Sonderbooks Stand-out

Sonderbooks Book Review of

Drawn Together

by Minh Lê

illustrated by Dan Santat


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Drawn Together

by Minh Lê
illustrated by Dan Santat

Review posted May 29, 2020.
Disney Hyperion, 2018. 36 pages.
Starred Review
Review written in 2018 from a library book
2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Picture Book Winner
2018 Sonderbooks Standout:
#7 Other Picture Books

This almost wordless picture book tells about a boy and his grandfather – who doesn’t speak English.

The boy has been dropped off at his grandfather’s house. They eat together – different foods, and they watch TV together but like different shows. They can’t talk together.

But then the boy gets out his markers and starts to draw. The grandfather sees and his face lights up. He brings over his sketchbook, ink, and brushes.

And they begin to draw – together.

Now, after years of searching for the right words, we find ourselves happily…

Speechless.

I have not discussed this with the Newbery committee, but my personal opinion is that it would be a stretch to give a Newbery award to a nearly wordless book. However, after my first reading, I would not be surprised if this book is seriously discussed by the Caldecott committee. The art is wonderful – using one style for the boy and another for his grandfather, as well as portraying their imaginary battles by each other’s side.

Added later: I was so happy when this was announced as the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award Winner for Picture Books.