The Rock in My Throat

$18.99 USD

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A powerful true story about the author's own experiences with selective mutism in school.

At first, no one noticed when I stopped talking at school.

In this moving true story, Kao Kalia Yang shares her experiences as a young Hmong refugee navigating life at home and at school. Having seen the poor treatment her parents received when making their best efforts at speaking English, she no longer speaks at school. Kalia feels as though a rock has become lodged in her throat, and it grows heavier each day. Although the narrative is somber, it is also infused with moments of beauty, love, and hope.

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong American writer, teacher and public speaker. Born in the refugee camps of Thailand to a family that escaped the genocide of the Secret War in Laos, she came to America at the age six. Yang holds degrees from Carleton College and Columbia University. Her work includes creative nonfiction, poetry, and children's books such as A Map into the WorldThe Shared Room, and From the Tops of the Trees. Her work has won numerous awards and recognition including multiple Minnesota Book Awards, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, an ALA Notable Children's Book Award, the 2023 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, Dayton's Literary Peace Prize, and a PEN USA Award in Nonfiction.

Jiemei Lin is an artist born in Hangzhou, China, currently living and working in the Inland Northwest, Washington State. Lin works with both digital media and traditional media to create paintings, murals, and illustrations. Lin's mission as Illustrator is to represent and communicate with all audiences from underrepresented groups in her own visual language. As a public artist, Lin has been designing and executing large-scale public murals in both the pacific and inland Northwest.

"A heartfelt story that teaches children about diversity and reflects difficulties with being different, understood, and accepted."—starred, Booklist

"A nature motif runs throughout the scenes, anchoring the girl in a world that requires no language, just the songs of birds and movement of growth. This is a gorgeous and deeply empathetic look at the refugee experience and what it means to feel truly alone in the world."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Tenderly told in first person, Yang's lyrical autobiographical picture book depicts her childhood struggle with selective mutism. Her descriptions of how selective mutism presents at school are vivid and authentic. . . Lin's earth tones and muted colors reflect Kalia's affinity with the natural world."—The Horn Book Magazine

"Yang traces a Hmong-speaking child's experience of selective mutism. . . Lin's digital illustrations employ scale and perspective to smart effect."—Publishers Weekly

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