Tell me, what do you consider being the most beautiful thing?
Is it a palace, an expensive car or maybe a diamond ring?

Kao Kalia Yang shows us that beauty's got nothing to do with what's mentionned above
That it's no matter of money, but simply of being surrounded by family, memories and love

Based on a true story

In this picture book Kao Kalia Yang tells us about her childhood during which there was not much money but an abundance of love.
Along with her grandmother - who had to flee Laos as a Hmong refugee - she forms the protagonist of this true life story.


Although it's commendable that important topics like poverty, Hmong-refugees, … are covered, this has both an up- and a downside.

Because of the large number of topics, none of the themes is discussed in depth. Although that isn't necessary for a children's book, it sometimes results in a lack of background information.
The serious themes are portrayed lifelike, but because of this they may not always be suitable for a younger target group. At least not without the guidance of an adult to provide further clarification.

On the other hand, this book forms a good starter to discover another (and for many people probably an unknown) culture. Especially when a parent or teacher guides the reading.


A lot of Hmong-names are used throughout 'The Most Beautiful Thing'.
Do you want to know the correct pronuncation? Head over to this video where Kao Kalia Yang tells it herself.

For those who are not familiar with the Hmong-people, there are lots of interesting resources on the internet:
- 10 things about Hmong culture, food and language you probably didn't know
- Country of origin - Geography: Laos - History and Politics - Language - Interpersonal relationships - Marriage, Family and Kinship structure - Reproduction - Infancy, Childhood and Socialization - Adolescence, Adulthood and Old Age - …
- Hmong timeline
- …

Kao Kalia Yang

If you're interested in the story of Kao Kalia Yang and her family, then it's highly recommended to listen to her TED-talk The Power in Sharing our Stories!

Khoa Le

Do you want a taste of the drawing style of the illustrator of this book?
She has a website where you can find her portfolio.
Be sure to take a look at the section picture bookpicture book because those pictures really demonstrate her talent for vibrant colour creations!

*Disclaimer: Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this free e-book in exchange for an honest review.

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The Most Beautiful Thing - Kao Kalia Yang
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