Wishes (Hardcover)

Wishes By Muon Thi Van, Victo Ngai (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Muon Thi Van, Victo Ngai (Illustrator)
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May/June 2021 Kids Indie Next List

“Wishes turns a heart-wrenching tale into a beautiful story of hope and perseverance. Muon Thi Van uses his signature lyrical style to narrate one Vietnamese family's immigration story as they search for a new home. When accompanied by Victo Ngai's gorgeous artwork, this tale becomes a treasure for the home and library.”
— Laura Graveline, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX


An arresting, poetic journey and a moving reflection on immigration, family, and home, from an acclaimed creative team.

Wishes tells the powerful, honest story about one Vietnamese family's search for a new home on the other side of the world, and the long-lasting and powerful impact that makes on one of the youngest members of the family. Inspired by actual events in the author's life, this is a narrative that is both timely and timeless. Told through the eyes of a young girl, the story chronicles a family's difficult and powerful journey to pack up what they can carry and to leave their world behind, traveling to a new and unknown place in a crowded boat. With sparse, poetic, and lyrical text from acclaimed author Mượn Thị Văn, thoughtful back matter about the author's connection to the story, and luminous, stunning illustrations from Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree Victo Ngai, Wishes tells a powerful and timely story in a gentle and approachable way for young children and their families.

Wishes is a must-have book for every child's bookshelf.

About the Author

Mượn Thị Văn loves to read books of all shapes and sizes. She first began reading yellow-spined hardbacks about a certain girl detective before graduating to longer novels and then picture books (it’s true, she doesn’t remember reading picture books as a young child). So few books reflected her formative experiences, though, that she desired to bring new and different stories into the world.

From her New York Times acclaimed debut, In a Village by the Sea, illustrated by April Chu, Mượn's books have received many distinctions, including a Northern California Book Award, a Golden Kite Award, a New York Public Library Best Book, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and an Irma Black Honor Award.

When she's not writing, Mượn likes to roam the forests of California with her family. Visit her online at www.muonthivan.com.

Victo Ngai is a Forbes 30 Under 30 (Art and Style) honoree and Society of Illustrators New York Gold Medalist. She provides illustrations for newspaper and magazines such as the New York Times and the New Yorker; creates storyboards and art for animations with studios like NBC and Dreamworks; and makes books for publishers such as Scholastic, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster. She lives in Los Angeles. Visit Victo at victo-ngai.com.

Praise For…

A Junior Library Guild selection

Praise for Wishes:

★ "The collaboration between text and illustration is impressive; Văn’s lyrical and poetic writing gently propels the story forward, while Ngai’s honest and detailed pictures depict the heartbreaking reality of separation and extend the tale beyond its words." —The Horn Book, starred review

★ "A seamless interweaving of elegant prose and atmospheric art marks this affecting immigrant narrative." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

★"This story of escape makes refugees’ experiences more lucid and will summon deep feeling from readers." —Booklist, starred review

★"A superb, beautifully moving collaboration of text and illustration." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This rich and nuanced tale illuminates the closely held wishes of refugees the world over. It’s unforgettable." — BookPage, starred review

"The author's choice of narrators elicits a surprising wealth of emotion, evoking distinct and tactile sensations of hardship, perseverance and hope upon arriving at a new shore. The understated wording is enhanced by the art of Victo Ngai (illustrator of Dazzle Ships), which is stylized though realistic, in a lush subdued palette." — Shelf Awareness, starred review

"The personal story combined with the pitch perfect storytelling and jaw-dropping art means that this book is special. Its story may be set in the past, but its message cannot age or decay. Find a child, read it to them, and count yourselves lucky that both they and you have been allowed to experience this story together." — Elizabeth Bird, School Library Journal's A Fuse #8 Production

"A poignant, poetic ode...hopeful and moving picture book." —Parents Magazine

"Beautifully illustrated, a book like WISHES gives your deepest sorrows, biggest fears, and dearest hopes a magic container, one you can slide across the table or open together in bed, and let it speak volumes for you in just a few words." — Thi Bui, author of National Book Award winner The Best We Could Do and illustrator of Caldecott Honor winner A Different Pond

“A gorgeous story capturing the refugee immigrant experience.” — Kelly Yang, New York Times bestselling author of the Front Desk series

"A heart-wrenching journey captured via the wishes of the light, the night, a dream, the sea, and more. A universal story of leaving and arriving and remembering, illuminated by wistful and lush illustrations. Most ancestors have taken this journey during one century or another. WISHES encapsulates our commonality, our humanity, our wish for safety for ourselves and our families.” —Pam Muñoz Ryan, author of Mañanaland and the Newbery Honor Book, Echo.

“WISHES is an exquisite and emotive offering that deepens our understanding of migration. Van and Ngai together have given the world a luminescent story of human longing for safety and home.” — Aida Salazar, author of the NCTE Notable Poetry and Verse Novel Award winner, The Moon Within and Jane Addams Peace Award finalist, The Land of Cranes

“It is incredible how you can say so much with so little. Like a perfect marriage, the words and pictures of WISHES complete each other, bringing the reader along an epic journey full of experiences and emotions within just 17 spreads and 75 words. I was immediately moved to tears. —Yuko Shimizu, illustrator of the Caldecott Honor Book, The Cat Man of Aleppo

“Powerful, hopeful, and timely.” —The Fan Brothers, creators of The Night Gardener and When Ocean Meets Sky

“This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever seen. A masterpiece." — Jessica Love, creator of the Stonewall Book Award winner, Julián is a Mermaid

“My heart was with this refugee family through every stunningly illustrated page. By sharing one child's simple, vital wish for safety and compassion, WISHES reminds us of our common humanity.” — Christina Soontornvat, Newbery Honor winning-author of A Wish in the Dark

“With spare, ‘packs-a-punch’ text and lush illustrations, this journey of leaving home to begin anew nearly took my breath away.” — Tami Charles, New York Timesbestselling author of All Because You Matter

Product Details
ISBN: 9781338305890
ISBN-10: 1338305891
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Pages: 40
Language: English