You are life

Bao Phi, 1975-

Book - 2022

Every child is bursting with amazing possibilities and poet Bao Phi celebrates the complex identity of the children of immigrants and refugees.

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2 / 2 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jE/Phi Checked In
Children's Room jE/Phi Checked In
Picture books
North Mankato, Minnesota : Capstone Editions [2022]
Main Author
Bao Phi, 1975- (author)
Other Authors
Hannah Li (illustrator)
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Ages 5-8
Grades K-1
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

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."

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review

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

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

An affirmation for Asian American youth. Scenes of outstretched hands reaching for one another and an Asian parent gardening with a child greet readers. "You are life," opens the poem, going on to add, "You are not a virus. / You are a seed. When you were born, / you saved me." Above an apartment window, an expectant couple waits in anticipation as the text reads, "You are not forever foreign. / You are Immigrant. / Born here. / Adopted. / Refugee, you fled a war." Li layers lines, blocks, and shapes of colors to create eye-popping fields filled with noodles, onigiri, and children. After touching on a myriad of interests and cultural references, the tone becomes more rousing, challenging model minority stereotypes and insisting that "You are not invisible. / You are not silent. / You are hand-painted signs, / people marching together in the street / for a more just world." The paths paved by ancestors are also acknowledged. As Phi discusses the silly, the funny, the serious, and the inspiring, the overarching, stirring message is that the possibilities for the future are endless. In an author's note, Phi reveals the verses were written in response to the recent rise of anti-Asian hate. Asian children take center stage, and Vietnamese is incorporated in the poem; kids of other ethnic backgrounds are also depicted, and characters vary in terms of ability. (This book was reviewed digitally.) A sweet and empowering poem. (Poetry. 4-8) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.