#blogbookaday: A Different Pond

13 Jan

34137106.jpgSummary:  “Acclaimed poet Bao Phi delivers a powerful, honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son – and between cultures, old and new. A Different Pond is an unforgettable story about a simple event – a long-ago fishing trip. As a young boy, Bao Phi awoke early, hours before his father’s long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. The New York Times has said that Bao Phi’s poetry “rhymes with the truth.” Kirkus Reviews calls A Different Pond “a must-read for our times”. Thi Bui’s striking, evocative art paired with Phi’s expertly crafted prose has earned this powerful picture books six starred reviews.” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: A story that is not an uncommon narrative in the life of children and their families, a simple fishing trip is the focus of this story. But what is different is that this family fishes for for food, not for fun. A refugee family with parents who are working multiple jobs extra fish caught in the early morning light means that the family has dinner for the evening. The illustrations have a distinctive graphic novel feel which I think lends a great direction to this story as you navigate through the young boy’s story providing close-ups images of the boy’s face and his reactions during his fishing experience.

Personal Reaction: I found this story to be an extremely real and true window into the life of an refugee family and the hardships that they often deal with – low income, multiple jobs, heavy accents, but also a spirit of working hard to achieve the American dream and to give their children an opportunity for a better life. The simple act of fishing with his father led Bao Phi to write this story to share a part of his life with us. The illustrator, Thi Bui, was also born in Vietnam and moved to the United States as a child and spent a lot of time making sure that the illustrations in this story rang true to Bao’s past and other Vietnamese families during that time.

As a special note, A Different Pond, won the prestigious Charlotte Zolotow Award for the best picture book in the country.

Title: A Different Pond
Author: Bao Phi
Illustrator: Thi Bui
Publisher: Picture Window Books
Publication Date: August 1, 2017

#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!


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