The Most Beautiful Thing

Carolrhoda. Oct. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781541561915.
K-Gr 3–A heartfelt narrative alongside beautiful mixed-media images. Yang, who was born in the refugee camps of Thailand and moved to America with her family at the age of six, draws on her personal experiences as a Hmong refugee. Yang and her family did not have money to buy treats from the ice cream truck or purchase new clothes for the first day of school. After every Hmong New Year, the grandchildren stationed themselves around Grandma to listen to her childhood stories. When Yang started to feel the burden of growing up without financial privilege, her grandmother provided a loving, illuminating perspective. This tender picture book highlights the importance of familial bonds and human resilience in the midst of material struggle. Vietnamese illustrator Le depicts lush scenes that are realistic and fantastical. The stories of Grandma’s past swirl with rich colors. The depictions of poverty across generations will elicit empathy.
VERDICT A sincere narrative that centers on the power of family love. Recommended for fans of Yang’s previous work as well as those who enjoyed Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard and Saturday by Oge Mora.

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