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Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao

by Kat Zhang & illustrated by Charlene Chua

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao is a zesty story about the perfect recipe for perseverance. Chinese-American Amy Wu loves her family tradition of making bao together almost as much as she loves eating them. Amy becomes frustrated when she struggles to make bao that look as perfect as her parents’.

Sometimes the come out too small. Sometimes they come out too big.Sometimes she adds too much filling. Sometimes not enough. Sometimes they fall apart before they reach her mouth.

Amy, however, is persistent. She doesn’t give up. With a little ingenuity and some help from grandma, Amy figures out how to make bao that are perfect for her! Before she knows it, “She’s a bao-making master!” When the steam clears, her perfect as well as her not-so-perfect bao are good enough to share with all of her friends. 

Kids of all ages love Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao. One kindergartener said, “I love this book. It’s about trying and trying again until you get it right.” Another kindergartener said that, “this book means that it’s important to ask for help when things are hard.” One fifth grader was excited to share that her family loves to eat bao and she was excited to see one of her family traditions represented in a read aloud. 

Teachers can use this story to share lessons about perseverance and growth mindset. It makes a great addition to text sets for students to practice identifying common themes and character traits. Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao can be complimented by author, Kat Zhang’s video about making bow.

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao is being celebrated for both its lively text as well as its eye-popping illustrations. It is named by the Kirkus Review as one of the best picture books by 2019. It has also been featured by The New York Times, Parents Magazine, as well as Toronto’s Public Library’s First and Best of 2019.

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