Nguyen, Trung Le. Magic Fish, The. Trung Le Nguyen, Illus. Graphic novel. Random, 10/2020. 256pp. $23.99, 978-0-5931-2529-8, PLB $26.99, 978-1-9848-5160-4, PB $16.99, 978-1-9848-5159-8. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 7-11.
Thirteen-year-old Tiến lives with his Vietnamese immigrant parents in the Midwest. He and his mother Helen read fairy tales together to help bridge the gap between their primary languages—English for him, Vietnamese for her. Tiến is gay and wants to come out to his mother but can’t find the right words in Vietnamese. When Tiến is outed, stories provide a way for them to communicate what they need to and, most importantly, express their love. The lush line art in this graphic novel is stunning, powerfully expressing both the fantasy of the stories and the reality of Tiến and his family’s lives. The back matter is rich, full of details on the influences for the style of settings and characters in this lovely, heartwarming story.
Carla Riemer, Independent