AB1393 Books Events Lessons

The Forbidden Treasure

Three years ago we had the privilege of interviewing See Lor for our Time of Remembrance Oral Histories Project. Her interview was inspiring for several reasons. Not only had she escaped Laos, survived the refugee camp experience and immigrated to America, she also went on to complete university credentialing requirements to become a teacher.

She currently lives in Elk Grove, CA and spends the majority of her time writing and sharing the refugee experience and Hmong culture through her amazing children’s books and community outreach. Her interview inspired us to write a lesson for one of her books, The Forbidden Treasure. The illustrations were beautiful and we knew that our younger students would be swept away, not only by the folktale, but also being able to listen to the author actually read a passage.



On November 9, Herman Leimbach second graders enthusiastically entered teacher Cathe Petuya’s computer lab. They were thrilled for the opportunity to meet the author of The Forbidden Treasure, a story they had previously read in their classrooms as part of a second grade unit on folktales. Prior to the author’s talk, students were assigned the Forbidden Treasure lesson we created in their Google Classroom.

Google Classroom

Students created their own book covers using Google Draw, one of the lesson extension activities. One student chose to create a cover for the Chinese version of Little Red Riding Hood.

Student Book Cover

As students walked into the computer lab, they were greeted by See Lor. You could feel the excitement in the room. The chance to meet in person an actual author is not an everyday experience for most second graders and after designing their own book covers, they had many questions for the author about the book cover and the illustration process.

See Lor and The Forbidden Treasure

Ms. Lor explained her background and family’s history to the students through maps, a Hmong story cloth, clothing and jewelry. She then read excerpts from the book and invited the students to break into groups to discuss the book’s themes – kindness, humbleness, and greed. The students shared their thoughts in a whole class discussion. Some were then selected to try on the jewelry, hats and clothing. 

See Lor presenting The Forbidden Treasure to Elementary students

The event ended with the exciting news that each student would leave with their own copy of The Forbidden Treasure. Ms Lor also donated copies to the teachers.

See Lor Signed Copy

With much appreciation to See Lor for her work with students and her significant contribution to the TOR Oral Histories Project. We recognize the importance of providing primary source accounts that build on students’ understanding of history. The story and voice of a single witness or survivor can bring history alive to students of all ages.

“The greatest gift we can give someone is the gift of their history” – HmongStory40

Gail & Kathleen

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