How do we support our neighbors when their communities are disparaged or under stress?

Immigrant and New Generation children’s literature can provide supportive and true narratives when hurtful and false narratives about immigrants and New Generation Americans arise.

Rapid Response Book Boxes

Readers from inside our New Arrival and New Generation communities feel more connected when they see their lives reflected on the page. Being seen goes a long way to creating the resiliency that allows a family or student to weather the storms of each news cycle and school day.

Readers from outside affected communities can meet neighbors on the page. Hate does not thrive when a reader’s empathy is engaged.

I’m Your Neighbor Books helps is facilitating these connections with Rapid Response Book Boxes.

In 2023

When men and women were forever taken from their families and communities in Half Moon Bay, CA,

IYNB sent a box of Los deseos de Carmela and Carmela Full of Wishes to the nonprofit Ayudando Latinos A Soñar.

When families from Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo crossed the Mexican border as asylees and were housed for four months on an indoor basketball court in Portland, ME,

IYNB provided 444 books set in home countries, cultures, and languages to give a trauma-reducing sense of home.

In 2022

Funding provided by The Maine Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 supported these efforts:

When a hate group known for its anti-immigrant marches appeared in a Lewiston, ME public park frequented by Somali families,

IYNB supported a giveaway of Somali American author Hudda Ibrahim’s books to Somali families at her community-affirming appearances in Lewiston and Portland.

When a beloved Vietnamese American community leader was tragically lost,

IYNB gifted classroom sets of his favorite children’s book A Different Pond to Westbrook, ME elementary schools in his memory.

When asylum-seeking families were uprooted because of Maine’s housing crisis,

IYNB matched a Phi Kappa Phi grant to provide two books connected to the families’ home countries to each of the 111 children who had to move into a Saco, ME hotel.

When the Albuquerque, NM, Muslim community lost members of their mosque in a series of heartbreaking attacks,

IYNB partnered with author/illustrator Zahra Marwan to give Where Butterflies Fill the Sky, an immigration story set in the city, to the Islamic school.

When refugees from the Border were sent on buses to Chicago, IL,

IYNB provided the nonprofit Bernie’s Book Bus with the Spanish-language picture book Lucero, a lullaby written for border-crossing children, to give to families as they disembarked.

When people across the nation asked for children’s books in Ukrainian to assist refugee children,

IYNB worked with three Ukrainian university students to translate and record the picture book Story Boat in Ukrainian. Now with a simple PDF kit, anyone can add this QR Code-driven audio read aloud to a copy of the English-language book. We launched this effort with copies of the book given to Maine Ukrainian families and to libraries across the country that are serving Ukrainian immigrants.

In 2021

When the national Asian American community faced hateful words and acts,

we mailed over 400+ books celebrating the diversity, complexity, and joy of Asian American girlhood to 50+ schools and libraries. Read more.

When a New Jersey town was divided in a debate about the hijab,

we sent school libraries copies of In My Mosque, a beautiful book about our Muslim communities. The edition we sent had our signature Welcoming Library Discussion Questions written with community leader and Board Co-President Pious Ali.

When national public officials questioned the trustworthiness of Afghan refugees,

we mailed A Galaxy of Sea Stars, a novel about a town that welcomed an Afghan family, to 100 schools and libraries. Read more.

When we were seeing Haitians brutally pursued and returned at the border,

we partnered with the Portland Ovations Cultivating Curiosity program. Together we selected and distributed 500 copies of the Haitian American picture book Freedom Soup with our signature Welcoming Library Discussion Questions to Portland, ME elementary students to celebrate the resiliency of the Haitian people.