Drawn Together by Minh Lê ill Dan Santat
Minh Lê has created a tribute to the miraculous power of art, imagination, and love. Readers meet a young Asian American boy sent to spend time with his grandfather. This is difficult for both because they appear to have little in common. Grandfather speaks only Thai. Grandson speaks only English.
Using a graphic novel format, Dan Santat opens with a series of wordless panels, as the young man is unwillingly deposited on his grandfather's doorstep. Images highlight the contrasting cultures, with wordless panels progressing into panels with separate speech balloons in Thai and English. Things are not going well for either one.
The boy gives up talking and begins to draw.
Observing what is happening, Grandfather hurries to find his own drawing implements. With his first brush stroke, a new world opens.
In the process of drawing together, the two form a connection that is able to break down barriers and overcome obstacles.
The narrative is beautiful and satisfying on many levels. It's the story of bridging the divide between cultures and generations. It is also a story of the power of shared creation and exploration.
The story of a willingness to try. A desire to find common ground. A story of love. A story of hope.