My Footprints

This book is rich with meaning. A young girl is bullied at school because she is from a Vietnamese-American family with two mothers. Thuy expresses a range of emotions throughout the story and initially does not open up to her moms about her challenges at school. However, when she does, her moms use Vietnamese Mythology to help her find the courage and strength to be proud of who she is. This book is a beautiful reminder that those we love can help us through difficult times and the assistance they provide us can be influenced by culture and beliefs. It also makes visible the diversity that exists within families.
-Dena

Social Justice Standards:

  • Explore the multiple identities of the main character: Student, Vietnamese-American, Child with two Mothers. Analyze the ways Thuy expresses other aspects of her identities through her footprints and mythological creatures: playful, curious, funny, (Identity 3)

  • Social Emotional Learning: Identify the problems and solutions within the plot. Analyze the ways her mothers addresses her social emotional needs. They do not jump to solve her problems or find out who the bullies are. Instead, they slowly help Thuy find the strength and courage to express her own confidence and healthy self-esteem (Identity 4).

  • Analyze what bias is. What are the biases that the bullies have about Thuy and her family? How would you feel if you were Thuy? How would you feel if Thuy was your friend and you saw the bullying happening? How could you be an upstander, instead of a bystander, in the situations? (Action 16)

Relevant Social Justice Standards:

Identity 3. Students will recognize that people’s multiple identities interact and create unique and complex individuals.

Identity 4. Students will express pride, confidence and healthy self-esteem without denying the value and dignity of other people.

Diversity 9. Students will respond to diversity by building empathy, respect, understanding and connection.

Justice 12. Students will recognize unfairness on the individual level (e.g., biased speech) and injustice at the institutional or systemic level (e.g., discrimination).

Action 16. Students will express empathy when people are excluded or mistreated because of their identities and concern when they themselves experience bias.

Reading Strategies:

Imagery: Analyze the imagery and figurative language the author uses such as, "Feels like a sudden snowstorm," and, "her voice is warm like Thuy's favorite blanket..." How does the author create mood and helps us understand or characters better through figurative language.

Metaphors: Thuy explores her emotions by changing her footprints. What do the footprints represent?

Mythology: Thuy's mothers uses Vietnamese mythology to address Thuy's social emotional needs. Connect the ways family relationships and culture can provide us with strength during difficult times.

Book Details:
  • Fiction, All Ages
  • Perspectives: Child with two mothers, Vietnamese-American
  • Author's stated heritage: Vietnamese-American
  • Subject Integration: Social Emotional Learning, Art, Science (weather)

Book covers images are from publishers and in the public domain