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Vermont Refugee and Immigrant Stories

Here is a list of selected memoirs and biographies from immigrants and refugees who left their homes for safer and better lives in Vermont. (Click on a book’s title to find its call number and location in the library.)

Thank You for My Green Card
In this memoir, Edgar May describes the journey he took to the U.S. from Zurich, Switzerland with his mother and sister, former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin, to escape the growing threat of the Holocaust. He writes about his work as a journalist, his service in the U.S. Army, his contributions to the War on Poverty and Special Olympics, and his time in the Vermont House of Representatives (1983-1991) and the Vermont Senate (1984-1990).

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers
Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind
Lulu in the Sky: A Daughter of Cambodia Finds Love, Healing, and Double Happiness

As a small child, Loung Ung survived Cambodia’s brutal Pol Pot regime, and escaped with a brother to a refugee camp in Thailand before relocating to Vermont as a 10-year old. Her first memoir chronicles that experience. In her second memoir, she writes about the challenges of coping with post-traumatic stress and assimilating into¬† American life in Vermont, and in alternating chapters writes about the life of her only surviving sister, still in Cambodia. Ung has said that the last volume of her trilogy, “is my journey of going from surviving to thriving‚Ķ about reconnecting, reclaiming, and rejoicing.” She recounts her efforts to reconcile a past and present through love, activism, and new connections with her family and the country of her birth.

Greek Epic: The Latchis Family & the New England Theater Empire They Built
Greek Epic tells the story of immigrant Demetrios Latsis and the four generations of his family who built a movie theater empire from their home base in Brattleboro.

Refugee: The Ugliest Word, by Aftaba Mezetovic.
Bosnian refugee and Winooski educator Aftaba Mezetovic dedicates her book of poems “to refugees worldwide who have survived war, concentration camps and loss of homeland.”

Lost Generation: The Story of a Sudanese Orphan
Peter Garang Deng moved from a childhood of deprivation in South Sudan to a refugee camp in Kenya before coming to Burlington, Vermont, where he graduated from Champlain College and established a foundation dedicated to educating South Sudanese orphans.

Giving a Lift in Time: A Finnish Immigrant’s Story
Sarcka’s family came to Vermont from Finland in the late 19th-century to work in the marble quarries near Proctor. In 1932, Sarcka and his wife established Spring Lake Ranch, a therapeutic community for people with mental illness, in Cuttingsville.

The Bridging of Two Cultures
The Bridging of Two Cultures is an account of “how one family of French Canadian descent, without compromising its heritage, learned to live and cope in the border village of Derby Line, Vermont.”

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