HMONG ABC

Dia's Story Cloth: the Hmong People's Journey of Freedom

Paperback, 24 pages, 8.5x11, English
by Dia Cha
ISBN: 978-1-880000-63-2
From Publishers Weekly
A folk art masterpiece from a Southeast Asian culture stands at the center of this thoughtful book. Intricately composed, painstakingly stitched by hand, the "story cloth" of the title was created by the author's aunt and uncle, Hmong who fled their native Laos for a refugee camp in Thailand. The story cloth records their experiences-which are also the author's own. Using details from the cloth as illustrations, Cha retells her life story, a meeting of Hmong history and a classic American immigration tale. Now an anthropologist in Colorado, Cha spent her early years during the 1960s in a Hmong village in Laos, where her family worked long days growing rice and corn. War tore the country apart; Cha's father was killed and she and her mother made a dangerous escape to Thailand, emigrating to the United States in 1979. The text is subdued; it is the needlework that drives home the poignancy of this cataclysmic account. For advanced readers, a lengthy afterword, by Joyce Herold, Denver Museum of Natural History's curator of ethnology, sets out historical background and assesses the story cloth as an art form. Ages 6-up. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. 
From Booklist
Gr. 3^-5. Based on a traditional Hmong story cloth, this picture book depicts the story of the author's family. It begins with their ancestors leaving China to settle in Laos and goes on to describe traditional Laotian life; the war between the loyalists and the Communists; the capture of Cha's father, and the remaining family's flight; their years in a refugee camp in Thailand; and finally, their immigration to the U.S. The colorful embroidered pictures illustrating the story are segments of a much larger story cloth, which appears in full on a double-page spread. Extensive notes describe the history and ways of the Hmong people and how their art, combining needlework and storytelling, continues in U.S. An unusual introduction to the Hmong. Carolyn Phelan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.