A Different Pond

Book Summary: 

A father wakes his son early to go fishing. The two don’t fish for pleasure, though, but for food. The father tells his son that he used to fish in another pond as a boy growing up in Vietnam. The father and son share the early morning hours before they have to leave so the father can go to his second job. The entire family enjoys their evening meal of fish and rice; the boy feels satisfied that he was able to help catch fish for dinner.

This book also won recognition as  a Caldecott Honor book, and received the Charlotte Zolotow Award.

Bao Phi
Thi Bui
Capstone Young Readers
Guiding Question: 

Read the Note from Bao Phi and the Note from Thi Bui to better understand the story behind this story about going fishing. How does this information help you understand the story?

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85): 

Honesty- Bao Phi dedicates this book to refugees everywhere. What does it mean to be a refugee? Have you ever thought that some of the people who have come to the United States are here because their lives are in danger in their home countries?

Empathy- How would it feel to have to leave your home country along with everything that makes you feel comfortable such as your extended family, friends, pets, parents’ jobs, people who speak the same language, place of worship, schools, and many other comforts to start in a new country where some people might not want you to be there?

Advocacy- Near the beginning of the story, the boy says, “A kid at my school said my dad’s English sounds like a thick, dirty river.” What could you do to help a person who made this type of statement understand that he’s making life difficult for a family who’s working very hard to have a good life? Are there ways you can help refugees tell their own stories so others can better understand them?

Action- Stand up for students when others aren’t treating them well.