Northern Lights Book Awards
A Map into the World
Winner of Best Illustrations Category
Author: Kao Kalia Yang
Illustrator: Seo Kim
Carolrhoda Books

Kim is the artist you dream about painting a mural on your child’s bedroom wall. Since that’s probably not going to happen, we are just as happy to look at her work in A Map into the World.

Life is changing for Paj Ntaub, a young Hmong girl. We follow her as she moves into a new house with her parents and grandmother, Tais Tais. Soon after, her twin baby brothers arrive.

Tais Tais knows just how to help her granddaughter cope with all these changes. She shows Paj Ntaub how to connect with the earth by gardening with her, and with the past by hanging a traditional story cloth that shows how the Hmong people arrived in America. It also helps that their elderly neighbors, Bob and Ruth, who sit on a bench in front of their house, are super friendly.

The young girl watches the seasons change and collects bits of the world to share with her brothers. She brings them a leaf in autumn, but Mother says the babies are too small to touch it, and later a ball of snow that melts before they wake up from their nap.

During the winter season, Paj Ntaub hardly sees Bob and Ruth. Then, one day, Ruth passes away. When spring arrives, Paj Ntaub sees Bob sitting on the bench alone. To cheer him up, she draws something on the sidewalk. Just as she tried to bring the world to her brothers, she finds a way to bring it to Bob.

As seasons come and go, Yang gently treats birth and death as natural occurrences. A lovely book about family, neighbors and the world around us. Together, Kim and Yang create a stunning success in A Map into the World.

You can view the full list of Northern Lights Book Award winners here:


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