Aaliyah is every child who has ever known the heartbreak of having a parent forcibly removed from the home by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She is the voiceless, and faceless child that is often forgotten in a system more focused on separation than reunification. Silent and silenced, she struggles alone unable to describe-let alone overcome- all the things she is feeling.
Aaliyah is also hope. She is the light that demands to be noticed and a cry that needs to be heard. She is the future that demands that immigration laws and enforcement include her in their considerations. She is the spirit of liberty and the essence of childhood.
Designed as a resource for parents, teachers, social workers, advocates, and lawyers, Aaliyah The Brave helps readers understand the impact immigration enforcement can have on children and what emotions children may feel in the aftermath. When immigration officials come to Aaliyah’s home and take her father, she and her family find themselves coping with a variety of emotions. As they prepare themselves for the legal proceedings in Immigration Court, Aaliyah realizes how brave she is, and the family realizes how important communication about what is happening helps to empower her.
"Rekha's book makes a much-needed contribution in relating, in a first-personal way, the destructive impact immigration enforcement has on children's lives. It will hopefully help create more space for kids to verbalize and make sense of their own experiences with the confusing and oppressive system that is such a big part of their families' journeys."
Executive Director, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
“Aaliyah the Brave is a story of resilience and an amazing tool for any adult that wants to start a difficult conversation with their child but does not know how. Immigration and family separation is a reality that we can no longer ignore. The book’s author does an incredible job at teaching the public about the process while encouraging open communication and emotional validation within the family unit.”
Bilingual Clinical Psychologist at a children’s hospital, Miami, FL
“Aaliyah The Brave is a much-needed and inspiring story for children impacted by the harsh reality of our immigration laws. Parents, attorneys, adjudicators, and all adults involved in our immigration system can help children like Aaliyah process their feelings when faced with separation from a loved one. Sharma-Crawford's story is a thoughtful, accurate portrayal of what many families face, and demonstrates that even the youngest members of the family can benefit from honest and compassionate communication through uncertain times.”
Immigration Attorney and Advocate
“Aaliyah the Brave is an intimate narrative on the delicate nature of legal status in America. The story offers a simple yet thought-provoking conversation starter to build empathy for the children facing these issues and the community around them.”
Teacher, NYC Department of Education
“The story of a little girl who finds great courage in the face of unspeakable hardship, AALIYAH THE BRAVE is a go-to resource for parents, lawyers, and teachers helping children process the pain of family separation and immigration enforcement.”
Civil rights leader and author of SEE NO STRANGER: A MEMOIR AND MANIFESTO OF REVOLUTIONARY LOVE