From the Tops of the Trees

­Carolrhoda. Oct. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781541581302.
Gr 1-3–In this moving, positive story, a father encourages his young daughter to confront challenges and look beyond borders. In Wada’s scenes, no Hmong refugee appears skeletal, but the “Humane Deterrence Policy” of the camp in Thailand, in 1985, includes just three days’ worth of food a week. Kids play happily together, ride dogs and chase chickens; the aunties of the extended families embroider calmly; but soldiers appear as splotchy memory-shadows, behind pretty blue-green foreground leaves. Kalia has overheard talk about the war and adults’ fears, and asks, “Is all the world a refugee camp?” Then, from a treetop, her father changes her perspective, assuring her she’ll “travel far to find peace.” Autobiographically based, like Yang’s The Most Beautiful Thing, this book includes an account of the writer’s successful subsequent life, pronunciation help, and a map. Wada seamlessly mixes media (graphite, watercolor, digital) in subdued hues into a simple, sensitive child’s-eye depiction of the camp and its people, scaled for reading to a group.
VERDICT This is a gentle celebration of vision, hope, and determination in a book for all collections.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing