Drawn Together

Title: Drawn Together

Author(s): Minh Lê

Illustrator/Photographer: Dan Santat

Publisher and Year: Disney-Hyperion 2018

Number of pages: 32

Tags/Themes: Allison Henry, Culture, Diversity, Family, Fantasy, Fine Arts, Graphic Novel, K-5

Genre: Fantasy

Descriptive Annotation: Drawn Together is the story of a little boy and his grandfather realizing that they don’t need to use words to connect to each other. In the beginning of the story the grandfather and the grandson struggle to understand each other, as the grandfather speaks Vietnamese and the grandson speaks English. One day, the boy is drawing at the table and the grandfather pulls out a sketchbook filled with amazing drawings. The grandson and grandfather begin creating stories together, using only their drawings, no words. There are not many words in the story, so a student reading this book needs a background knowledge of how to read graphic novels, or at least the critical thinking skills to figure out how to read graphic novels, to understand the story. According to the copyright information, the illustrations were done in a variety of materials and then rendered on a computer.

Classroom Application: This story has connections to fine arts and the Social and Emotional Learning Standards. This story shows that art can cross many barriers in communication. One page says, “Right when I gave up on talking, my grandfather surprised me by revealing a world beyond words.” A few pages later it says, “All the things we could never say come pouring out” in response to the newly-discovered shared love of drawing. It can also be used to show the art styles of the Vietnamese culture, and begin an inquiry into different styles of art in different cultures. Social and Emotional Learning Standard 2 talks about building positive relationships and this story is an example of building positive relationships without being able to talk to one another.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: Both characters in the story are Vietnamese Americans. The grandfather is more Vietnamese, and the boy is more American. It can generate discussion on many aspects of different cultures (i.e. language, food, art) and ancestry. There are many panels in the beginning of the story that show both American and Vietnamese items for comparison. Many of the grandfather’s drawings are done in what appears to be traditional Vietnamese style.

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