The book is illustrated by Thi Bui, also born in Vietnam and raised in the U.S.
Both of them joined host Marianne Combs to discuss why they felt this story needed to be told, and the process of telling it.
Phi told Combs that he was contacted by Capstone Publishing after he wrote a review for the children's book, "Here I Am" which he and his daughter loved. Capstone asked Phi if he'd ever written a children's or young adult book and that's where "A Different Pond" got its start.
Phi credits Capstone with recognizing the importance of diversifying the authors it supports.
He, Bui and Combs were joined by Sarah Park Dahlen, Ph.D., to talk about diversifying children's books, why it's important and how it can bring about books like "A Different Pond." Park Dahlen is a library sciences associate professor at St. Catherine University.
Dahlen said that the good news is that publishers are taking note of the lack of diversity in children's literature, but there's still work to be done. She recommended the following resources for finding books from authors of different backgrounds:
• Black feminist and writer Zetta Elliot's blog
• Librarian Edith Campbells blog
• The blog, American Indians in Children's Literature written by Debbie Reese.
• The Saint Paul Public Library produced books because of the lack of children's books in the Karen language to serve the city's growing Karen population.
• Social Justice Books, a project of Teaching for Change, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide teachers and parents with the tools to create schools where students learn to read, write and change the world.
• Latinxs in Kid Lit, a website focused on Latino works in young adult and children's literature
• GayYA.org, a website focused on LGBTQ topics in young adult literature.
• The Brown Bookshelf, a website designed to highlight black voices writing for young readers.
• Talk Story a literacy program focused on Asian Pacific American and American Indian/Alaska Native through books, oral traditions, and art.
• We Need Diverse Books, a nonprofit aiming to increase access to books featuring diverse characters.
• The Schneider Family Book Award honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for children and adolescents.
• Disability in Kidlit is focused on discussing the portrayal of disability in middle grade and young adult literature
• Salaam Reads, an imprint providing Muslim children and families a positive reflection in published works.
• Bharat Babies, a publisher with developing children's books focused on Indian heritage.
Correction (Feb. 26, 2018): An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Debbie Reese, the article has been updated.