Fall 2020

The Most Beautiful Thing

  • Interest Level: Kindergarten - Grade 3   ·  
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

A warmhearted and tender true story about a young girl finding beauty where she never thought to look.

Drawn from author Kao Kalia Yang’s childhood experiences as a Hmong refugee, this moving picture book portrays a family with a great deal of love and little money. Weaving together Kalia’s story with that of her beloved grandmother, the book moves from the jungles of Laos to the family’s early years in the United States.

When Kalia becomes unhappy about having to do without and decides she wants braces to improve her smile, it is her grandmother—a woman who has just one tooth in her mouth—who helps her see that true beauty is found with those we love most. Stunning illustrations from Vietnamese illustrator Khoa Le bring this intergenerational tale to life.

“A deep and moving reflection on enduring hardship and generational love. . . . Poignant storytelling with stunning visuals.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

“A sincere narrative that centers on the power of family love.”—starred, School Library Journal

Minnesota Book Award Finalist, ALA Notable Children’s Book, New York Public Library Best Book for Kids, NPR Best Book of the Year

Format Your Price
978-1-5415-6191-5
Temporarily out of stock
$13.49
978-1-5415-9937-6
$20.99
Interest Level Kindergarten - Grade 3
Reading Level Grade 2
Genre Nonfiction, Picture Books
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction, Diverse Books: Immigration & Refugees, Diverse Books: #OwnVoices, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diversity, SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: B Self-Management, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: D Relationship Skills, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2020
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Books ®
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2020-10-06
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS JNF019030, JNF018020, JNF007050
Dewey 305.8959/72073
Dimensions 9.25 x 11
Lexile 850
Guided Reading Level R
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Awards, Original artwork, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews

Awards

  • ALA Notable Children's Books, Winner, 2021
  • Minnesota Book Award Finalist, Short-listed, 2021
  • Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choices, Winner, 2021
  • NPR Best Books of the Year, Winner, 2020
  • Kirkus Best Children's Books, Winner, 2020
  • New York Public Library Best Books for Kids 2020, Winner, 2020

Reviews

Publishers Weekly

“Yang centers her cherished paternal grandmother in this poignant picture book memoir.”—Publishers Weekly

School Library Journal

“A sincere narrative that centers on the power of family love.”—starred, School Library Journal

Booklist

“Richly colored mixed-media illustrations feature beautiful, intricate patterns as a backdrop to this tale of a close-knit, multigenerational family.”—Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“A deep and moving reflection on enduring hardship and generational love. . . . Poignant storytelling with stunning visuals.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

Author: Kao Kalia Yang

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer, teacher and public speaker. Born in the refugee camps of Thailand to a family that escaped the genocide of the Secret War in Laos, she came to America at the age six. Yang holds degrees from Carleton College and Columbia University. Her works of creative nonfiction include The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, The Song Poet, What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Indigenous Women and Women of Color, and the upcoming title Somewhere in the Unknown World. Yang has also written multiple children's books such as A Map Into the World, The Shared Room, and The Most Beautiful Thing. Her work has won numerous awards and recognition including multiple Minnesota Book Awards, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, an ALA Notable Children's Book Award, Dayton's Literary Peace Prize, and a PEN USA Award in Nonfiction.

Illustrator: Khoa Le

Khoa Le has illustrated picture books published in a number of different countries, including the 2020 Sydney Taylor Honor book Miriam at the River. She is also an author, a graphic designer, and a painter. Khoa has a passion for travel, an eagerness to learn about different cultures, and a desire to discover the beauty of the world. Her inner moth makes her attracted to any source of light, but her dream is to one day see the northern lights. She lives in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, with her five cats.