It’s been two years since author Kao Kalia Yang wrote her first book. Her memoir begins in the 1970’s during the aftermath of America’s Secret War in Laos. Yang recounts her family’s narrow escape into Thailand, where she was born in Ban Vinai Refugee Camp. Six years later the family immigration to America, where they faced challenges of adapting to a new place, home and language.
Yang presented her book, The Latehomecomer, to students, staff and other community members last Monday night in the Performing Arts Center at Buffalo High School. Her story teaches the reader that “life will teach you the strength of the human heart,” and that “the flesh can take blows, while the heart suffers them.” She also focused on the importance of education, and how learning is “when curiosity connects with care.”
The Community Book Read went from 4-7pm. Participants engaged in small group discussions, listened to Yang present The Latehomecomer, and watched The Cultures United group give a Hmong fashion show and arts entertainment. This was the fifth-annual Community Book Read. Kao Kalia Yang is the first female and first Hmong author to present. The Latehomecomer is available at Buffalo Books and Coffee, Book Break, Buffalo Public Library, and the BHS Media Center.
“Writing involves playing with the past, piecing together the future,” Yang writes in The Latehomecomer, ” – striving in the present to understand and realize the pieces that make us who we are.”