This book will make you feel, many different feelings. It is filled with poetry and a short essay about the poem on the facing page. There are two or three questions at the bottom of each essay that encourage digging deeper … into your own experience.
I admire Janet Wong for the books she writes, and the work she does with children and the children’s literature community, and the publishing company she founded, Pomelo Books.
This book is for everyone. It is about Janet’s life, growing up the daughter of an American-born father of Chinese forebears and a mother born in Korea. She and her family have experienced racism and that is a facet of the poems and essays. Much of it is about everyday life, birthday parties and grandparents and visiting sick people and art contests and dogs and funerals … experiences and relationships so many of us have in common.
It’s also about specific experiences that people with cultural traditions that might differ from our own can enjoy learning. I like that aspect of the book very much because then I can feel a connection, knowing that we are different in our backgrounds but alike in our wishes and dreams.
At the end of “The Visit,” a poem about a parent leaving, and the accompanying essay about Janet’s father traveling for work and eventually divorcing her mother, these questions are asked:
What do you worry about?
What can you tell your worrying self?
Is there anyone who needs your help?
You deserve this book. Your classroom and your library need this book. For a group or an individual, there are so many ways to appreciate this book and find it useful, helpful. A conversation starter, yes, but also a meditation. And the poetry is masterful.
Good Luck Gold & more
written by Janet Wong
Yuzu, an imprint of Pomelo Books, 2022
ages 10 through adult