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THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING by Kao Kalia Yang Kirkus Star


by Kao Kalia Yang ; illustrated by Khoa Le

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5415-6191-5
Publisher: Carolrhoda

A deep and moving reflection on enduring hardship and generational love.

Kalia’s grandmother holds a revered place among her Hmong family. Her origins feel almost mythic in stature as Kalia recounts how no one knows Grandma’s true age and how, as a young girl, she escaped a tiger in the jungle. Grandma is a survivor; the struggles of raising her orphaned siblings and immigrating across the world have only made her stronger. Despite a life of adversity, Grandma continues to smile through challenges. As Kalia grows older, she struggles with her family’s poverty until Grandma offers a powerful reminder of what matters most. This picture-book memoir for older readers explores perseverance, financial hardship, and the richness of family connection. Gorgeously illustrated with lush florals and foliage, these images capture both the magic and constancy of Grandma’s love. Nods to the importance of fabric in Hmong culture are represented with beautiful paj ntaub–style endpapers symbolizing family and the embroidered designs on Grandma’s clothing. She is the only character pictured in these traditional fabrics, representing her honored matriarch status and the legacy she passes along: an ability to bloom even in the toughest conditions.

Poignant storytelling with stunning visuals.

(pronunciation guide, glossary) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)