Today Is Different

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Buy on
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 05 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 30 Apr 2022
Lerner Publishing Group, Carolrhoda Books ®

Talking about this book? Use #TodayIsDifferent #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Mai, a young Hmong girl, and Kiara, a young Black girl, are best friends. They do everything together—riding the bus, eating lunch, playing at recess. But one day Kiara misses school and Mai goes looking for answers. When she learns that her best friend is protesting an act of police violence against the Black community, Mai decides to join the protest too. Her parents at first want to protect her by keeping her at home, but she shows them that standing together makes all of us stronger.

Mai, a young Hmong girl, and Kiara, a young Black girl, are best friends. They do everything together—riding the bus, eating lunch, playing at recess. But one day Kiara misses school and Mai goes...

Advance Praise

"Today Is Different speaks to overcoming fears, the importance of coming together as community, and the strength derived from young people being engaged, and I highly recommend it. This is what changing the future looks like." —Alan Page, author, retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice, and retired NFL player

"[W]ritten with both nuance and directness by Doua Moua, and beautifully illustrated by Kim Holt, Today is Different adds to a very necessary conversation we should all be having." —Bao Phi, author of A Different Pond

"With simple yet poignant prose, Today Is Different fosters compassion and connection among young readers." —Carole Boston Weatherford, author of Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre and Newbery Honor-winning book Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom

"Today Is Different speaks to overcoming fears, the importance of coming together as community, and the strength derived from young people being engaged, and I highly recommend it. This is what...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781728430294
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)

Average rating from 46 members

Featured Reviews

In this picturebook we follow a young girl named Mai throughout her day as she wonders where her friend Kiara is. Kiara is young black girl which plays into Mai learning more about the injustices Black people face in the world today. This is an crucial thing every kid should learn about which is why this book is so important as well. The art was very nice as well and fit the story overall.

Was this review helpful?

This book deals with the topic of racial injustice and the black lives matter movement from a child's perspective. It shows that these topics can be talked about with younger kids and not be unsaid. The colors are vibrant and add great imagery to the text. The author provides a blurb and the end that talks about that they got inspiration to write the book based on the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis MN. This book struck an emotional cord as I loved through the protests as I live near Minneapolis amd have visited George Floyd Square.

Given an eARC for an honest review of the book.

Was this review helpful?

I have not read a children's book like this, from a contemporary Hmong perspective, and it's about time. A young Hmong girl learns about the Black Lives Matter and wants to help out her Black friend. I really liked this, and I can see using this in my elementary school classroom. We have many Hmong families in our areas, and I want the Hmong children to have a "mirror" book to see themselves.

Was this review helpful?

Wow, this book was amazing. As a mother and minority, we have faced many struggles over the years and we have always talked to our girls about what is going on in the world and in our country. My oldest is 5 and understands the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and why it is needed. This book was able to bring new questions and discussions for us to have as we read through it. Not only did we have more in depth conversations about why some groups are targeted but we also learned more about the Hmong culture and how they can relate to the BLM movement. This pictures throughout the book also showed people from all backgrounds and we were able to talk more about what she was seeing and I listened to her thoughts. This is a book will we need in our house once it comes out. Thank you Netgalley and Lerner Publishing Group for this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

A well written book that sparks meaningful conversation for young learners. Doua’s story is written in a gentle yet realistic tone that opens a doorway for educators to talk to the students about difficult circumstances unfolding in the community around them. A must-have in your school library!

Was this review helpful?

Wow. This is such an important book that I think is necessary in the world we live in. Mai notices that her friend Kiara, who is Black, is not around at the bus stop or at school as normal. She doesn't understand where her friend is and struggles to get a concrete answer. There is a beautiful relationship between Mai and her older brother, Tou, who then helps her understand racism and injustice in an incredibly simple way. Tou helps Mai make a sign to take out to a protest, joining her Kiara and her family. It is imperative that we teach children early about racism and injustice so that future generations are tolerant and accepting. Books like this are necessary in our current political climate. I loved that this book framed the difficult subject matter in a way that would be easy for children to understand. I would absolutely recommend this book.

Was this review helpful?

Today Is Different tells the story of a Hmong girl, Mai, who misses her best friend at school and finds out she is protesting with her family. She joins the protest in support of her friend and recognizes the importance of supporting all marginalized communities and not just her own. I liked the simplicity of the story, which makes it a good introduction for young children on why we protest and why we should support other families even if our own is safe. A glossary of terms and additional ways to be an ally are included. The illustrations were well done and appropriate for the story.

Was this review helpful?

What a powerful way to bring light to something so important. Children need to be taught about the world and how they can make a difference at a young age. This story does a good job of showing differences and similarities between races. It shows the commonalities of families from different backgrounds; parents want to protect their children for as long as they can. It shows that difficult conversations need to occur and only make us stronger.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you NetGalley and Learner Publishing Group for an advanced copy.

Mai is a young person who begins to notice different things about her family, s community, and school. Mai’s friend Kiana is missing and there is a scene where Mai’s parents are boarding up their windows in preparation for something Mai isn’t able to explain.

Written by a Hmong author with a short biography at the end of the book, an excellent resource for uplifting other voices. I plan on purchasing this when it releases to address activism in my classroom. Concepts are complex, but this book starts the conversation of activism and uplifting others as a natural action.

Was this review helpful?

This book was amazing. The author really caught the nuances of being a child during this time. I would highly recommend reading this book to introduce the idea of injustice and protesting to children. Was written in an age appropriate way and would be a great starting point for parents who aren’t sure where to start when discussing prejudice and injustice to young children.

Was this review helpful?

The book follows a young girl navigating a difficult topic and reality in our world. It was not sugar-coated; it was beautifully layout, easy for kids to understand, and complex enough for them to ask questions. As an early educator, I am moved by many books, but not like I was with this one! The writing is easy to understand for anyone three-plus, in my opinion. The metaphors are ones my kids would understand and would stick with them. I highly recommend this book to all educators and all parents! Thank you to the author for writing this!

Was this review helpful?

This book is a great introduction to a child's ability to protest, and their right to be educated about racism and inequality. It highlights the experience of a child who is a POC and also respects the differences that she experiences from her friends. I would definitely recommend this for a young child learning about race.

Was this review helpful?

This book is such an amazing and necessary piece of children’s literature. It should be on the shelf of every school library and in every classroom. A story of activism, learning about racism, and what it means to stand for the greater good. Highly recommend.

Was this review helpful?

#TodayisDifferent by Doua Moua is a poignant and beautifully written picture book that explains to children in a way they can understand why we should stand together for human rights. A story of two friends who do everything together except for this day. Alone to gone throughout her day one friend is united at the end with the other as they stand for Black lives. A story about parents who want to protect their daughter but realize protecting their daughter means standing as people of color with other fighting for basic human rights. Reading this to my ten year old creating a great family discussion. This book is a great way to usher in Black History Month. Thank you to #NetGallery for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Any time I get to read and learn about another culture I am thrilled. That I got to do that in a picture book, I am awed. What a great cross-cultural book about the intersection of two marginalized communities and how they came together during a national tragedy. The way the parents wanted to shelter the daughter was real. The back matter in this book is exceptional. This will be a welcome and diverse addition to all collections. I know I'll be purchasing it for our branches!

Was this review helpful?

A lovely book that explains solidarity in the "Black Lives Matter" movement and addresses how non-Black people can support them in the face of injustice. Deals with a sensitive matter in a way that children can understand, and also showcases that children frequently know what is right and how to act with courage, and that adults can learn from their example. Definitely recommended.

Was this review helpful?

A wonderful story to explain protesting against injustice to young kids, and for parents of young kids. It helps them see why standing together is needed, and why parents might be hesitant, but ultimately need to help their kids understand what is happening in the world they're growing up in. Just because it's a complex situation doesn't mean there needs to be a complex explanation, and this book is a great simple explanation.
I also don't think I've read a book before with Hmong representation, so that was lovely and refreshing, and it helps kids to understand things when it can be related back to their own lives, which is what Mai's brother did in this story.

Was this review helpful?

Today is Different is about a Mai who notices that one day her friend, Kiara is missing from school whom she does everything with. Mai also notices that there are many poeple missing from her community, she also notices something that she has not seen before - people holding signs and her parents covering the windows.

With many social issues, this book does a wonderful job with exposing this national issue in a way that many young children would understand. The illustrations are well done and have connections to the community as the messages that are the signs are similar to the ones that we have seen in our nation. In regards to the writing of this book, it is easy for young children to understand. There is also a glossary in the back with additional word that one might hear regarding this social issue. Lastly, I think that this book should be one that every teacher has in their classroom for their students.

I look forward to purchasing this book to my book collection. Many thanks to the aurthor, publisher, and NetGallery for an advanced copy for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Today is Different is a beautifully illustrated and moving explanation of the importance of protest as civic duty, solidarity, and collective action. It offers an empathetic explanation of the Summer 2020 protests with Black Lives Matter for both young children and their parents. I especially appreciate that the book acknowledges grown up's concerns over how to tell their kids about difficult issues, such as racism and police brutality, while also portraying how unsettling adults' uncertainty in these events can be for kids. Ultimately, this book upholds' kids empathy and desire to help as admirable traits, emphasizing that children are more capable to handle difficult events than some adults might want to give them credit for, culminating in a compelling portrayal of the power of collective action.

Was this review helpful?

This is an excellent book to introduce complicated topics like protest, allyship, and injustice to elementary kids. It could be a wonderful conversation-starter. Mai is confused when her friend Kiara isn't at school one day, and even more confused to see protesters and hear her parents talk in hushed tones about things she doesn't quite understand. As she notices and listens more, she wonders how to take action. With the help of her brother, she comes up with a plan and learns about the power of showing up.

This story addresses very difficult topics in a way that kids can relate to. The illustrations are bold and vivid and really help bring the story to life. The overall messages about the power of standing together and the duty of everyone to right injustice are powerful. Kids hear more and pick up on more than we think, and they are also capable of understanding more than we give them credit for. This book is a great tool to tap into that!

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review!

Was this review helpful?

People tend to indiscriminate against others because they are different in terms of their culture, skin and nationality.

The illustrator gives the reader Asian and Black characters to begin with, as we all know Asians and Blacks are the common victims of discrimination having them as the main characters emphasizes the strong feelings that the author wants to tell to the world. The unfair treatment, the disrespect and the worry people affected feel about it.

It also says that we should not be afraid to express and fight for our rights, we may be different, but if we fight together it can make a difference.

Was this review helpful?

THIS is a really great book for kids who are just learning about social injustice and what it means to stand up for those around you, including all those that don't look like you do.

Set in the time of the George Floyd killing, this is the story of two girls, one Hmong and one Black and how the young Hmong girl learns what is happening in her community and how she can be brave and march with her friend and support her and Black Lives and how her bravery shows her parent's she isn't too young to learn about what is happening in our world today.

This is a really magnificent book and will help parents and caregivers start that conversation with their kids about what social injustice is and how we ALL can make a stand for good. Very well done.

Thank you to NetGalley, Doua Moua, Kim Holt [Illustrator] and Lerner Publishing Group/Carolrhoda Books for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Today Is Different is also very different as a whole from many of the cultural diversity books I have read.

I liked how instead of immediately showing a whole community rallying together in support of an important movement there was build up and uncertainty. Mai, the main character in this story, doesn’t immediately understand what is going on or her importance in the community. Her parents are concerned and do not want to participate in the protests in an effort to stay safe. This is a very real inner conflict many people have recently found themselves having and can relate to. Mai and her brother use their own passion and courage to inspire their parents and get the whole family out for the occasion.

This is an excellent story to start powerful discussions and teach others how they can make an impact no matter what their background is.

Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for allowing me to read and review this wonderful story.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: