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We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults

by Susan Kuklin

Published by Candlewick Press, 2019
182 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7636-7884-5

Age 11 and older

Nine young adults with undocumented immigrant status in the United States share their individual, complex stories about how and why they came to this country, and their experiences since arriving. Each has made the decision to speak out, not only in this book but often in other contexts: courageous activism as they both live in and emerge from “the shadows” to share their stories and dreams. The young adults interviewed came originally from Colombia, Ghana, Independent Samoa, Mexico, and South Korea as children or young teens, usually with their parents, in one case because of trafficking. The book, originally slated for publication in 2017, was delayed after presidential action put the status of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in limbo. Changes were made to protect the young people’s identities, which are now indicated only by first initial and a dash (e.g. Y—), while Kuklin’s photographs of her subjects were eliminated—only empty frames remain. Each dash and empty frame is a sobering reminder that visibility is a risk for these young people, who deserve to be seen. Black-and-white photographs do appear in a chapter about the work of Reverend John Fife of Tucson, part of a group providing assistance to immigrants making the difficult desert crossing. End matter includes notes about each interview and resources. Kuklin writes, “These individuals remind me again and again that the American Dream is worth fighting for—and that the American dream is worth sharing.” ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center



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