Finding Papa by Angela Pham Krans, illustrated by Thi Bui

Published by HarperCollins

Summary:  Mai loves to play with her father, whose favorite game is to make his hands into a chomping crocodile, but one day he says goodbye to her and her mother and leaves.  They start getting letters from him, and after a long wait, Mai’s mother tells her they are going to find Papa.  Their journey takes them to a small boat, where they face the dangers of stormy seas and little food and water until they’re rescued by a large ship.  In a refugee camp, Papa’s letters help the workers know where to send Mai and her mother, and they eventually make their way in America.  Mai doesn’t recognize the strange man who greets them there until he makes his chomping crocodile, and she and her parents have a joyful reunion.  Includes notes from the illustrator and the author, who wrote this story about her own family’s journey from Vietnam in 1983.  40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  A beautiful story told through the eyes of the child narrator showing the courage needed to start a new life.  The mom is particularly heroic as she carries, comforts, and encourages her daughter, and the final reunion is perfect.

Cons:  I wish I could have read the illustrator’s note, but since it was printed on the back cover, the taped-down flap of the book jacket prevented me from doing so.

2 thoughts on “Finding Papa by Angela Pham Krans, illustrated by Thi Bui

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