A Different Pond by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui

Published by Capstone

Summary:  Poet Bao Phi tells a slice-of-life story from his childhood, growing up as the son of Vietnamese immigrants.  The father in the story wakes his son early on a Saturday morning so that they can get in some fishing before Dad has to go to work.  After a stop at the bait shop, they make their way through the darkness, past a “No Trespassing” sign, to their favorite fishing spot.  Fishing isn’t a sport for them, but a way to feed their family of seven.  As they wait for a nibble, the father tells the boy about how he and his brother used to fish at a different pond in Vietnam.  Later, they were both soldiers, but he was the only one who came home from the war.  After catching a couple fish, they make their way home again.  The boy watches as his parents both get ready for work, leaving him at home with his older brothers and sisters.  He’s a little sad to see them go, but knows they’ll be home in time to eat the fish he helped catch.  Includes notes from both the author and the illustrator about how their childhoods as Vietnamese immigrants in America inspired their work.  32 pages; grades 1-5.

Pros:  A beautiful story, deceptively simple, showing a loving immigrant family struggling for success in their new country.

Cons:  Many of the recommendations I saw for this book were for K-3, but I think older kids might better appreciate the many layers to it.

One thought on “A Different Pond by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui

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