Growing up, I shared a small bedroom with my older sister. Most of the time, everything was arranged the way she wanted it. But the day after she got married, I bought a can of yellow paint at the hardware store and covered the walls of MY room with the color of sunshine and happiness. When I first saw Hanh Bui’s manuscript, The Yellow Áo Dài, it took me back to that moment. What a joy it has been to be a small part of the path to publication of this beautiful story and what an honor to participate in the cover reveal.
I first met Hanh a couple of years ago when she reached out to inquire about an upcoming #50PreciousWords Contest. We got to chatting (you all know how much I love to do that) and realized we were on the same page in so many ways. I’m honored to have seen several of Hanh’s amazing manuscripts. And for the past two years, Hanh and her young daughter have numbered among my cherished judges for the contest.
Here’s a bit about the book from the publisher’s website:
Lovingly illustrated by Minnie Phan, Hanh Bui’s debut picture book, The Yellow Áo Dài, is a warm story of family, identity, and remembering those who came before.
Naliah is excited to perform a traditional Vietnamese Fan Dance at her school’s International Day. When she finds that her special áo dài no longer fits right, she goes to her mom’s closet to find another.
She puts on a pretty yellow one—only to accidentally rip it while practicing her dance. She’s horrified to discover that this was a very special áo dài that her grandmother had worn to dance at the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam.
But with a little help from her mom’s sewing kit and her grandmother’s loving legacy, Naliah learns not only how to mend the yellow áo dài but also how to believe in herself and make it her own.
AND NOW…THE COVER REVEAL…TA DA!!!
What do you think, dear friends? Doesn’t that cover take your breath away? And won’t young readers be intrigued by the little girl peeking into the closet? And don’t you love the clever use of the letter O as a holder for the hanger?
Magic happens when the right combination of author and illustrator come together – and that is definitely what happened with the pairing of author Hanh Bui and illustrator Minnie Phan!
Here’s a little bit about author Hanh from the Macmillan website:
Inspired by her first teacher at the refugee camp, Hanh Bui pursued a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and taught second grade before becoming a full-time mother to three children. She also served as a Development Officer for Senhoa Foundation in support of women and children who survived human trafficking in Cambodia, and has served on boards supporting children and parents in building community. Hanh’s commitment to celebrating her heritage includes giving presentations in school visits about her refugee experience to children studying immigration as part of their school curriculum. She is a member of SCBWI, and has been featured in Highlights Children’s Magazine. The Yellow Áo Dài is her debut picture book.
And here’s a little bit about illustrator Minnie from the Macmillan website:
Minnie Phan is a queer Vietnamese American cartoonist and illustrator born in Stockton, CA, and raised across the Bay Area. Her parents were among the last wave of Vietnamese refugees to arrive in the early 90s before immigration was restricted from the region. Her father’s first job was as a migrant farmer and before finishing the 5th grade, she attended five elementary schools. When she decided to go to art school, she received her parent’s full disapproval. Luckily, with the support of her older sister, she earned a BFA in illustration and set roots in Oakland, CA, where she’s resided for 10 years. Her work ranges from editorial illustrations to comics, animation, and picture books. She values inclusive image making and diverse storytelling; she hopes for all children to see themselves as whatever they dream: artists, scientists, doctors, and more. When she’s not illustrating, she teaches comics to youth in the Bay Area and advocates for safer streets for bicyclists. The Yellow Áo Dài is her debut picture book.
And guess what? The Yellow Áo Dài is available for preorder on the Macmillan website and at your local independent bookstore. I can hardly wait to add it to my picture book collection when it launches in Spring 2023.
I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to spread the word about wonderful new books like this one!
I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week.