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A Place to Grow

Written by Soyung Pak

Illustrated by Marcelino Truong

A moving tribute to the love and courage of our immigrant families. We are a nation of immigrants. At one time the ancestors of each and every one of us made a decision to leave the place they called home and start again somewhere new. And at one time within each family, must have come the question, “why?”

In Soyung Pak’s sensitive dialogue, a father explains to his daughter that a family is like a seed, and that a seed needs a place to grow. A safe place, a place where it can get what it needs to flourish:


A seed needs rain to grow. The rain that fell on our seed came only now and then, and sometimes not at all. Instead of overflowing lakes and ponds, the dryness withered all the plants. That is what it is like when there are too many workers and not enough work. A place like that is no place to grow a flower.

Here is a book that we all need to read. Because we all need A Place to Grow.

Reviews and Awards

“A simple story can sometimes grow into many compound emotions, like the delicate complexity of a flower. And in the hands of both an author and an illustrator with an Eastern orientation, subtle exchanges bloom into explanations of family, current events, and the natural world, enriching perceptive young readers who would spend the time to pore over the integral pictures and text.… The simple, excellent design melds both image and text to bring a rich harvest on many different levels, like a Koan or haiku. World migration is becoming more of an issue; family survival always has been; and children's worldliness today requires sophisticated metaphors to assuage anxieties. Perhaps in a small way here is a large contribution.” - Kirkus Reviews

“A little girl and her father are making a new garden, which he presents as a metaphor for their own life: like a seed blown by the wind, they had to fly far over the earth to find a safe place to "grow into our family."… Despite the seriousness of the theme, both the lyrical tone of the language and the interaction between parent and child are gentle and reassuring… [Pak and Truong’s] compact exposition of the stresses that so often propel immigrants from their homelands offers much to discuss.” - The Horn Book

“Lyrical.”School Library Journal

Purchase Options
Amazon • Barnes & Noble

Fall 2002
Picture Book
ISBN: 0-439-13015-8
Price: $16.95/$23.99
Trim Size: 8 1/2" x 11"
Page Count: 32
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Scholastic
Rights Available? no