty and feeling homesick. Regardless of when or what country immigrants came from, there are experiences that are shared by all.
Please stop back from now until Thanksgiving to learn about not just the first Pilgrims to our shores, but all the others that followed.