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A Different Pond Book Companion Freebie

This post has a free PDF for teachers to use with the book A Different Pond by Bao Phi. It is my second post for this year’s Multicultural Children’s Book Day event. The publisher is Capstone, and I thank them for the copy I received to review the book and write this blog post. I also purchased a Kindle copy myself. This is such a beautiful book! A young boy (not named in the story, but is actually the author Bao Phi) goes fishing with his Vietnamese refugee father. Why are they fishing at night? It probably has something to do with the No Trespassing sign near the pond. It might sound like fun to go out so early in the morning that it is still night, but actually, the author felt it was anything but fun because fishing for food was a necessity. A sentence in the story states that the father smiles when they have caught a few fish — and the family will eat tonight. Which begs the question, what if no fish were caught? What do your children or students think this might mean? The story doesn’t clearly say the boy feels like fishing is a chore, but this information is found in the author bio at the end of the book.

A Different Pond,” written by Bao Phi of Minneapolis and illustrated by Thi Bui, is a Caldecott Medal Honor Book, one of the American Library Association’s prestigious Youth Media Awards announced Monday at the organization’s midwinter meeting in Denver.

This book won the best picture book in the country award recently! And I was lucky enough to receive it for this post.

A Different Pond Book Companion Freebie

If you missed it, had a wonderful conversation with A DIFFERENT POND’S Bao Phi & on working together + with . Listen to the archived audio @

When the boy and his father are waiting to catch fish (only crappies, not really a great fish to eat but they are excited and happy to get them), the father sometimes speaks of the Vietnam War which he and his brother both fought. The brother didn’t return from the war. Since it is now 50 years later, the book is in good company with the Ken Burn’s video series and books on the subject for adults.  Vietnam has been a discussion topic this fall and winter. It is interesting how children’s books can approach tough subjects and still captivate children’s imaginations.

A good reading comprehension strategy for this book would be asking questions. Why is there only a bare bulb in the kitchen? Why does father have crooked teeth? Why are they happy to catch crappies? Why do they have to fish for food now that father has two jobs? What would be different about having to fish vs. fishing for fun and relaxation? Why don’t they use a boat? What actually is the different pond?  The children will generate answers and also additional questions when discussing the story. The story is honest and informative about the Vietnamese refugee experiences after the way — only as far as children are able to understand while keeping the overall book tone positive. Click on the link to download your free instant PDF file.


In one illustration in the book, a calendar on the kitchen wall shows the year as 1980. After reading the author’s biography, why do the children think this year is shown? As the children notice other details in the wonderful illustrations by Thi Bui, who is also from Vietnam, they will have “noticings” to share. Do read her biography at the end and learn why empty spaces in the pictures have special meaning to her. What do the children think about that?

A Different Pond is one of the books I read for MCBD 2018. I received a free copy and have also purchased several copies myself.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Their mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators. This post is one of several I’m writing for the 2018 event, and I have participated in previous years.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild

PLATINUM: Scholastic Book Clubs

GOLD: Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies

SILVER: Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press

BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press

2018 Author Sponsors

Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina

Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan Bernardo,  Author Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne Broyles,  Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports QueenAuthor Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim


Thank you for reading, Carolyn

You might also like the post and free printable about the book, How I Learned Geography, by Uri Shulevitz.


You might also like The Breadwinner book review and free educational printable at this link.

The-Breadwinner-Novel-2018-MKB-Summer-Reading-Series and free book companion resource[inlinkz_linkup id=758893 mode=1]

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