Published by Owlkids Books
Summary: Thao Lam and her family escaped from Vietnam in 1980 when she was two years old. This wordless book shows her family’s journey, starting with a dinner in their Vietnam home where they’re planning their escape. The author’s note explains how, as a child, her mother used to rescue ants from the sugar water left in the house to trap them. When her mother was lost in the tall grass during her escape, a trail of ants led the family to the river and their escape boat. The illustrations show a parallel journey of ants escaping in a paper boat as the family is traveling in a larger ship. One of those ants crawls into a meal that turns out to be Thao Lam’s family dinner in their new apartment in Canada. Includes an author’s note giving more information about her family’s experience and her mother’s story about the ants. 40 pages; grades 2-7.
Pros: The cut paper illustrations do an amazing job of telling this refugee family’s story, cleverly bookending the tale with two family dinners, and weaving the story of the ants in seamlessly.
Cons: Reviews I read recommended this book for kids as young as 5, but I think the nature of the story and the way it’s told make it more of an upper elementary and middle school book. I wish the author’s note had been at the beginning to help me understand the story before I began.
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