Book picks similar to
Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh


middle-grade
realistic-fiction
fiction
historical-fiction

Refugee


Alan Gratz - 2017
    With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world…Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety and freedom in America…Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe…All three young people will go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers–from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But for each of them, there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, surprising connections will tie their stories together in the end.

Listen, Slowly


Thanhha Lai - 2015
    Instead, though, she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai's parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture. But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own. Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn't know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds.

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story


Nora Raleigh Baskin - 2016
    Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will’s father is gone, too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Nadira has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school she’s getting funny looks because of the head scarf she wears. Amy is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has to fly to New York on business.These four don’t know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined. Award-winning author Nora Raleigh Baskin weaves together their stories into an unforgettable novel about that seemingly perfect September day — the day our world changed forever.

Bamboo People


Mitali Perkins - 2010
    Soldiers pour into the room. They're shouting and waving rifles. I shield my head with my arms. It was a lie! I think, my mind racing.Girls and boys alike are screaming. The soldiers prod and herd some of us together and push the rest apart as if we're cows or goats. Their leader is a middle—aged man. He's moving slowly, intently, not dashing around like the others." Take the boys only, Win Min," I overhear him telling a tall, gangly soldier. "Make them obey."

Becoming Naomi León


Pam Muñoz Ryan - 2004
    When Naomi's absent mother resurfaces to claim her, Naomi runs away to Oaxaca, Mexico with her great-grandmother and younger brother in search of her father.

A Million Shades of Gray


Cynthia Kadohata - 2009
    A boy and his elephant escape into the jungle when the Viet Cong attack his village immediately after the Vietnam war.

Amal Unbound


Aisha Saeed - 2018
    Her dreams are temporarily dashed when–as the eldest daughter–she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn’t lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens–after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt.Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal–especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground


Rita Williams-Garcia - 2017
    But then the unthinkable happens. Cool Papa Byrd dies, and Clayton’s mother forbids Clayton from playing the blues. And Clayton knows that’s no way to live.Armed with his grandfather’s brown porkpie hat and his harmonica, he runs away from home in search of the Bluesmen, hoping he can join them on the road. But on the journey that takes him through the New York City subways and to Washington Square Park, Clayton learns some things that surprise him.

Wolf Hollow


Lauren Wolk - 2016
    Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.

Chasing Redbird


Sharon Creech - 1997
    So when she finds a long-forgotten trail in the wild woods near her home, she resolves to follow it. It's a journey that leads her to unravel the dark secrets of her aunt's life - and her own. And while Zinny chases ghosts in the woods, gorgeous Jake Boone is determined to chase her . . .

The Bridge Home


Padma Venkatraman - 2019
    Life on the streets of the teeming city of Chennai is harsh for girls considered outcasts, but the sisters manage to find shelter on an abandoned bridge. There they befriend Muthi and Arul, two boys in a similar predicament, and the four children bond together and form a family of sorts. Viji starts working with the boys scavenging in trash heaps while Rukku makes bead necklaces, and they buy food with what little money they earn. They are often hungry and scared but they have each other--and Kutti, the best dog ever. When the kids are forced from their safe haven on the bridge, they take shelter in a graveyard. But it is now the rainy season and they are plagued by mosquitos, and Rukku and Muthu fall ill. As their symptoms worsen, Viji and Arul must decide whether to risk going for help--when most adults in their lives have proven themselves untrustworthy--or to continue holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.

Genesis Begins Again


Alicia D. Williams - 2019
    She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like #95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her charcoal and eggplant—even her own family. And #61: Because her family is always being put out of their house, belongings laid out on the sidewalk for the world to see. When Genesis reaches #100 on the list of things she hates about herself, will she continue on, or can she find the strength to begin again?

Other Words for Home


Jasmine Warga - 2019
    But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.

Home of the Brave


Katherine Applegate - 2007
    In America he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He's never walked on ice, and he falls. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter – cold and unkind.In Africa, Kek lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived, and now she's missing. Kek is on his own. Slowly, he makes friends: a girl who is in foster care; an old woman who owns a rundown farm, and a cow whose name means "family" in Kek's native language. As Kek awaits word of his mother's fate, he weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country.Bestselling author Katherine Applegate presents a beautifully wrought novel about an immigrant's journey from hardship to hope.Home of the Brave is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

The Only Road


Alexandra Diaz - 2016
    Instantly, he knows: Miguel, his cousin and best friend, is dead.Everyone in Jaime’s small town in Guatemala knows someone who has been killed by the Alphas, a powerful gang that’s known for violence and drug trafficking. Anyone who refuses to work for them is hurt or killed—like Miguel. With Miguel gone, Jaime fears that he is next. There’s only one choice: accompanied by his cousin Ángela, Jaime must flee his home to live with his older brother in New Mexico.Inspired by true events, The Only Road is an individual story of a boy who feels that leaving his home and risking everything is his only chance for a better life.