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A Different Pond

Last updated Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Author: Bao Phi
Illustrator: Thi Bui
Date of Publication: 2017
ISBN: 1623708036
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2018

Synopsis: A Different Pond is an unforgettable story about a simple event - a long-ago fishing trip. Graphic novelist Thi Bui and acclaimed poet Bao Phi deliver a powerful, honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son - and between cultures, old and new. As a young boy, Bao and his father awoke early, hours before his father's long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao's father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. Thi Bui's striking, evocative art paired with Phi's expertly crafted prose has earned this powerful picture books six starred reviews and numerous awards.

Note to readers:
•  A quick read with lots of visuals.
•  May be a sensitive topics toward some individuals.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Did anyone go on a trip with their parents? Where and what did you do?
•  Looking at the cover of the book, what do you think the story is going to be about?
•  Does anyone know what a pond is? Have you ever been to one?


•  Pond: Body of water that is small than a lake.
•  Refugees: A person who is forced to leave their country to escape war.
•  Minnows: Small freshwater fish.
•  Callouses: Part of the skin that is exposed to friction. The hard part of the skin.
•  Freckles: Small brownish spots on the skin.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why do you think "dad" has to wake up early in the morning to fish?
•  Is there an instance where you helped your parents? What did you do?
•  Do you remember a moment where your family gathered for dinner? What did you guys eat?
•  What do you think is the lesson for the story?

Craft ideas:
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!
•  Build a fishing rod.
•  Either draw or make a fish.
•  Write an appreciation card for your parents.

Special activities:
•  Play a game of charades with your dream jobs.
•  Show and tell of your parents occupation.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!