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.
Illustrated by Minnie Phan
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 put down 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.
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Praise for The Yellow Áo Dài
“This simple, lyrical, touching story took me to a place that I did not know but to emotions that belong to us all. I will not forget it and its lesson of confession, forgiveness, and love.” —Jane Yolen, award-winning author of Owl Moon and over 400 other books for children
“A truly heartwarming story of mother and daughter, generations and traditions, and ultimately forgiveness and unconditional love that will make you want to share this wonderful book with someone you love. ” —Mary Rand Hess, New York Times bestselling author
“Heartwarming … Lovely illustrations, using subtle colors and graceful lines to define the characters and express Naliah’s shifting emotions, concluding with joy and contentment. A picture book celebrating immigrants and their families’ cultures.” —Booklist
“Read The Yellow Áo Dài Restoring a Vietnamese legacy. The first children’s picture book from Hanh Bui is inspired by her life as a refugee in the U.S. . . Featuring playful art by Minnie Phan, a queer Vietnamese American illustrator.” —New York Magazine
“Vietnamese culture is beautifully honored through Phan’s expressive, cheerful watercolors. … Naliah’s story teaches readers about the importance of family and culture in forming identity. … Would pair especially well with Eva Chen’s I Am Golden, Joanna Ho’s Eyes that Kiss in the Corners and Nabela Noor’s Beautifully Me.” —School Library Journal
“Bui weaves a tender tale of a family honoring memories and heirlooms but also creating new traditions. Phan’s buoyant and beautiful illustrations convey the protagonist’s emotions. … A charming contemporary celebration of family and heritage.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This is a book that belongs in every home library and classroom bookshelf…a book that every young child will relate to. The words of The Yellow Áo Dài by Hanh Bui are a warm hug, rekindling memories of times with my own mother and grandmother. And the glorious art by Minnie Phan depicts Naliah and her Vietnamese culture, glowing with a love that is universal and that every child reader will connect with.”—Vivian Kirkfield, author and founder of 50PreciousWords writing contest