Ink Knows No Borders

Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience

Contributors to Ink Knows No Borders:

ELIZABETH ACEVEDO | SAMIRA AHMED | KAVEH AKBAR | EAVAN BOLAND | CHEN CHEN | SAFIA ELHILLO | MARTÍN ESPADA | CARLOS ANDRÉS GÓMEZ | JOSEPH O. LEGASPI | ADA LIMÓN | EMTITHAL MAHMOUD | BAO PHI | ALBERTO RÍOS | ERIKA L. SÁNCHEZ | GARY SOTO | CHRYSANTHEMUM TRAN | OCEAN VUONG | JAVIER ZAMORA . . . and many others.

This collection of sixty-four poems by poets who come from all over the world shares the experience of first- and second-generation young adult immigrants and refugees. Whether it’s cultural and language differences, homesickness, social exclusion, racism, stereotyping, or questions of identity, the Dreamers, immigrants, and refugee poets included here encourage readers to honor their roots as well as explore new paths, offering empathy and hope. Many of the struggles described are faced by young people everywhere: isolation, self-doubt, confusion, and emotional dislocation. But also joy, discovery, safety, and family. This is a hopeful, beautiful, and meaningful book for any reader.
Editors’ Note 
Patrice Vecchione and Alyssa Raymond

Foreword
Javier Zamora

Departure: July 30, 1984 
Joseph O. Legaspi

Immigrant 
Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

First Light 
Chen Chen

Origin / Adoption 
Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello

Dear America 
Sholeh Wolpé

Second Attempt Crossing 
Javier Zamora

Bent to the Earth 
Blas Manuel De Luna

A Hymn to Childhood 
Li-Young Lee

Immigrant Aria 
Rajiv Mohabir

On Being American
Samira Ahmed

Oklahoma 
Hala Alyan

On Listening to Your Teacher Take Attendance
Aimee Nezhukumatathil

The Break-In 
Hafizah Geter

#Sanctuary 
JoAnn Balingit

Extended Stay America 
Janine Joseph

Choi Jeong Min
Franny Choi

Muslim Girlhood
Leila Chatti

Fluency 
Michelle Brittan Rosado

Master Film 
Solmaz Sharif

The Key 
Ladan Osman

Ode to the Heart 
Ellen Bass

The Sign in My Father’s Hands 
Martín Espada

History Lesson 
Jeff Coomer

My Father Takes to the Road 
Jeff Tagami

My Grandmother Washes Her Feet in the Sink of the Bathroom at Sears 
Mohja Kahf

Frank’s Nursery and Crafts 
Bao Phi

In Colorado My Father Scoured and Stacked Dishes 
Eduardo C. Corral

Learning to Pray 
Kaveh Akbar

Naturalization 
Jenny Xie

East Mountain View
Paul Tran

Acolyte 
Tarfia Faizullah

Tater Tot Hot-Dish 
Hieu Minh Nguyen

Pronounced 
Carlos Andrés Gómez

Off-Island Chamorros 
Craig Santos Perez

A New National Anthem
Ada Limón

Portrait of Isako in Wartime 
Mia Ayumi Malhotra

Domesticity 
Kristin Chang

The Poet at Fifteen 
Erika L. Sánchez

Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong 
Ocean Vuong

ode to the first white girl i ever loved 
José Olivarez

Talks about Race 
Mahtem Shiferraw

Mama 
Emtithal Mahmoud

Split 
Cathy Linh Che

When the Man at the Party Said He Wanted to Own a Filipino 
Marianne Chan

Ode to Enclaves 
Chrysanthemum Tran

Ethnic Studies 
Terisa Siagatonu

The Day I Realized We Were Black 
Yesenia Montilla

quaking conversation 
Lenelle Moïse

Atlantis 
Elizabeth Acevedo

The Border: A Double Sonnet 
Alberto Ríos

Las Casas Across Nations 
Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs

Mexicans Begin Jogging 
Gary Soto

Field Guide Ending in a Deportation 
Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

I Used to Be Much Much Darker 
Francisco X. Alarcón

A Habitable Grief 
Eavan Boland

Return
Gala Mukomolova

Adrift 
Alice Tao

Author’s Prayer
Ilya Kaminsky

Game Of Thrones
Fatimah Asghar

Oh, Daughter
Monica Sok

Refugees
Brian Bilston

Home
Safiya Sinclair

Undocumented Joy
Yosimar Reyes

self-portrait with no flag
Safia Elhillo

Afterword
Emtithal Mahmoud

Acknowledgments
Biographies 
Permissions 
Index
Educator Guide for Ink Knows No Borders

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

"Though aimed at teens, this vivid, vital collection ... should find a ready audience with adults as well.... With bravura and hard-won insight, these poems explore identity, survival and home from first- and second-generation perspectives, offering a multiplicity of impressions and memories." —Mary Quattlebaum, Washington Post

"I was moved again and again by the poems in this brave, beautiful and necessary collection. I found echoes of myself in many of the pieces, and I know so many young immigrants and Americans will find themselves, too. But it goes beyond that. I wish this book would be taught in homogenous communities, too, so readers with little understanding of immigration will have the chance to see its humanity. This is the most important book we will read this year." —Matt de la Peña, NY Times bestselling and Newbery Award winning author

*"Poems as piercing and reflective as the shards of a shattered mirror offer stunning glimpses into the lives and experiences of immigrants and refugees. Sixty-four pieces (many previously published) in a variety of forms capture an outcry of voices mourning loss, celebrating survival, breaking and remaking self and home." The Horn Book, starred review

"This symphony of poetry is a necessary series of bruises and balms that will comfort those who have endured, uplift those who continue to struggle, and educate others." Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"An urgent and timely new poetry collection." —Nina McLaughlin, Boston Globe

"Vecchione and Raymond have gathered 64 poets from all over the world, their poetic voices as diverse as their experiences. Yet, they hold one element in common: a belief in dignity as an essential human right. ... these stories should resonate with youth who feel life deeply." Booklist

"This piercing poetry collection's sixty-four pieces (many previously published) in a variety of forms mourn loss, celebrate survival, and explore breaking and remaking self and home. The poets—immigrants and refugees themselves, or from immigrant households—tackle topics including racism, displacement, assimilation, and resilience. The contributors all offer timely, culturally specific frames for the universal struggle of growing into oneself. Appended with brief poet biographies."The Horn Book, recommended titles for 2019

"An intricate, hard-won tapestry of poetic experience, with density best suited to thoughtful browsing or individual readalouds rather than reading straight through but with many resonant poems that will strike a chord either of recognition or realization with young readers." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“We are a nation of immigrants, but as we grow further away from our roots we tend to forget. These poems help us to reconnect to both negative states (poverty, separation-anxiety, fear of the unknown etc.) and new opportunities and challenges.” Wicked Local

About

Contributors to Ink Knows No Borders:

ELIZABETH ACEVEDO | SAMIRA AHMED | KAVEH AKBAR | EAVAN BOLAND | CHEN CHEN | SAFIA ELHILLO | MARTÍN ESPADA | CARLOS ANDRÉS GÓMEZ | JOSEPH O. LEGASPI | ADA LIMÓN | EMTITHAL MAHMOUD | BAO PHI | ALBERTO RÍOS | ERIKA L. SÁNCHEZ | GARY SOTO | CHRYSANTHEMUM TRAN | OCEAN VUONG | JAVIER ZAMORA . . . and many others.

This collection of sixty-four poems by poets who come from all over the world shares the experience of first- and second-generation young adult immigrants and refugees. Whether it’s cultural and language differences, homesickness, social exclusion, racism, stereotyping, or questions of identity, the Dreamers, immigrants, and refugee poets included here encourage readers to honor their roots as well as explore new paths, offering empathy and hope. Many of the struggles described are faced by young people everywhere: isolation, self-doubt, confusion, and emotional dislocation. But also joy, discovery, safety, and family. This is a hopeful, beautiful, and meaningful book for any reader.

Table of Contents

Editors’ Note 
Patrice Vecchione and Alyssa Raymond

Foreword
Javier Zamora

Departure: July 30, 1984 
Joseph O. Legaspi

Immigrant 
Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

First Light 
Chen Chen

Origin / Adoption 
Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello

Dear America 
Sholeh Wolpé

Second Attempt Crossing 
Javier Zamora

Bent to the Earth 
Blas Manuel De Luna

A Hymn to Childhood 
Li-Young Lee

Immigrant Aria 
Rajiv Mohabir

On Being American
Samira Ahmed

Oklahoma 
Hala Alyan

On Listening to Your Teacher Take Attendance
Aimee Nezhukumatathil

The Break-In 
Hafizah Geter

#Sanctuary 
JoAnn Balingit

Extended Stay America 
Janine Joseph

Choi Jeong Min
Franny Choi

Muslim Girlhood
Leila Chatti

Fluency 
Michelle Brittan Rosado

Master Film 
Solmaz Sharif

The Key 
Ladan Osman

Ode to the Heart 
Ellen Bass

The Sign in My Father’s Hands 
Martín Espada

History Lesson 
Jeff Coomer

My Father Takes to the Road 
Jeff Tagami

My Grandmother Washes Her Feet in the Sink of the Bathroom at Sears 
Mohja Kahf

Frank’s Nursery and Crafts 
Bao Phi

In Colorado My Father Scoured and Stacked Dishes 
Eduardo C. Corral

Learning to Pray 
Kaveh Akbar

Naturalization 
Jenny Xie

East Mountain View
Paul Tran

Acolyte 
Tarfia Faizullah

Tater Tot Hot-Dish 
Hieu Minh Nguyen

Pronounced 
Carlos Andrés Gómez

Off-Island Chamorros 
Craig Santos Perez

A New National Anthem
Ada Limón

Portrait of Isako in Wartime 
Mia Ayumi Malhotra

Domesticity 
Kristin Chang

The Poet at Fifteen 
Erika L. Sánchez

Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong 
Ocean Vuong

ode to the first white girl i ever loved 
José Olivarez

Talks about Race 
Mahtem Shiferraw

Mama 
Emtithal Mahmoud

Split 
Cathy Linh Che

When the Man at the Party Said He Wanted to Own a Filipino 
Marianne Chan

Ode to Enclaves 
Chrysanthemum Tran

Ethnic Studies 
Terisa Siagatonu

The Day I Realized We Were Black 
Yesenia Montilla

quaking conversation 
Lenelle Moïse

Atlantis 
Elizabeth Acevedo

The Border: A Double Sonnet 
Alberto Ríos

Las Casas Across Nations 
Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs

Mexicans Begin Jogging 
Gary Soto

Field Guide Ending in a Deportation 
Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

I Used to Be Much Much Darker 
Francisco X. Alarcón

A Habitable Grief 
Eavan Boland

Return
Gala Mukomolova

Adrift 
Alice Tao

Author’s Prayer
Ilya Kaminsky

Game Of Thrones
Fatimah Asghar

Oh, Daughter
Monica Sok

Refugees
Brian Bilston

Home
Safiya Sinclair

Undocumented Joy
Yosimar Reyes

self-portrait with no flag
Safia Elhillo

Afterword
Emtithal Mahmoud

Acknowledgments
Biographies 
Permissions 
Index

Guides

Educator Guide for Ink Knows No Borders

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

Praise

"Though aimed at teens, this vivid, vital collection ... should find a ready audience with adults as well.... With bravura and hard-won insight, these poems explore identity, survival and home from first- and second-generation perspectives, offering a multiplicity of impressions and memories." —Mary Quattlebaum, Washington Post

"I was moved again and again by the poems in this brave, beautiful and necessary collection. I found echoes of myself in many of the pieces, and I know so many young immigrants and Americans will find themselves, too. But it goes beyond that. I wish this book would be taught in homogenous communities, too, so readers with little understanding of immigration will have the chance to see its humanity. This is the most important book we will read this year." —Matt de la Peña, NY Times bestselling and Newbery Award winning author

*"Poems as piercing and reflective as the shards of a shattered mirror offer stunning glimpses into the lives and experiences of immigrants and refugees. Sixty-four pieces (many previously published) in a variety of forms capture an outcry of voices mourning loss, celebrating survival, breaking and remaking self and home." The Horn Book, starred review

"This symphony of poetry is a necessary series of bruises and balms that will comfort those who have endured, uplift those who continue to struggle, and educate others." Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"An urgent and timely new poetry collection." —Nina McLaughlin, Boston Globe

"Vecchione and Raymond have gathered 64 poets from all over the world, their poetic voices as diverse as their experiences. Yet, they hold one element in common: a belief in dignity as an essential human right. ... these stories should resonate with youth who feel life deeply." Booklist

"This piercing poetry collection's sixty-four pieces (many previously published) in a variety of forms mourn loss, celebrate survival, and explore breaking and remaking self and home. The poets—immigrants and refugees themselves, or from immigrant households—tackle topics including racism, displacement, assimilation, and resilience. The contributors all offer timely, culturally specific frames for the universal struggle of growing into oneself. Appended with brief poet biographies."The Horn Book, recommended titles for 2019

"An intricate, hard-won tapestry of poetic experience, with density best suited to thoughtful browsing or individual readalouds rather than reading straight through but with many resonant poems that will strike a chord either of recognition or realization with young readers." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“We are a nation of immigrants, but as we grow further away from our roots we tend to forget. These poems help us to reconnect to both negative states (poverty, separation-anxiety, fear of the unknown etc.) and new opportunities and challenges.” Wicked Local

Books for Black History Month

Join Penguin Random House Education in celebrating the contributions of Black authors and illustrators. In honor of Black History Month in February, we are highlighting essential fiction and nonfiction to be shared and discussed by students and teachers alike. Black History Month – Middle School Black History Month – High School Explore additional books by

Read more

PRH Education High School Collections

All reading communities should contain protected time for the sake of reading. Independent reading practices emphasize the process of making meaning through reading, not an end product. The school culture (teachers, administration, etc.) should affirm this daily practice time as inherently important instructional time for all readers. (NCTE, 2019)   The Penguin Random House High

Read more

PRH Education Translanguaging Collections

Translanguaging is a communicative practice of bilinguals and multilinguals, that is, it is a practice whereby bilinguals and multilinguals use their entire linguistic repertoire to communicate and make meaning (García, 2009; García, Ibarra Johnson, & Seltzer, 2017)   It is through that lens that we have partnered with teacher educators and bilingual education experts, Drs.

Read more

PRH Education Classroom Libraries

“Books are a students’ passport to entering and actively participating in a global society with the empathy, compassion, and knowledge it takes to become the problem solvers the world needs.” –Laura Robb   Research shows that reading and literacy directly impacts students’ academic success and personal growth. To help promote the importance of daily independent

Read more

New Thematic Educator Guides: Teaching Poetry

Poetic voice, according to former U.S. Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, is an “artistic choice,” and in her 2019 TED-Ed Talk, she compelled students to “speak up.” The immense popularity of poetry slams, open mic nights, and other spoken word poetry events attests to the power of poetry to provide a platform for social commentary,

Read more