Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 3 to 8
- Grade: p to 3
A magical gender variant child brings transformation and change to the world around them thanks to their mother's enduring love.
In the magical time between night and day, when both the sun and the moon are in the sky, a child is born in a little blue house on a hill. And Miu Lan is not just any child, but one who can change into any shape they can imagine. The only problem is they can't decide what to be: a boy or a girl? A bird or a fish? A flower or a shooting star? At school, though, they must endure inquisitive looks and difficult questions from the other children, and have trouble finding friends who will accept them for who they are. But they find comfort in the loving arms of their mother, who always offers them the same loving refrain: "whatever you dream of / i believe you can be / from the stars in the sky to the fish in the sea."
In this captivating, beautifully imagined picture book about gender, identity, and the acceptance of the differences between us, Miu Lan faces many questions about who they are and who they may be. But one thing's for sure: no matter who this child becomes, their mother will love them just the same.
Ages 3 to 8.
About the authors
Kai Cheng Thom is a writer, performance artist, and community healer in Toronto. She is the author of the novel Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl's Confabulous Memoir Metonymy Press), the poetry collection a place called No Homeland (an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book in 2018), and the children's picture book From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, illustrated by Kai Yun Ching and Wai-Yant Li. Her latest book is the essay collection I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl's Notes at the End of the World (an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book in 2020). Kai Cheng won the Writers' Trust of Canada's Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers in 2017.
Kai Yun Ching is a community-based organizer, educator, and illustrator. They are the co-illustrator of the children's picture book From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, and they edited and published Children's Stories, a collection of tales written by children, with the publishing collective Quilted Creatures in 2016.
Wai-Yant Li is a Montreal-based artist who works mainly in making otherworldly ceramics and illustration. For the last thirteen years, they have been presenting and selling their work at craft fairs, galleries, and museums in Canada.
It's important for youngsters questioning their gender to see themselves in literature, and for other kids to see and more or less accept that fluidity. More generally, Mui Lan is always changing, and that sounds like the way all kids should be. -Montreal Review of Books
Miu Lan's tale is a unique, magical take on differences in gender identity and accepting diversity. -Resource Links
This book's themes can resonate with any child who feels excluded (or excludes others) and can also open up conversations about nonbinary gender identities. A relevant tale of love and acceptance that can find a home in any children's collection. -Kirkus Reviews
An exquisitely rendered picture book about gender and identity ... The illustrations, by Wai-Yant Li and Kai Yun Ching, are saturated with colour and sparkling with invention, and Thom's gentle, rhythmic text resonates like a wise old fairy tale that has been told and retold, and like the mother's song, passed down from one generation to the next. -Quill and Quire (STARRED REVIEW)