Tiến loves his family and his friends…but Tiến has a secret he's been keeping from them, and it might change everything. An amazing YA graphic novel that deals with the complexity of family and how stories can bring us together.
Real life isn't a fairytale.
But Tiến still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It's hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tiến, he doesn't even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he's going through?
Is there a way to tell them he's gay?
A beautifully illustrated story by Trung Le Nguyen that follows a young boy as he tries to navigate life through fairytales, an instant classic that shows us how we are all connected. The Magic Fish tackles tough subjects in a way that accessible with readers of all ages, and teaches us that no matter what—we can all have our own happy endings.
Ti n Phong, 12, who "speak mostly English," and his mother, Hi n, a refugee who "speak mostly Vietnamese," have long read fairy tales together to bolster Hi n's English. Ti n cherishes this bonding activity, as his mother works long hours as a seamstress. Despite her busy schedule, though, she dreams of taking her son to her hometown in Vietnam to meet her mother. Meanwhile, Ti n struggles to discuss his sexuality with his parents ("The librarian and I couldn't find the word for it in Vietnamese") and navigate his feelings for male best friend Julian, even with the encouragement of best friend Claire. Alternating between Ti n and Hi n, the narrative intertwines Western and Vietnamese fairy tales, including "T m C m" "our Cinderella' " and a nuanced retooling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid." Detailed illustrations rendered in split complementary colors cleverly distinguish each story line. Nguyen's poignant debut captures the perspectives of, and essence of the bond between, a parent and child, proving that language and love can transcend words. Back matter includes author's notes that delve into personal inspiration, the interplay between immigration stories and fairy tales, and contextualize the illustrations. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 12 up. \n