Welcome to my blog where I document my learning in teaching, coaching, language and culture. During the school year, I have the honor of working with the best of two worlds. Part of my day, I work alongside with English language learners in the classroom part of my day. The other part of my day, I get to share it with wonderful colleagues as we sit down together, providing instructional coaching, brainstorming possibilities together or just listening. 

A Different Pond By Bao Phi

When I finished reading reading A Different Pond by Bao Phi the first time, I sat holding the book for a long time. In silence. I was taking it all in. From the minute you open the book and read the dedication page that says, "For my family and for refugees everywhere", you know you're about to read something powerful. 

The story takes us on a day in the life of this family where everyone works hard to contribute to the well being of the family. The young boy and his dad go fishing early in the morning but not for the sport of it, but because of the need for food. Living between cultures, language and memories, the author invites us to take a glimpse in the life of many families who strives to restart their new lives in a new place.

When reading this book, please read the authors note on the back because it adds deeper layers of understanding and appreciation. As Bao Phi shares, 

I was much less appreciate of this experience than the little boy in this story, but now that I am a father myself, I wanted to honor the struggle of my parents. I also want to acknowledge that they sometimes told me difficult stories about the war and where we came from, including death and violence. My parents shared these stories with me, not to scare or harm me but because these traumas were a part of our lives, and they wanted me to understand.

I understand the author's intention very well. Some families are open to discussing their past or traditions because it's part of who they are. Other families prefer to put those stories behind them as they construct a new life in a new country. I understand and respect both perspective because I work with many immigrants and refugee families. I always advocate for trying to understand as much about a child as possible because their stories are part of their identity. But I also acknowledge silence and the choice to privacy.

I hope this book is shared in many classrooms. I hope this book opens up conversations and possibilities. On the surface, it's a great mentor text for teaching small moments. On a deeper level, this book offers a great opportunities for conversations and understandings for anyone who reads it.

Happy Reading!


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