Bilingual children’s book keeping Hmong language and culture alive

At Cross River Charter School in St. Paul Park, local children’s author Tory Envy takes a seat at the head of the class.

As a first-generation Hmong American, the English/Hmong bilingual children’s book is her first. It’s titled, “I Am A Big Sister – Kuv Yog Ib Tug Niam Laus.” The book is inspired by her two young daughters.

“I thought that it was a great idea to try to have some representation in a children’s book especially when there’s not that many in the world,” says Envy.

Hmong people began migrating to the U.S. from Southeast Asia more than 45 years ago. The Twin Cities is home to the largest Hmong population in the country. Prior to the 1950s it was illegal to write the Hmong language for centuries.

“It’s a small group of people in the entire world, so if we don’t continue to practice and write it and share and grow our literature pieces…it’s possible that it could be lost,” says Envy.

Envy joins a growing group of Hmong American children’s book authors.

She says, “I think it’s important because having representation and knowing where you come from kind of gives you an identity, and it gives you a sense of understanding your culture a little bit better.”

Turning a new page, the mother of two is striving to reach younger generations and keep the Hmong language and culture alive.

“I hope that this sets a trend and inspires others to add to Hmong literature, especially in children’s books. That’s what I’m hoping for,” says Envy.

Envy’s book was released in December and is being sold on Amazon. She’s now working on her second book.






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