Laos – Culture, Traditions and History

Whether it is through biography, autobiography, or historical fiction, books illuminate and enrich the study of historical events. If you have additional books to add to the collection, please contact Erica Swift and Kathleen Watt, Project Coordinators.

Resources - Books

  • The Forbidden Treasure – Author and educator See Lor draws from her Hmong heritage in this folktale that teaches about “kindness, humbleness, and greed.” This timeless tale and beautiful artwork can be enjoyed by all ages.
  • Hmong History – For Young Scholars – Author and educator See Lor presents a brief journey back in time to learn about the Hmong people and their journey to America. Today, Hmong can be found living in many different countries in the world.
  • Jouanah: A Hmong Cinderella – Jewell R. Coburn provides a beautiful Hmong Cinderella-like story appropriate for ages K-3. The story takes place in a peasant village in Southeast Asia.
  • The Latehomecomer – A Hmong Family Memoir – Kao Kalia Yang’s tribute to her grandmother, the remarkable woman whose spirit held them all together in their search for a place to call home, having fled the war-torn jungles of Laos to the overcrowded refugee camps of Thailand and onward to America.
  • Hey, Hmong Girl, Whassup? The Journal of Choua Vang – Leah Rempel uses a journal format to tell the story of a Hmong girl growing up in Minnesota.
  • Across the Mekong River – Winner of three 2013 Independent Book Awards, Elaine Russell’s book recounts one Hmong family’s immigrant experience, including “family love, sacrifice, and the resiliency of the human spirit to overcome tragic circumstances.”
  • Dia’s Story Cloth: The Hmong People’s Journey of Freedom – Dia Cha’s autobiographical story shares her family’s journey, told through the story cloth stitched by her aunt and uncle, of fleeing to Thailand as a child and spending four years in a refugee camp before arriving in the U.S.
  • The Whispering Cloth: A Refugee’s Story – Pegi Deitz Shea tells the story of Mia, a Hmong refugee girl, as she remembers painful episodes from her life in a pa’ndau, a traditional story cloth.
  • Tangled Threads – A Hmong Girl’s Story – Pegi Deitz Shea tells the story of a 13-year-old orphan’s emotional  journey from Laos to the United States.
  • Stitch in Time – A Young Adult sequel to Tangled Threads – Pegi Deitz Shea writes about Mai, now a high school senior, crossing lines between two cultures.
  • Out of Laos – A Story of War and Exodus, Told in Photographs – Roger Warner in collaboration with Lue Vang, Ed.D., and Judy Lewis agreed that a visually-driven account of the Laos war might be useful, particularly among people who themselves lived through the war and its refugee aftermath.
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down – Anne Fadiman’s book is a beautiful introduction to “a Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures.”
  • Hog’s Exit: Jerry Daniels, the Hmong, and the CIA – Gayle L. Morrison’s book is invaluable resource for anyone interested in the Secret War in Laos, the history of the CIA, U.S. interventions overseas, the Hmong people and their culture, and how the Hmong came to America.
  • The Ravens: The Men Who Flew in America’s Secret War in Laos – Christopher Robbins’ book documents “a handful of elite Air Force pilots, wearing anything but uniforms and piloting unarmored, small, prop-driven aircraft, fought a secret war…” in “the other theater – a small nation called Laos, next door to Vietnam, bordered by the Ho Chi Minh Trail…”
  • A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain: Stories – Robert Olen Butler’s Pulitzer Prize lyrical and poignant collection of stories about the aftermath of the Vietnam War and its impact on the Vietnamese.
  • Inside Out and Back Again – Thanhhà Lai’s YA novel is a coming-of-age story based on her childhood experience as a refugee—fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to Alabama.