A Different Pond
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." Together with graphic novelist Thi Bui's striking, evocative art, Phi's expertly crafted prose reflects an immigrant family making its way in a new home while honoring its bonds to the past.
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Not only is this book beautifully written and illustrated, but the story within will enchant children while simultaneously evoking a sense of nostalgia in the child's parents.
Despite the fact that the characters in this gorgeous children's book are Vietnamese, every child will be able to relate to the main character's delight in spending time with his father and in the disappointment when he is left behind while his parents go off to work.
Kids will take notice that the father and son are fishing for food, not for fun. When they catch some fish; "Dad smiles, his teeth broken and white in the dark, because we have a few fish and he knows we will eat tonight." This line is an opportunity for parents to talk to their children about the immigrant experience and through this discussion, they can help to foster feelings of equality and to help eliminate racism in our society.
It seems trite to say that "Children are our future," but as cliché as it sounds, it is true. Books such as this one are important for many reasons. It is important for children of visible minorities to be able to find and read books that show people who look just like them, and that they can relate to. It is equally important that all children are exposed to multicultural books since we live in a multicultural society.
The illustrations in this book are a cross between graphic novels and typical children’s books, and they are the PERFECT accompaniment to this story.
I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars and I suggest that all parents, teachers and librarians put this book on their "To Be
Purchased list" or that they go ahead and pre-order a copy today. I predict this book will win many awards upon its release.