cover image From the Tops of the Trees

From the Tops of the Trees

Kao Kalia Yang, illus. by Rachel Wada. Carolrhoda, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5415-8130-2

In 1985, a four-year-old Hmong child sees her first glimpse of the world in this poetic autobiographical account by Yang. Born in the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp in Thailand, per an author’s note, young Kalia plays with her cousins as their families, Hmong refugees, struggle with hunger, racism, and fear: “They are scared to return to the old country. They are scared to go to a new country.” When Kalia innocently asks if “all of the world [is] a refugee camp,” her father climbs to the top of the tallest tree with her on his back to show her the wide view and distant mountains. Lush, multilayered art in a natural color palette by Wada emphasizes family and community interactions, rendered in a combination of traditional media, including graphite and watercolor, and digitally. A stirring, lyrical portrait of hope and intergenerational bonds. Back matter includes an author’s note, a brief glossary, and a map. Ages 5–9. (Oct.)