A warmhearted and tender true story about a young girl finding beauty where she never thought to look.
Drawn from author Kao Kalia Yang's childhood experiences as a Hmong refugee, this moving picture book portrays a family with a great deal of love and little money. Weaving together Kalia's story with that of her beloved grandmother, the book moves from the jungles of Laos to the family's early years in the United States. When Kalia becomes unhappy about having to do without and decides she wants braces to improve her smile, it is her grandmother--a woman who has just one tooth in her mouth--who helps her see that true beauty is found with those we love most. Stunning illustrations from Vietnamese illustrator Khoa Le bring this intergenerational tale to life.
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About the Author
Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer. Born in the refugee camps of Thailand to a family that escaped the genocide of the Secret War in Laos, she came to America at the age six. Yang holds degrees from Carleton College and Columbia University. She is the author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir winner of the 2009 Minnesota Book Awards in Creative Nonfiction/Memoir and Readers' Choice, a finalist for the PEN USA Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Asian Literary Award in Nonfiction. The book is a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read title and on the roster of the American Place Theatre's Literature to Life Program. Her second book, The Song Poet won the 2016 Minnesota Book Award in Creative Nonfiction Memoir, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, a PEN USA Award in Nonfiction and the Dayton's Literary Peace Prize. The book is the first Hmong story adapted into an opera by the Minnesota Opera and will premiere in the spring of 2021. Yang debuted her first children's book, A Map Into the World (Carolrhoda Books) and a co-edited collection titled What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Indigenous Women and Women of Color (University of MN Press) in the fall of 2019. In the spring of 2020, her second children's book The Shared Room (University of MN Press) and third work of creative nonfiction, a collective memoire about refugee lives, Somewhere in the Unknown World (Metropolitan Books), will be published. In October 2020, she will release The Most Beautiful Thing (Carolrhoda Books). Kao Kalia Yang is also a teacher and a public speaker.
Khoa Le has illustrated picture books published in a number of different countries. She is also an author, a graphic designer, and a painter. Khoa has a passion for travel, an eagerness to learn about different cultures, and a desire to discover the beauty of the world. Her inner moth makes her attracted to any source of light, but her dream is to one day see the northern lights. She lives in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, with her five cats.