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Children's Fiction Diversity & Multicultural

The Words We Share

by (author) Jack Wong

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2023
Diversity & Multicultural, Emigration & Immigration, Asian American, General
Recommended Age
4 to 7
Recommended Grade
p to 2
Recommended Reading age
4 to 7
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


“A gift—honoring multitudes of identities, languages, and power.” —Dane Liu, author of Friends Are Friends, Forever


A young girl helps her dad navigate life in a new country where she understands the language more than he does, in an unforgettable story about communication and community.

Angie is used to helping her dad. Ever since they moved to Canada, he relies on her to translate for him from English to Chinese. Angie is happy to help: when they go to restaurants, at the grocery store, and, one day, when her dad needs help writing some signs for his work.

Building off her success with her dad’s signs, Angie offers her translation skills to others in their community. She’s thrilled when her new business takes off, until one of her clients says he’s unhappy with her work. When her dad offers to help, she can’t imagine how he could. Working together, they find a surprising solution, fixing the problem in a way Angie never would have predicted.

A gorgeously illustrated picture book from up-and-coming author-illustrator Jack Wong (When You Can Swim, Scholastic) that is at once a much-needed exploration of the unique pressures children of immigrants often face, a meditation on the dignity of all people regardless of their differences, and a reminder of the power of empathy.

About the author

JACK WONG (黃雋喬) was born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver, BC. He left a career as a bridge engineer to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts at NSCAD University in Kjipuktuk/Halifax, NS. All That Grows owes to all of the above — to taking a leap to learn new things, and to the sanctuary of big neighborhood walks in a small city, especially during the first spring of the pandemic when the seeds of this book were planted. Jack is also the creator of When You Can Swim (Boston Globe–Horn Book Award).

Jack Wong's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This lovely book about a hardworking Chinese Canadian father, and the daughter who helps him by translating English, is exactly the type of book I wished existed when I was a kid. So many immigrant and refugee kids will be able to relate to this story about assisting their parents with a new language. Beautifully written and illustrated by Jack Wong, the characters feel unique, but easily relatable. I am so glad this book exists in the world."

Bao Phi, Zolotow Medal and Caldecott Honor-award winning author of A Different Pond and You Are Life

"The Words We Share is a tender story of a father and his daughter—newcomers to Canada—and how each must hold the mantle of language for the other in an expression of love. It is a reminder of how home is not bound by the languages around us but the currents that flow within.”

Kao Kalia Yang, author of From the Tops of the Trees

"The rich layers of this heartwarming story will resonate with all immigrants and their children. As a daughter who also translated for her parents, this book made me feel seen and cherished as part of a community."

Andrea Wang, Newbery Honoree and author of Watercress

"The Words We Share is an important story, a needed story, a timeless story. Once upon a time, I was Angie. After my family and I moved to North America, my English skills quickly eclipsed my parents’. The Words We Share makes the younger me feel seen, and I know many readers today will feel seen, too. The Words We Share is a gift—honoring multitudes of identities, languages, and power.”

Dane Liu, author of Friends Are Friends, Forever

The Words We Share is a sweet father-daughter tale featuring communication, miscommunication, and a cross-generational moment of understanding bound to have a wide appeal.”

Sara O’Leary, author of A Kid is a Kid is a Kid

“A terrifically written and beautifully illustrated exploration of how immigrant families and communities rely on one another to traverse language barriers. The Words We Share reminds us that kindness for our neighbors and love between family are commonalities that require no interpretation.”

Julie Leung, author of Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist

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