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  • Monika Satote

A Different Pond represents Vietnamese Refugees & Immigrants

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

Written by Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Bui

A different pond is a story of a Vietnamese family living in America. It is about Bao and his father's trip to the pond for fishing, not as a hobby but to make dinner arrangements. This one trip makes Bao know about the hardships of his parents for a living because he learns that everything costs a lot. And it gets even harder, especially when you are a refuge in a foreign land.

“‘Why do we still have to fish for food?’ I ask.

‘Everything in America costs a lot of money,’ Dad explains.”

On the same fishing trip, Bao's father tells him about a different pond from their land, Vietnam. Bao's father is hesitate to tell him about his life in Vietnam and how he had to move to America because of the war.

This book is much more than a story. It feels so personal to see parents struggling to make a safe & happy space for their children and themselves. The book has themes of refugee life and the hardships of immigrants in a foreign land. Though the subjects sound a little heavy, the narrative feels very calm and peaceful to read. It is set in the early morning hours before the world wakes up. The portrayal of the tender bond between the father and the son makes this book even more calming.

This simplistic book for young kids comes with beautiful illustrations. It is extremely genuine, honest & personal. The message it delivers is so powerful. A classic book to talk about diversity and the challenges. I highly, highly recommend it.

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