Cover Image: Yang Warriors

Yang Warriors

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Member Reviews

I'm not completely into the illustrations, but I did enjoy reading this inspiring story especially since it's the author's own story.
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I think this book broke my heart.  It’s a story a child tells of his older sister and the older kids in the refugee camp, where leaving was not allowed.  The people in this camp were hungry and the older kids took it upon themselves to go find fresh food, even though it led to awful things.  This book is a great lesson, and a needed lesson.  The artwork is unusual but lovingly done.  All together this is a powerhouse book about true superheroes who don’t wear capes.
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This is an interesting moment, a story from a family history. An action taken by children to help one another without self interest. It strikes me, though, that this will be more interesting to adults than to children.
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#YangWarriors #NetGalley
Told from the point of view of the younger sister, who tells of the heroism of her sister and cousins when her Hmong family was in a refugee camp in Thailand. The sister and cousins sneak out of camp to forage for vegetables for their younger siblings and almost get caught by the guards. The elders are mad at the children for the risk they took, but to the younger children they are heroes.
Suitable for lower elementary grades.
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While I was born in the U.S., my family arrived as refugees.  I grew up hearing stories about life in Laos and the refugee camps, a life so vastly different from my own. The perspective of the author at five years old offers a different view of the refugee experience and affords an opportunity for children today to try to understand and possibly to even relate to the children in the book.  Yang crafts an engaging story from memories of her time in Ban Vinai, drawing from the heroism of her older sister Dawb and her cousins. It's a story of brave children in an adverse environment doing their best to survive.  The illustrations were exceptional, helping connect me to my family and the past of my people. I may not have experienced life in Ban Vinai, but the illustrations helped to tie my childhood to the Yang Warriors. It's a heroic story that needs to be shared.  For me, it's the perfect story to create opportunities to help my nieces and nephews begin to understand their roots. (4.5 stars rounded to 5 stars)
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Interesting storyline but the topic felt “heavy for the heart” for children to read. Maybe that’s the point.
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Kao Kalia Yang has put the perfect words together to whisk readers back in time right into her memories. She shares about her young cousins training together each day so they would be ready when needed. They had both physical and mental exercises and their chosen leader was one of the smaller children. He was chosen because he was the most passionate about their training and believed in them the most. He had a heart for everyone and for the work they were doing. One of my favorite illustrations is this tiny boy standing with his hands on his hips. The shadow that he casts is a large one and it is also shaped like the heart motif that is often found in Hmong textiles and jewelry. It's just one of the many wonderful ways Billy Thao's artwork supports the story. 

The Yang Warriors had many reasons to train. There were Thai guards, other children who wanted space in the camp, and there were lonely ghosts. They knew there was danger around them, but they also knew they wanted to be prepared for anything. Young readers will likely connect with these creative and empathic children who did more than simply survive in this challenging situation. They taught each other and challenged each other in many ways. 

As with many of Kao Kalia Yang's stories, readers will also feel the boundless familial love within the words. Several of her adult and children's books are love letters to her grandmother and parents, but with this book, we get to see love for her sister and cousins. 

Yang and Thao each provide wonderful notes at the end of the book that include a little more information about the refugee camp experience and Hmong culture. 

Recommendation: This is truly a book for anyone. It should find a place in any library and I am excited to have it available for my students in the near future.
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I will not state what is already mentioned in the description of the book you can already find online.

I will focus more on the impact this kind of short story had when I first read it since I have read it 3 times until now. The book gives a wonderful and positive message. It gives the “film” of the life in a refugee camp told through the innocence and imagination of a child. These kids passing through harsh times can teach everyone how to surpass fear, how to hope for a better future and how to have confidence and others and share responsibilities with them.
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In Thai Ban Vinai refugee camp 10 Hmong children are lead by 10 yr. Master Me.  He believes the children are fierce fearless warriors and they practice the art of throwing rocks, and run drills to confuse and outsmart the enemy, the armed guards.  Food is scarce so Master Me decides on a mission to find food for the camp, especially the children. Issue driven a a strong message of heroism.
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I received an electronic ARC from University of Minnesota Press through NetGalley.
Beautifully illustrated book that shares the author's reflections on life in the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp. His first memories of superheroes are his sister and cousins who risk their lives to leave the camp and bring food back to starving younger children. This band is led by 10-year old, Master Me, who has this small band of children train every day to strengthen their bodies and minds. 
Yang provides a clear look at how the Hmong were treated and what he learned from his superheroes who risked to provide for others. Powerful memories that some of my readers will relate to as they reflect on their own memories.
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A sweet and inspirational story about a group of kids who use their creativity and bravery to help others in their refugee camp. Where hope is all but lost, this tenacious group of cousins use their "battle training" to get past the guards to find fresh food for the other children and elders. Showing that even young people can make a difference, this Own Voices story will open your heart and mind to the struggles faced by refugees.
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This was a beautiful picture book about a group of children living in a refugee camp in Thailand in the 80s. I only wish this had been longer because I found myself wanting more story!  The illustrations were beautiful and paired well with the text. I thought it was an inspirational story, that even a child can be strong enough to help others. It also shows how quickly children can adapt to change - while the parents are still dealing with the aftermath of war and adjusting to life in the refugee camp, the children are practicing for their own war and making plans to help save their people.

I love reading stories like this and will definitely look for more from this author!
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Interesting picture book about being brave, courageous and resourceful in a refugee camp, based on the author's childhood.
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This is a picture book about resistance, and looking out for your family.

It is also the a picture book about hope, and helping family.

Set in a Thai refugee camp, the story is of a group of children that play at being strong and warriors, and then realize that they need to use those skills to steal food, as the rations are not enough for everyone.

As the author says, they trained for the day when their skills would save them all. And that the most important rolls we give each other are ones we assign ourselves.

Striking story of life as a refugee, and how it is important to look after each other.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an Honest review.
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“Yang Warriors” by Kao Kalia Yang and illustrated by Billy Thao is brought to us by University of Minnesota Press. This story was tough read, not because of how it was written, but because of its history. This was based on real life events beginning in the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp with a group of children. These children modeled for the writer hard work, community, purpose, determination, and sacrifice. Even with these heavy lessons, they still had fun. As an educator, I can see this being put into any conversation about refugee camps. I think it would also be useful whenever our students, or community, is in the midst of something hard to serve as a reminder that we mustn’t give up hope, and we all must stick together.
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Oh boy - this is touching! My rating 4.5.

The Yang warriors are a group of young children in a refugee camp in Thailand. (Ban Vinai camp housed many highland people, known as Hmong, who fled communist rule in Laos from 1975 until 1992.) The conditions in the camp are hard and the families struggle to have enough food to sustain life. The guards are harsh and will punish those who challenge the boundaries of the camp.

The children gather in a quiet, unobtrusive group to meditate and train in practice drills, balancing rocks and wielding branch swords. The children seek to be prepared to act if and when needed to help their families and especially their younger siblings. Having heard of vegetables just beyond the camp, they plan a mission to sneak out and gather those precious greens for their families.

The story is told simply from the view of the author’s memories as a five-year-old seeing the bravery and compassion of her seven-year-old sister and their cousins. The story is poignant, gripping, and heart-wrenching. I found my breath hitching as I read of these sorrowful children. I found the closing message of resourcefulness and hope encouraging (but not enough). I think the message will have to be explained to children. The author's and illustrator's notes add to the work.

The illustrations are by a Hmong American who researched and achieved a style that fits beautifully and enhances the text. The gentle images use vibrant colors and a mystical touch. The story is appropriate to share with children, explaining the struggles of refugee families and what we might be able to do to help others. I plan to purchase the print book to share with my grandchildren.

Source: 2020 NetGalley.
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"Yang Warriors" gave a unique proposition to its young readers ( I would say listeners as the book is for kids) I have selected the book based on the author's profile and the book was a good one.

The author of the book has spent his childhood in the Ban Vinai refugee camp, where they were forced to live in a camp surrounded by soldiers. Here getting proper food was next to impossible, and going out of camp means either death or severe beating. But young kids all under 10 gathered under the leadership of Master Me and decided to go to a nearby field and get some greens. Read the book to know more.

The book helps out kids understands the meaning of poverty and kids living with constant hunger in their stomach. It teaches them why we should respect food. It also teaches them to fight for their rights. 

A wonderful book indeed.
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"Yang Warriors" by Kao Kalia Yang and illustrated by Billy Thao is a beautiful children's picture book about life in refugee camps, based on the author's life. In the Ban Vinai refugee camp in Vietnam, a group of school age Hmong children refugees call themselves the Yang Warriors and train every day to be prepared to protect their family if need arises. While it all looks to be a children's game, when food becomes scarce in the refugee camp, the children decide to sneak out of the refugee camp to look for food for the younger children, even though that means truly risking their own lives. 

Beautifully illustrated by Billy Thao, the story is very moving and depicts how fast some children have to grow up because of events in their lives completely out of their control. It is a great book to read to children in grades 2nd and up, and open a conversation about the refugee experience and the different hardships some children have to face in their lives and how they work to overcome them. Thank you to NetGalley and University of Minnesota Press for a free digital copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Brilliant - with an absolutely beautiful and positive message. A tale of bravery, to help younger ones live fearlessly and take care of one another, and to give older ones hope. 

Refugee children or children going through hard and perilous times would certainly appreciate this book. As an adult reading it, it melted my heart. 

The simple illustrations were wonderful - the story emotionally stirring. 
Every bit of a 5 STAR rating, I wish it could be more!

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC, in exchange for my honest review.
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I am so thankful to be allowed to read this book prepublication. What a beautiful, tragic, hopeful, compassionate, and heartfelt story! It was emotional, but not at all overwhelming for a younger reader. Life in a refugee camp told with childlike innocence and imagination. The young warriors embark on a dangerous mission to go outside the camps boundaries to find fresh vegetables for their family. Knowing there many be consequences, they bravely continue on with their loved ones in mind. A fantastic and inspiring eye opening must read.  I have never read a book where Hmong people were the focus. We need more books like this. There are so many untold stories that need to be heard and seen. The illustrations are lovely and colorful. I would absolutely add this to my children’s bookshelf. I very much hope to see more from the author!
Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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