Wishes is a children’s book written by Muon Thi Van and illustrated by Victo Ngai. It chronicles one family’s migration from Vietnam. It was chosen by children in both the Truro and Provincetown schools as the best book of the year in a mock Caldecott competition organized by the Truro Public Library.
Maggie Hanelt, the youth services librarian there, says she has been highlighting books about refugees. “It’s important for all of us to explore and know these stories,” Hanelt says.
“Wishes is my most personal story yet,” writes author Muon Thi Van on her website. “It is the story that compelled me to write books.”
“The book is about a girl leaving her home, and it’s a true story,” says Beatrice Ferreira of Provincetown, age seven. She first saw the book at her school library. Now she’s paging through it again in the stacks at the Provincetown Public Library.
“Most of the illustrations were made at night,” says Beatrice, opening the book to a page with a portrait of a girl against a starry sky. “In my favorite one there is more than just the sea; birds are there, too, and the family is getting closer to the shore,” Beatrice says.
“The book is sad because a family has to leave their home and relatives,” she adds. But it also inspires thoughts of what might be found in faraway places. “My wish would be to go to Portugal. It’s my favorite country. I love the look of apartment buildings there and the cherry trees are so beautiful.
“I would recommend reading this book,” Beatrice says, “because of the beautiful illustrations that are bright and dark.” —Agata Storer