From the Tops of the Trees
Young Kalia has never known life beyond the fences of the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp. The Thai camp holds many thousands of Hmong families who fled in the aftermath of the little-known Secret War in Laos that was waged during America’s Vietnam War. For Kalia and her cousins, life isn’t always easy, but they still find ways to play, racing with chickens and riding a beloved pet dog.
Just four years old, Kalia is still figuring out her place in the world. When she asks what is beyond the fence, at first her father has no answers for her. But on the following day, he leads her to the tallest tree in the camp and, secure in her father’s arms, Kalia sees the spread of a world beyond.
Kao Kalia Yang’s sensitive prose and Rachel Wada’s evocative illustrations bring to life this tender true story of the love between a father and a daughter.
Writing on Yang Warriors:
In this inspiring picture book, fierce and determined children confront the hardships of Ban Vinai refugee camp, where Kao Kalia Yang lived as a child. Accompanied by the evocative and rich cultural imagery of debut illustrator Billy Thao, the warriors’ secret mission shows what feats of compassion and courage children can perform, bringing more than foraged greens back to the younger children and to their elders. In this unforgiving place, with little to call their own, these children are the heroes, offering gifts of hope and belonging in a truly unforgettable way.
“Yang Warriors is a gentle reminder that superheroes come in all shapes and sizes. A moving and powerful story of the hope and resilience of a Hmong family.”—Carole Lindstrom, author of We Are Water Protectors
The Most Beautiful Thing: New Book by Kao Kalia.
NOW available for purchase where books are sold!
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.
The Shared Room
A family gradually moves forward after the loss of a child—a story for readers of all ages
Tenderly, and with refreshing authenticity, beloved Minnesota writer Kao Kalia Yang tells the story of a Hmong American family living with loss and tremendous love. Bringing a message of comfort and hope to readers young and old, her direct and poignant words are accompanied by the evocative and expressive drawings of Hmong American artist Xee Reiter.
There is such power and pain and beauty in this brave little book. It is a thing to be treasured. Children who have experienced terrible grief in their young lives and are in need of seeing their sorrow reflected and honored have a beautiful friend in this story. The Shared Room is a tender thing—all heart and hope and quiet love. I love it dearly.
Kelly Barnhill, author of Newbery Medal Winner The Girl Who Drank the Moon
A MAP INTO THE WORLD: New Book by Kao Kalia Yang
A Map Into the World (Carolrhoda Books, October 2019) is the first literarily published children’s book by a Hmong-American writer centered on a Hmong-American family. It is a the story of a young Hmong girl’s discovery of the changing seasons of a year and the different seasons of a life.
A watermelon growing big and round.
A yellow leaf fallen from a tree.
A handful of glittering snow.
The first worm of spring.
As the seasons change, so too does a young girl’s world. She moves into a new home with her family and encounters both birth and death. As this curious girl explores life inside her house and beyond, she collects bits of the world. But who are her treasures for?
The story is about a young Hmong girl’s search for beauty and connection in a busy world, lushly illustrated by Seo Kim.
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Thaum Hluas Txog Hnub Laus: When the Days of Youth are Gone (Bee Yang, 2014)
This is an album of Hmong song poetry, kwv txhiaj hmoob, composed and sung by Bee Yang, Kao Kalia Yang’s father. The album notes and English translation of one of the songs are by Kao Kalia Yang.
Kwv txhiaj is, in the words of Ralph Ellison on the American Blues, “an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one’s aching consciousness, to finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-cosmic lyricism. As a form, the blues [and kwv txhiaj] is an autobiographical chronicle of personal catastrophe expressed lyrically.”
NOTE: The duration of the songs do not reflect the actual song length. Please consider ordering the CD for the full songs. Thank you.
*This CD is available for purchase for $15. Click below to order: