Ka Vang’s spoken word piece, Extraordinary Hmong, fulfills her goal of telling stories that describe familiar things in a different landscape. With “the ghosts of her ancestors swimming on her back,” she is very much in the here and now. Write about an important aspect of your culture that you feel needs to be carried into the future. You can write about your family culture or any larger group you feel part of.
Now re-imagine that aspect of your culture. Ka Vang saw a purse made from a traditional Hmong skirt. It reflected WHAT WAS, WHAT IS NOW, AND WHAT WILL BE IN THE FUTURE. Re-work an old story by giving it new characters, a new ending or a different setting; revise an old song or nursery rhyme by changing the tune to one that’s popular now; or re-make an old piece of clothing by turning it into a design for the future.
Ka Vang is the author of Shoua and the Northern Lights Dragon, a chapter book written for third grade students. The book was published in partnership by the Minnesota Humanities Center and the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans as part of The Reading Together Project. Learn more about this project by visiting www.mnhum.org/reading.