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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Issues and challenges facing immigrant children as portrayed in children’s literature McGuire, Claire Irene

Abstract

Canada is a country built on immigration and it continues to grow with the arrival of new immigrants from many lands. Children, who arrive as immigrants, experience many challenges that the citizens of the host country are unaware of or fail to recognize. In the analysis of informational accounts, the challenges faced by immigrant children fall into six major categories: language barriers and communication difficulties, maintaining ethnic culture, culture shock, intergenerational conflict, uprooting and separation issues, and prejudice and racism. These challenges having been determined, fictional accounts of the newcomers' experiences were analyzed to determine the authenticity of the portrayal of these challenges. It was found that characters experienced the isolation resulting from being unable to communicate in the host country's language. Loneliness due to uprooting was experienced by all the protagonists and the importance of memories and maintaining cultural traditions concerned most newcomers. Immigrant children in these narratives suffered from bullying and prejudice as well as conflicts within the family because of clashes between heritage culture and the culture of the host country. Canadian books do present these fictional accounts with empathy and realism; although the quantity of titles is small, the quality is certainly high!

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