A Different Pond

  • Title: A Different Pond
  • Author: Bao Phi
  • Illustrator: Thi Bui
  • Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
  • Publication year: 2017
  • Brief Summary: From Capstone: “A Different Pond is an unforgettable story about a simple event – a long-ago fishing trip. Graphic novelist Thi Bui and acclaimed poet Bao Phi deliver a powerful, honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son – and between cultures, old and new. As a young boy, Bao and his father 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. Thi Bui’s striking, evocative art paired with Phi’s expertly crafted prose has earned this powerful picture books six starred reviews and numerous awards.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – Much like My Grandfather’s Coat or even Nana Akua Goes to School, the immigrant experience present in this book could be a great teaching tool. I find this book especially interesting during this time of COVID-19, where there have been many anti-racist movements, including a #StopAsianHate movement. This book in particular would be a healthy representation of Asian culture, especially the Asian immigrant culture. This book could be used in a history class, or even for older children in their study of the Vietnam War.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it. –Thi Bui’s illustrations adds so much to the story. In particular, the two page spread where our protagonist is staring out the car window and marveling at the early morning streets, is evocative. The reader can feel the heat that the father puts on, can smell the wet leaves and see the light as it refracts on the road. Additionally, the illustrations that are in panels make for a fast pace. The color scheme of blues and greens, punctuated with bright, yellow artificial light really allow the reader to feel that it is really is night.

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