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A Different Pond
A Vietnamese American boy’s predawn fishing outing with his dad is the subject of a narrative shaped by an exquisite accounting of details. So much beyond the action is conveyed through beautifully weighted sentences (“I feel the bag of minnows move. They swim like silver arrows in my hand.”): The specific experience of this immigrant child (“A kid at my school says my dad’s English sounds like a thick, dirty river. But to me his English sounds like gentle rain.”); a hard-working family’s economic hardship (“‘If you got another job why do we still have to fish for food?’ I ask. ‘Everything in America costs a lot of money,’ he explains. I feel callouses on his hand when he squeezes mine.”); bittersweet memory as the boy’s dad recalls fishing at a similar pond as a child in Vietnam with his brother, who died during the war. And running through it all is the boy’s happiness in their time together, a pleasure that extends feelings about his entire family when they gather at day’s end. The evocative art masterfully and movingly conveys details of character, setting, and action while superbly reflecting the warmth and intimacy of the story. At volume’s end, both the author and illustrator share memories of growing up in Vietnamese families that came to the United States when they were children. Winner, 2018 Charlotte Zolotow Award ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center
Illustrated by Thi Bui
CCBC Age Recommendation: Ages 6-9
Age Range: PreK-Early Elementary (Ages 4-7) Grades 3-5 (Ages 8-10)
Format: Picture book
Subjects: Economic Hardship and Poverty Families Fathers Immigration and Immigrants Vietnam War Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans
Diversity subject: Asian
Publish Year: 2017
CCBC Location: Picture Book, Phi
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