Today Is Different

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

Standing together makes all of us stronger.

Mai, a young Hmong girl, and Kiara, a young Black girl, are best friends. They do everything together—riding the bus, eating lunch, playing at recess. But one day Kiara misses school and Mai goes looking for answers. When she learns that her best friend is protesting an act of police violence against the Black community, Mai decides to join the protest too. Her parents at first want to protect her by keeping her at home, but she shows them that standing together makes all of us stronger.

Written by author and actor Doua Moua, who played Po in Disney’s live-action Mulan, this picture book provides an inspiring look at the value of allyship and solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

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Interest Level Kindergarten - Grade 3
Reading Level Grade 2
Genre Picture Books
Category Diverse Books: Celebrating Differences , Diverse Books: #OwnVoices, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: D Relationship Skills, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2022
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Books ®
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2022-04-05
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV039220, JUV039120, JUV039180
Dewey [E]
Dimensions 10.625 x 8.875
Lexile 530
Guided Reading Level N
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Original artwork, and Reviewed

Author: Doua Moua

Doua Moua is an actor and writer based in Los Angeles, California. Moua recently played Chien Po in Disney's live-action remake of Mulan. As a writer, he has received recognition for his movie script The Harvest on the Cape List/ Black List, a We Screenplay Finalist, and an Academy Nicholl Fellowship Semi-Finalist. Today Is Different is his debut picture book.

Illustrator: Kim Holt

Kim Holt is an artist and children's book illustrator. Her passion for art and drawing started at an early age, fueled by her family's love for the arts. She received her BBA in Marketing from Howard University and her BFA in Animation from the Academy of Art University. Her goal as an artist is to create images that bring back memories and create pictures that make children wish they were inside the scenes. She lives in Maryland with her family.


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  • Social Justice Literature Award, Winner, 2023
  • Malka Penn Award for Human Rights in Children's Literature Honor Book, Commended, 2023
  • Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Nominee, Nominated, 2023
  • Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature Best Books of the Year List, Winner, 2022
  • Gold House Book Club Book, Winner, 2022


Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

“Children can feel overwhelmed by acts of injustice; this book provides a good place to start figuring out how to help. An excellent discussion-starter for a family or a classroom.”—Children’s Literature


“[O]ffers a reassuring and relatable narrative for kids who have been confused by recent news coverage.”—Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“Moua positively portrays a cross-cultural friendship and explores how racial violence impacts children. . . . An important story about how marginalized groups can work together for social justice . . .”—Kirkus Reviews

Alan Page

Today Is Different speaks to overcoming fears, the importance of coming together as community, and the strength derived from young people being engaged, and I highly recommend it.” —Alan Page, author, retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice, and retired NFL player

Bao Phi

“[W]ritten with both nuance and directness by Doua Moua, and beautifully illustrated by Kim Holt, Today is Different adds to a very necessary conversation we should all be having.” —Bao Phi, author of A Different Pond

Carole Boston Weatherford

“With simple yet poignant prose, Today Is Different fosters compassion and connection among young readers.” —Carole Boston Weatherford, author of Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre and Newbery Honor-winning book Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom