Have you always wanted a close relationship with your grandparent? Do you dream of writing a children’s book and have no idea where to start? Do you struggle with juggling your professional and personal responsibilities while writing? We get into all of that (and way more) with today’s special guest: Minh Le.
Minh is a national early childhood policy expert, author of Let Me Finish! and Drawn Together, and has written for the New York Times, the Horn Book, and the Huffington Post. A first-generation Vietnamese American, he went to Dartmouth College and has a master’s in education from Harvard University.
This episode is full of heart. I can’t even begin to explain how much this conversation filled my soul and I’m thrilled to finally share this episode with you!
Books & Resources Mentioned in Minh’s Episode:
Glass Slipper, Golden Sandal by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Julie Paschkis
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Rotem Moscovich – editor
Cassie McGinty – Senior Publicist at Disney Hyperion Books
Creating Picture Books: How-To Guides, Free Templates & Resources by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Reading Picture Books with Children by Megan Dowd Lambert
Check out these highlights:
- Minh’s heartwarming and intimate story of how he fell in love with storytelling
- Fun Fact! Minh shares how the modern-day Cinderella story originates from universal themes in ancient stories around the world
- The importance of finding common connections with your loved ones to sustain strong relationships
- Why putting in the effort to break down barriers in relationships with the people close to you is more than worth it
- Minh discusses his vision of having Dan Santat, the illustrator for Drawn Together, take his story and embed it into his own Asian-American experience
- Writing with brevity – how does Minh capture so much emotion in so few words?
- A look at the production process of a picture book
- Minh dives into the unique career path that led him to write picture books
- Fun activities Minh practiced to remind himself how much he enjoyed writing that pushed him to pursue his passion
- Advice on juggling your professional and personal responsibilities while pursuing your writing
- How Minh deconstructs his picture books
- We dive into our listeners’ Q&A segment of the episode (If you’d love to submit your questions for upcoming guests, join our private Facebook group):
- As a first-generation American, do you often worry about passing down your Vietnamese heritage to your children? How would you recommend connecting different generations within a family? Cultural differences can make this a huge challenge.
- What was it like to step back and trust Dan to shape so much of this intimate, personal work? What did the illustration notes look like? Was it tempting to over direct in the notes?
- Seconding “What did the illustration notes look like?” question above. I’d love to see a sample of how this played out in the actual picture book manuscript text.
“I picture my head and my mind as a cluttered room with all these different things and different priorities and different obligations. And so, for me, it’s almost like trying to find those quiet moments and clearing away all those things until I can find those bits of inspirations from my day and from my life. I think of it like the day is full, your life is full, but that’s a good thing. It’s just trying to figure out how to pull the stories from that.”
“What words do I need to put on the page to give the illustrator enough information to build this world?”
“So many of my relationships with the people that I love, especially like my grandparents, have been defined by the things that divide us.”
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Say ‘Hi’ to Minh!
Learn More About “Drawn Together”
Author Minh Lê and Caldecott-winning illustrator Dan Santat join forces in DRAWN TOGETHER (Disney-Hyperion | On Sale June 5, 2018), a heartwarming story of a grandfather and his grandson as they learn to overcome their language barrier through a shared love of art and storytelling. Santat’s illustrations are robust, vibrant, and packed with emotion, and are a perfect match for Lê’s poignant story.
When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens—with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.
With spare, direct text by Minh Lê and luminous illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, this stirring book shows the ways that art and storytelling to connect people.
Learn More About Minh Lê
Minh Lê is a writer but, like his grandfather, is a man of few words. He is a national early childhood policy expert, author of Let Me Finish!, and has written for the New York Times, the Horn Book, and the Huffington Post. A first-generation Vietnamese American, he went to Dartmouth College and has a master’s in education from Harvard University. Outside of spending time with his wife and sons in their home near Washington, DC, Minh’s favorite place to be is in the middle of a good book.