In an ending author's note, Caldecott Honor Book author Phi (A Different Pond, 2017, illustrated by Thi Bui) explains how this celebration of Asian American identity came out of the spike in anti-Asian violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a father to a young Asian American child, he writes, he felt anger and fear but also "a glimmer of wanting to offer something hopeful." Here is that hope: a poem, addressing young Asian American children and children of immigrants directly, highlighting the joys they bring to the world. Li's colorful collage-style art portrays children in motion: "You are Dance Dance Revolution in a field of rice. / You are an ancestral dance flash mob in a megamall parking lot." The positive verse emphasizes, "You are not a burden. / In a basket of arms, you are the most precious thing." Across the pages, children march in a parade for a just world, play with others in the park, and share foods from different countries. The vibrant primary colors of the illustrations pop as the text reasserts: "You can do anything." Preschool-Grade 2. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.Review by School Library Journal Reviews
K-Gr 4—An award-winning poet creates a lyrical tale of encouragement. In the face of violence against Asians during and post-pandemic, Phi's words boost the self-esteem of children who are of Asian descent. Each stanza finds a new hobby or activity that all children can relate to, from karate to painting to dance. While the word choice and phrasing are clunky at times, the heart of the matter shines through. Li's exuberant illustrations burst through the pages to create a rainbow-filled world. VERDICT A must for any elementary library, to raise awareness, elicit allies, grow compassion, and build community to fight racism.—Brittany McMahon Copyright 2022 School Library Journal.
Every child is bursting with amazing possibilities and poet Bao Phi celebrates the complex identity of the children of immigrants and refugees.