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Dia’s Story Cloth

About the Book

A Hmong American tells of her people's search for freedom. For centuries, needlework has been part of Hmong culture. But it has only been since the war in Vietnam and Laos, which displaced many Hmong, that the new, narrative form of 'story cloths' has emerged, a bridge between past and present.

Dia Cha and her family experienced this displacement. Born in Laos, Dia fled with her family to Thailand as a child, spending four years in a refugee camp before arriving in the U.S.. Her story is shared by many Hmong Americans.

As told through the story cloth stitched by her aunt and uncle, the Hmong people's search for freedom began long ago in China. Dia's Story Cloth explores many aspects of the Hmong experience from peace and war in Asia to new beginnings in America. Through Dia's story, young children can see that the search for freedom transcends all cultures.

This book includes a compendium of Hmong culture: their history, traditions, and stitchery techniques.

Why We Recommend It: A Pick of the Lists awardee by American Bookseller, Dia’s Story Cloth is a story that every American needs to read. Though targeted to readers K-3, Dia begins her story by sharing what being Hmong means and their history as a nomadic people. She then shares their experiences of separation and persecution before, during and after The American Secret War in Laos. Throughout the entire book, beautiful Hmong textiles help to tell the story. The end of the book includes a comprehensive overview of Hmong artifacts and their history by Joyce Herold, Curator of Ethnology at the Denver Museum of Natural History. A Free Teacher’s Guide to accompany Dia’s Story Cloth is available HERE.

About the Author

Dia Cha

Dia Cha is currently (2006) Associate Professor of Anthropology and Ethnic Studies at St. Cloud State University, in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where she teaches courses in cultural anthropology, ethnic studies, Southeast Asian communities, Asian American studies, and Hmong studies. A Hmong American and a prolific author, she has written widely-acclaimed books for children and adults, and is considered one of the world's leading authorities on Hmong cultural traditions and folkways, traveling widely to offer a variety of presentations on these and related topics.

In addition to scholarly articles and reports, Dia has written "Dia's Story Cloth", and, with Dr. Norma Livo, "Folk Stories of the Hmong" and "Teaching with Folk Stories of the Hmong: An Activity Book". Her poetry and short stories have appeared in "Bamboo Among the Oaks" as well as the "Paj Ntaub Voice" Hmong literary journal.

Dia Cha
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