Lost & Found: Based on a True Story

Union Square Kids & Co. Apr. 2024. 128p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781454945475; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781454952640.
Gr 1-4–Leaving China for Canada initially sounds like a grand adventure, one that Mei is excited to go on with her parents. Joining them is her trusty toy cat Meiow, who is sometimes illustrated as a realistic talking cat that can interact with Mei and help analyze what is happening around her. Mei brims with hope and curiosity, until her family arrives in Canada and she quickly realizes that the changes are more drastic than she imagined. With uncertainty comes fear, and now every new experience is something to be dreaded. In a new school, with a new language, new kids, and new foods, Mei is overwhelmed. When her dad gives her a sketchbook, she finally has a way to process and learn some English words, though she’s still stressed over how others perceive her. Much of the book is filled with cute, bubbly, vibrant artwork that becomes muted and often exaggerated to depict the fears plaguing Mei. Known words are quickly established to be in black, whereas unknown words (English) are in green, helping delineate what Mei actually understands. Yu’s fictionalized biographical immigration story highlights perseverance and creative problem solving. The “Note to Readers,” author’s note, and bonus story are fantastic additions.
VERDICT Highly recommended.

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