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The Words We Share

Interest Age: 4–7
Grade: p–2
Reading Level: Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature: RL.2.2.1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Reading Level: Lexile AD720L
Hardcover (Picture book) : 9781773217970, 40 pages, September 2023 , 11.0" x 8.5"
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781773217994, 40 pages, October 2023


“A must-buy.” —School Library Journal

A young girl helps her dad navigate life in a new country where she understands the language more than he does, in an unforgettable story about communication and community by Boston Globe–Horn Book Award-winner Jack Wong.

Angie is used to helping her dad. Ever since they moved to Canada, he relies on her to translate for him from English to Chinese. Angie is happy to help: when they go to restaurants, at the grocery store, and, one day, when her dad needs help writing some signs for his work.

Building off her success with her dad’s signs, Angie offers her translation skills to others in their community. She’s thrilled when her new business takes off, until one of her clients says he’s unhappy with her work. When her dad offers to help, she can’t imagine how he could. Working together, they find a surprising solution, fixing the problem in a way Angie never would have predicted.

A gorgeously illustrated picture book from Boston Globe–Horn Book and Governor General award-winning creator Jack Wong (When You Can Swim, Scholastic) that is at once a much-needed exploration of the unique pressures children of immigrants often face, a meditation on the dignity of all people regardless of their differences, and a reminder of the power of empathy.

“Beautifully written and illustrated. . . . I am so glad this book exists in the world.” —Bao Phi, author of the Caldecott Honor and Zolotow Award-winning A Different Pond


  • Winner, Best of 2023 Picture Book Award, Bookstagang 2023
  • Winner, Community Favorite Best Biography Books, Bookstagang 2023
  • Nominated, Blue Spruce Award, OLA 2023
  • Joint winner, Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices 2024


"The Words We Share is a tender story of a father and his daughter—newcomers to Canada—and how each must hold the mantle of language for the other in an expression of love. It is a reminder of how home is not bound by the languages around us but the currents that flow within.”

- Kao Kalia Yang, author of From the Tops of the Trees

"The rich layers of this heartwarming story will resonate with all immigrants and their children. As a daughter who also translated for her parents, this book made me feel seen and cherished as part of a community."

- Andrea Wang, Newbery Honoree and author of Watercress

"The Words We Share is an important story, a needed story, a timeless story. Once upon a time, I was Angie. After my family and I moved to North America, my English skills quickly eclipsed my parents’. The Words We Share makes the younger me feel seen, and I know many readers today will feel seen, too. The Words We Share is a gift—honoring multitudes of identities, languages, and power.”

- Dane Liu, author of Friends Are Friends, Forever

“A terrifically written and beautifully illustrated exploration of how immigrant families and communities rely on one another to traverse language barriers. The Words We Share reminds us that kindness for our neighbors and love between family are commonalities that require no interpretation.”

- Julie Leung, author of Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist

The Words We Share is a sweet father-daughter tale featuring communication, miscommunication, and a cross-generational moment of understanding bound to have a wide appeal.”

- Sara O’Leary, author of A Kid is a Kid is a Kid

"This lovely book about a hardworking Chinese Canadian father, and the
daughter who helps him by translating English, is exactly the type of
book I wished existed when I was a kid. So many immigrant and refugee
kids will be able to relate to this story about assisting their parents
with a new language. Beautifully written and illustrated by Jack Wong,
the characters feel unique, but easily relatable. I am so glad this book
exists in the world."

- Bao Phi, author of the Caldecott Honor and Zolotow Award-winning A Different Pond

“[A]n expressive and compassionate glimpse into the struggles immigrants face.”

- Kirkus Reviews, 07/25/23

“This joyful story is about the power of speaking more than one language, the safety of having caring adults around, the confusion of living somewhere where you’re not a native language speaker, and a reminder that adults who have yet to master their new homeland’s primary language are still adults, with skills, proficiencies, and knowledge.”



- Youth Services Book Review *starred review, 08/15/23

“Jack Wong’s delightful sophomore picture book, The Words We Share, is a testament to the power of words and what happens when we listen carefully—with both our hearts and minds.”

- Emma FitzGerald, illustrator of City Streets Are for People

“This tale presents a hopeful perspective on immigrant life, vividly portraying resilience, a spirit of community, and the enduring bond of family, making it a poignant and uplifting read.”

- Horn Book Magazine, 11/23