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A Different Pond

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  • “This wistful, beautifully illustrated story will resonate not only with immigrant families but any family that has faced struggle.”
    Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

  • “Hours before sunrise, a father and son go fishing for that night’s meal. So begins this powerfully understated picture book, which shifts the focus of the refugee narrative from the harrowing journey to the reality awaiting the family members once they reach their destination (in this case, the United States). With evocative detail and a keen ear for metaphor...Phi hints at the family’s joys and struggles. . . .The father and son return home that morning with a fish but, more importantly, a fond memory that will help make this new country feel like home. The ponds may be different here, but the water reflects life just the same.”

  • “Spare and simple, a must-read for our times.”
    Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

  • “Graphic novel panels and strong figures give the pages the air of a documentary as Phi celebrates an unexpected superhero: a father who endures a strange new culture, works to support his family, cherishes time with his son, and draws no attention to the sacrifices he’s made.”
    Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

  • “This gentle coming-of-age story is filled with loving, important aspects of the immigrant experience and is a first purchase for all libraries.”
    School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

  • A Different Pond isn't a story in the traditional sense — there's no wedge-like event to disrupt the narrative's flow. But conflicts that happened offscreen shape the narrative into one family's story. . . .Bao Phi, a poet, gives the narrator's words an occasional lyricism. . . .Playing off the writing's grace is Thi Bui's art, in which characters tend to be rendered more simply than their painterly backgrounds.”
    Shelf Awareness, STARRED REVIEW

2018 Caldecott Honor Book

Acclaimed poet Bao Phi delivers a powerful, honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son — and between cultures, old and new. A Different Pond is an unforgettable story about a simple event — a long-ago fishing trip. As a young boy, Bao Phi awoke early, hours before his father’s long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. The New York Times has said that Bao Phi’s poetry “rhymes with the truth.” Together with graphic novelist Thi Bui’s striking, evocative art, Phi’s expertly crafted prose reflects an immigrant family making its way in a new home while honoring its bonds to the past.

Author, Bao Phi

Bao Phi was born in Vietnam and raised in the Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis. He is an author, a poet, a community organizer, and a father.

Illustrator, Thi Bui

Thi Bui was born in Vietnam and grew up in California and New York. Now, all these places are a part of her. She draws and writes, and teaches. She recently published her first graphic novel, The Best We Could Do (Abrams, 2017), which is about her mother and father.
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Awards & Honors
2018 Caldecott Honor Book
Association for Library Service to Children,
a division of the American Library Association
2018 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor
The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
2018 Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor
The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
2018 Charlotte Zolotow Award
The Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC),
School of Education at the University of Wisconsin — Madison
Best Books 2017
School Library Journal
Best Books 2017
Publishers Weekly
Autumn 2017 Kids’ Indie
Next Great Reads List

Indiebound and American
Booksellers Association
Best Books for Kids 2017
New York Public Library
Best of the Best Books 2017
Chicago Public Library
Best & Brightest Books of 2017
Denver Public Library
Best Children’s Books 2017
King County Library System
17 Remarkable Picture Books
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
2017 Best of the Best
Eric Carle Museum of
Picture Book Art, Bookshop
Best Multicultural Children’s Books of 2017
The Center for the Study of
Multicultural Children's Literature
2017 Diverse Book Picks
NEA Today
2017 Nerdies Award
The Nerdy Book Club
2017 Action Book Club Selection
Little Free Library
Holiday Gift List
Pioneer Press
7-Imp Holiday Gift Guide
Kirkus Reviews blog
Holiday Gift Guide 2017
Publishers Weekly
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National Public Radio, All Things Considered
The Poet Bao Phi, On Creating A ‘Guidebook’
For Young Asian-Americans

Minnesota Public Radio
For the Poet Bao Phi, a Violent Past is Never Far Away

NBC News
Books Featuring Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders
for Kids and Teens

Star Tribune
Star Poet Bao Phi on Racism, Writing and Why
He Chooses to Stay in Minneapolis

Star Tribune, front page of Variety section
These new picture books have a unique Minnesota twist

Publishers Weekly Daily
Vietnamese Heritage Inspires Poet Bao Phi
and His Illustrator

Kartika Review
The Stories Bao Phi Tells

Shelf Awareness Pro
Midwest Connections July and August Picks

Publishers Weekly
Children’s Books Exploring the Refugee Crisis
Kirkus Reviews
Fishing for Understanding with Bao Phi

School Library Journal
44 Terrific Titles, August 2017

100 Must-Reads For World Refugee Day

10 Picture Books Featuring Children of Color

BookRiot, Features quote from Bao Phi
Book Giveaway for Groups Who Join the Action Book Club

Pioneer Press
Literary Calendar for the Week of August 6

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
The Artwork of Thi Bui

Let’s Talk Picture Books
Let’s Talk Illustrators #33: Thi Bui

The Library Voice
A Different Pond…A Beautiful Story of Family, History, and New Beginnings

Mackin Via Community
Great New Easy & Fiction Titles for July 2017
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