Walls and Welcome Mats

Immigration and the American Dream

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 8

Since the founding of the United States, immigrants have made important contributions to the history and culture of the country.

Yet immigration has always been a topic that stirs up strong passions. Throughout history, immigrants have faced anger, fear, and violence.

The United States houses more immigrants than any other country in the world. Over forty million people living in the United States were born in another country. They are doctors, technology experts, construction workers, and teachers as well as parents, friends, and neighbors. So why do immigrants continue to face prejudice and even violence at the hands of other Americans?

Walls and Welcome Mats: Immigration and the American Dream examines the ways immigration has shaped America and how the backlash against it has shaped the conversation around migrants and refugees. Author Lars Ortiz explores the history of immigration in the United States from before the country was born to present-day debates surrounding the southern US-Mexico border wall. This in-depth account of American immigration reveals the faces behind the issue, the past and present challenges faced by immigrants, and the optimism that leads people to seek a better future in a new land.

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Interest Level Grade 8 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 8
Genre Social Studies, Young Adult
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Traditional Nonfiction, Diverse Books: Immigration & Refugees, Diversity, SEL: C Social Awareness, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2023
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 120
Publication Date 2023-02-07
Text Type Informational/Explanatory
BISACS YAN051090, YAN051180, YAN025170
Dewey 304.8
Dimensions 6 x 9
Features Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Index, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, and Table of contents

Author: Lars Krogstad Ortiz

Lars Krogstad Ortiz was raised by a family of musicians who met while playing in the Xalapa Symphony Orchestra in Mexico. After his family settled in Minneapolis, Lars went on to study political science and music at the University of Minnesota. His passion for serving the Latinx community led him to become an English teacher in Denver Public Schools, where he specialized in the instruction of English language learners. After returning to Minnesota he was principal cellist of the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis, as well as a founding member of Lux String Quartet. With Lux, he helped run a chamber music camp for kids and he worked with both Minnesota Public Radio and Schubert Club to promote music education in schools. After years of performing in concert halls and school auditoriums, he finds joy in his studio teaching budding cellists of all ages. Lars continues to pursue his passions of music, teaching, and writing while splitting his time between his homes in Minneapolis and Puebla, Mexico.

Narrator: Angela Juarez

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School Library Journal

“Highly readable, well-designed nonfiction with an appeal to the reader to consider their own stance.”—School Library Journal


“This is history presented through the lens of immigration, and readers learn the basics . . . along with new insights.”—Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“A combination of real-life examples, critical historical context, and engaging graphics and data presentation makes this a solid choice. An inviting, thorough, and accessible introduction to an important and perpetually relevant topic.”—Kirkus Reviews