A moving young adult graphic memoir about a Vietnamese immigrant boy's search for belonging in America, perfect for fans of American Born Chinese and The Best We Could Do!
Thien's first memory isn't a sight or a sound. It's the sweetness of watermelon and the saltiness of fish. It's the taste of the foods he ate while adrift at sea as his family fled Vietnam.
After the Pham family arrives at a refugee camp in Thailand, they struggle to survive. Things don't get much easier once they resettle in California. And through each chapter of their lives, food takes on a new meaning. Strawberries come to signify struggle as Thien's mom and dad look for work. Potato chips are an indulgence that bring Thien so much joy that they become a necessity.
Behind every cut of steak and inside every croissant lies a story. And for Thien Pham, that story is about a search-- for belonging, for happiness, for the American dream.
A 2023 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Finalists
Included in 2023 Best Book of the Year lists from NPR, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, School Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, and more!
“Packed with life lessons about family, friendship, assimilation and life in San Jose as a refugee, the graphic novel also serves as a love letter to his most memorable meals, from Southeast Asia to Northern California.”—NPR
"Pham deftly draws us into stirring sense memories — not only of place but also taste — using an immersive, autumnal palette." —Washington Post
"Pham’s extraordinary memoir just might be the toothsome gift we didn’t know we needed."—Booklist, starred review
"Pham reflects the push-pull conflict of assimilation and cultural loss as explored through food in digitally illustrated panels portraying visual feasts and expressive emotion, making for a vivid and insightful telling that offers joy and hope amid the terror."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A delicious series of memories full of hope and human connections despite the hardships of immigrating to a new home."—School Library Journal, starred review
"...a moving, insightful graphic novel memoir that shares the Vietnamese refugee experience through food."—Shelf Awareness, starred review
“In this gorgeous young-adult graphic memoir, Pham tells the story of his family’s resettlement in San Jose through his vivid, emotional food memories.”—The San Francisco Chronicle
"A nuanced and hopeful graphic memoir depicting moments of hardship and joy with sincerity."—Horn Book
"[A] standout graphic novel"—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books