Based on author Hà Dinh’s life, this touching picture book for children narrates the story of young Hà from when she lived with her family in a city in Vietnam, left her native land to live in a refugee camp in the Philippines to wait to be sponsored to another country, and finally left the refugee camp to live in the United States.
Though Hà remembered her life in Vietnam and missed some aspects of it, she loves living in the refugee camp. She attends a good school and thinks her Filipino teacher, Ms. Roland, who gives her warm hugs and kind smiles, is wonderful! Most important to Hà is her best friend, Chau, who lives four bunkhouses down from her. They enjoy playing games with pebbles, drawing, and singing together. On their walk to school, they pick a small bouquet of wildflowers for Ms. Roland. Their teacher responds, “Beautiful things can grow anywhere, like wildflowers!”
When Hà thinks about moving to the United States and leaving behind all she cherishes, she wonders, “But can wildflowers grow in America too?” The day Hà leaves the refugee camp, Chau gives her a card decorated with wildflowers. Hà is comforted knowing that the wildflowers will be “just enough to remind me to keep growing.”
The book includes author’s notes which relate Hà Dinh’s deep gratitude to those people who helped her family find a new life, as well as more details about her family’s experiences as refugees. Illustrator Bao Luu’s artwork captures Hà’s varied emotions: glee, playfulness, joy, sadness, perplexity and hope. The narrative and pictures combine to effectively relate for young children that, no matter where they live now or may need to move to later, they can continue to experience love and keep on growing. (WaterBrook)
About the Author
Sonya VanderVeen Feddema is a freelance writer and a member of Covenant CRC in St. Catharines, Ontario.