Drawn Together

Drawn Together

Book - 2018
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A boy and his grandfather cross a language and cultural barrier using their shared love of art, storytelling, and fantasy.
Publisher: NLos Angeles :, Disney-Hyperion,, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781484767603
Branch Call Number: LE
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 29 cm
Additional Contributors: Santat, Dan

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forbesrachel Jul 31, 2018

Drawn Together appropriately starts with silence; three pages of no dialogue between a young boy, whom afterwards we learn only speaks English, and his grandfather, who speaks a language that uses the Thai script. Their interactions are understandably awkward following this, despite the elderly man's clear delight at having his grandson over for a visit. This starts to change though when the boy brings out his drawing supplies. "In a flash" the two begin to draw a story together, communicating with each other through pictures and a shared interest. For clarity, the author has the boy narrate his thoughts from this point onwards, as a magical boy, painted in a colourful cartoony style, fights alongside a valiant warrior, illustrated in a more detailed ink only type. For the backgrounds, which display a fantastical ancient world, these two mix together. The pair's newfound means of bonding doesn't come without difficulty though, but together they battle through, picking up something from the other (which is visually represented in a stunning two page spread). Minh Lê's heartfelt story will mean a lot to anyone who has experienced a linguistic-based generational gap. While the characters are of Asian decent, those from other ethnic backgrounds will find this just as applicable and touching. Drawing Together is a picture book that can be shared by those families actually experiencing such communication difficulties now too. The concise text is a poignant insight into the boy's thoughts, however, the entire story can be understood without it thanks to Dan Santat's distinctive style. The expressive character designs, the graphic novel elements, the excellent use of space, and the pacing, all make it easy to interpret. Fans of his work will be thrilled to see him try new things in this one; the South Asian artistic influence really makes this stand out from the rest. Drawing Together is an exquisitely emotional read, that speaks to a family's ability to bridge the gulf that is language, through other means of communication. A must read!

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