The Latehomecomer

Kao Kalia Yang


Durring the secret war between the Pathet Lao Communist forces and The United States C.I.A., Hmong people of the mountainous regions of Laos were recruited by the C.I.A. to help them navigate through the land. The Hmong would help the Americans by fighting along their side and guiding them through the mountain regions to destroy enemy targets. After the war was over and the Americans left, The Hmong who were left in Laos were being hunted by Lao soldiers for revenge. Many Hmong family's left Laos to escape genocide and political persecution. Among these families was Kao's. The Hmong people made their way to Thailand to reach the refugee camps such as Ban Vinai. Kao Kalia yang was born in 1980, in Ban Vinai Refugee camp, her first experiences of what was going on around her, the identity of her people, the embrace of her family were first experienced in that refugee camp. In 1986 Kao and her family would be offered the opportunity of a life time, amnesty by the United Sates to come in the country as refugees of war. The U.N. would prepare these refugees for what could become their new home. Kao Kalia Yang and her family arrive in Saint Paul Minnesota, luckily they have family who previously came before them. Kao takes us into a very deep and personal experience, she informs us of her family's circumstance as new refugees. The obstacles of not speaking English, of being in a completely different world. The Latehomecomer is a Hmong family memoir about the life of Kao Kalia Yang and her family.

What's the authors purpose'

"It is very important that you tell this part of our story: the Hmong came to America without a homeland. Even in the very beginning, we knew that we were looking for a home."
" This year we tell the Hmong story the way it is, Father. Hold on, our dreams are coming. We didn't come all the way from the clouds just to go back, without a trace. We, seekers of refuge, will find it: if not in the world, then in each other. If not in life, then surely in books."

  • To inform readers worldwide about the Hmong people and their cultural history before and after they immigrated to the United States as refugees.
  • To carry on and inform readers about the origins and history of Hmong culture, philosophy, sacred beliefs.
  • To share personal experience as a voice and representation for what her people went through.
  • To tell the story of her people "the way it is" after many years of information being unheard of amongst books and society.

Explain three concepts, principles, and techniques learned label them ABC


A. Hmong spirituality: Many Hmong people have a strong belief that all life has a spirit, at one point the spirit comes to earth and in an another it leaves earth.

B. Hmong people have been persecuted many times throughout their history, they hav fought, traveled, and died many times for a place to call home.

C. How and why Hmong people are in America today


A. Every living thing descends from the clouds with a spirit that lives in a life form, once that life form is dead the spirt must travel and return to it' native land of origin to rest in peace.

B. There is always's more than one side of a story but there is also many different story that connect to a specific event.

C. One must make the best out of the little or nothing in this lifetime


A. When reading a non fiction book one must pay attention and remember the time frame in which the story takes place.

B. Prior research on the story can help you understand and connect to the non fiction book you are reading.

C. you read faster out loud compared to when you read in your head

Chapter or section that made the most impact on you

Part 3: The American years made the biggest impact on me because of all the things that were happening at once. In this section Kao and her family are finally in America specifically in Saint Paul Minnesota. Kao and her family enter a new world that they have only heard of but finally see. Kao and her family are completely new to everything around them when they arrived they only had with them a few pairs of clothe, pots and pans, and few personal belongings. This section is all about how Kao and her family got accustomed to America, Kao explains how stressful it was for here to adjust, speaking English was an obstacle but her simply talking was a bigger one. In conclusion this chapter impacted me the most becuase Kao was able to express this time period with so much detail that it felt like a movie was playing in my head as I read every chapter in this section. I can personally relate to this section as well because I too struggled as a child in school because I did not not leran to speak and write fluent English until I was in the second grade.

What # would you rate this book on a scale of one through five?

I would rate this book a five because it is 100% real. I cannot judge or criticise this book in anyway because it is so honest and sincere. Kao Kalia Yang put her heart into every sentence written. The diction and emotion is captured at it's best. In my opinion this book felt alive while I was reading it, I could clearly see and hear everything in my head as I read all 277 pages of the Latehomecomer

2 passages to share

" The teacher jerked Dawb by the arms from her seat and pulled her to the front of the class so quickly and hard that she pulled Dawb's feet straight out of her winter boots( page 141-142)."

" I felt the humiliation of not knowing english, and a bubble of hurt began when I saw how hard they all worked to keep us in school, to put warm food on the old tabletops, I could not, no matter how discouraged, say: This is not enough. This is not the life I had wanted for myself or you in this country or any other. We've come too far for this. Havent we (page179)."

Both these passages speak on the things that happened in reality either physically or mentally. Abusive and rude teachers, and recognition of life's reality were both things that Kao witnessed and lived through.

Cultural Issue

In the book Kao explains many of the worries that Hmong people had . She explained the challenge that Hmong people felt when they had to leave Thailand and Laos. The Hmong believe deeply in spirituality and shamanism. One of their beliefs is that when one dies their spirit must return to their place of birth to reside in peace. Moving continents and oceans away worried many of the Hmong people especially elders because they were worried that there spirit would never make it back to the mountains of Laos.

Kao Kalia Yang