A Different Pond

Title: A Different Pond

Author: Bao Phi

Illustrator: Thi Bui

Publisher and Year: 2017 Capstone Young Readers

Number of pages: 32

Tags/Themes: Award Book, Culture, Diversity, Family, Historical Fiction, Picture Book, K-5, Evan White

Genre: Family, Picture Book, Children’s, Cultural

Descriptive Annotation: A young Vietnamese boy and his father wake up very early one day to go fishing.  The two go to a shop to buy some bait fish.  At the shop, the shop owner asked why they came so early, and the father explained how he got another job, so they needed to fish earlier for food.  Once at the fishing pond, the boys father shares a story how the pond reminds him of a pond in his old home in Vietnam before the “War” (implied Vietnam War).  The father shares how he would go fishing for food with his brother, how they would fight side by side.  After his brother died, the father went to America.  The young boy feels proud of himself for catching a big fish to eat later that day with his family.  When they arrive home, the mother starts cooking the fish, while the father goes to work. The authors note explains how the authors parents were refuges from the Vietnam War, and wanted to write a book similar to his experiences.  From the story, it is not clear the family are refugees until the reader reads the author’s note.  It might be helpful for students to know there was war in Vietnam, and possibly what a refuge is to explain why the father needed multiple jobs.

Classroom Application: This book can be used to reinforce content from history or social sciences.  The book can be used to demonstrate how families have had to leave their home country because of war, but also how those families can still keep their family tradition, in this case, fishing.  This book can stretch students thinking about reasons why people need to work multiple jobs.  Thereir can be numerous reasons, and the students can be open to different reasons people need to work multiple jobs and fund ways to save money to make a living.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book represents Vietnamese American culture, especially those who are refugees. It teaches how refugees work very hard to survive in America. “ “You’re here early today,” the bait man says.  “I got a second job,” my dad explains. “I have to work this morning.” “On a Saturday?” the bait man asks. My dad nods.” (7).  From the bait, they caught a few fish. “Dad smiles, his teeth broken and white in the dark, because we have a few fish and he knows we will eat tonight.” (18).  This quote shows how this family have to be creative to get food showing the creativity and hard work of refuges to make a living.  I might introduce this book by having the students discuss a specific location the students spend time with their family or guardians. The pond is a place of recurring fishing for the father and boy, and the students might have a location where they spend a lot of time with their family.

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