- 2017 Minnesota Book Award Winner in Creative Nonfiction/Memoir
- Finalist for the 2017 National Book Critics Circle in Biography
- Finalist for the Chautauqua Prize
- Finalist for the PEN USA Literary Award in Nonfiction
*The Song Poet is available in hardcover, paperback, audio, and as an ebook.. Please follow this link The Song Poet.
The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir (Coffee House Press, 2008)
The Latehomecomer is the story of the Hmong people and their long journey to America. Commissioned by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America to fight in the Secret War in Laos, many Hmong families were abandoned when the American troops withdrew from the war. Faced with genocide, thousands of Hmong families fled into the jungles of Laos and eventually the refugee camps of Thailand. Kao Kalia Yang’s family arrived in America in 1987. It would take over twenty years for the story of the Hmong family to emerge in the landscape of American literature. The Latehomecomer is an intimate portrait of love and family; it is a seminal work in American history and the politics of war. Please follow this link to purchase.
The Song Poet (Metropolitan Books, published 2016) The Song Poet emerged from a conversation with my father, Bee Yang, a Hmong man working in the factories of Minnesota, a man whose life has been marred by war and poverty. I asked my father how he became a song poet in the Hmong tradition. He told me a story about a young boy growing up without a father and a mother who worked endlessly to provide for her nine children. My father told me that as a boy he used to go from the house of one neighbor to the next collecting the beautiful things people had to say to each other. By himself, he whispered the words to comfort his heart. One day the words escaped on a sigh and a song was born. I told him that it could be the beginning of a book. He told me that no one would want to read a book about a man like him when people could read books about men like Barak Obama (my father loves Barak Obama) written by themselves. The Song Poet is me taking on my father’s story and his songs; it is a tribute to his form, kwv txhiaj, and the poetry that has sheltered us from the poverty of our lives.
- 2012 Jeannette Fair Memorial Award for Distinguished Writing
- 2010 PEN USA Award Finalist for Creative Nonfiction/Memoir
- 2009 Winner of Minnesota Book Awards in Creative Nonfiction/Memoir and Readers’ Choice
- 2009 Skipping Stones Honor Award Winner
- 2009 Asian American Literary Award Finalist in Creative Nonfiction/Memoir
- 2008 Winner of the Outstanding Book Award, The Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights
*The book is available in paperback, audio, and as an ebook.
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