The Day I Woke Up Different is a book that resonated with me on many levels, one that shines a light on the complexity of my own childhood upbringing. The story begins with our hero, Anh, who embarks on a journey of finding acceptance of his culture. As his curiosity draws him near to developing insight about his Vietnamese identity, Anh encounters external forces that pressured him to assimilate into a homogenous American culture. Yet, Anh finds solace in his quest for authenticity when he meets Quyền, a high-spirited dark-skinned Vietnamese gal, who helped bridge the gap between his Vietnamese and American duality.
What I love so much about this book is how both text and illustration are rendered beautifully with a fluid momentum. The words and drawings are both simple and yet complicated, as they carry the weight of cultural self-acceptance that many ethnic minorities, like myself can relate to. This book is truly a memoir that meditates on the importance of diversity, cultural uniqueness, and most importantly.... self-compassion.
The Day I Woke Up Different is an important children's book of our time and to our future generations.