Drawn Together

by Dan Santat (Illustrator)

Other authorsDan Santat (Cover Art), Le Minh (Author)
Hardcover, 2018


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Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2018), Edition: Illustrated, 40 pages


A boy and his grandfather cross a language and cultural barrier using their shared love of art, storytelling, and fantasy.

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LibraryThing member Twink
Drawn Together is a new children's picture book from author Minh Lê and illustrator Dan Santat.

Before Little Guy and Gramma turned the first page we talked about the images on the cover - what would we find inside. As well as the dual meaning of 'drawn'.

Who do you think the two people on the cover
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could be? What about the 'elf' with the wand be? And the 'scary' black and white character? The flyleaf has some crayon scribble illustrations that are so real, Little Guy thought someone had colored inside!

There is very little text in Drawn Together, asking the reader to tell much of the story through observing, imagining and wondering about the illustrations. What a great idea! The Grandpa and grandson have differences - food, language, interests etc. Little Guy is quite intuitive when it comes to facial expressions and really focused on these. We kept turning pages asking each other - what do you think?

They discover they can communicate through drawing. "All the things we could never say come pouring out....and we build a new world that words can't describe." Heroes and mythical creatures illustrate the connection and divide between the two. Little Guy is quite literal and was a bit frightened by the dragon. But subsequent pages have the dragon defeated and the distance between the two conquered.

Gramma thought the concept of Drawn Together was excellent - one that can be used in so many life situations. Caldecott Medalist Santat's illustrations are detailed and very beautiful - a perfect accompaniment.
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LibraryThing member deldevries
Awesome story and illustrations. The concept of a grandson and grandfather together and the story that is told through pictures is very touching. Not just for kids!
LibraryThing member thebumblegirl
*An ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of DRAWN TOGETHER was sent to me by the publisher, Disney-Hyperion, for free for an honest review. All thoughts here are my very own.

There have been so many sweet and heartwarming picture books lately. But, DRAWN TOGETHER, is definitely the most endearing and
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inspiring story that we have read!

DRAWN TOGETHER is about a little boy who often goes to visit his grandfather, but doesn't enjoy doing so because they don't speak the same language. It is awkward and uncomfortable to watch them try and fail to communicate, heartbreaking too. Until they find out that they have something in common! When the grandfather realizes that they may have something in common that can bring them together the boy starts to narrate their story from this point on. The slow build up to this point and how the story starts to unfold is so beautiful to witness.

The best thing about this book is that it truly lets the reader feel what the main characters are going through with each other. How uneasy they felt, and how upset they are with themselves for not being able to communicate easily with one another.

As a person who has witnessed this first hand, it is truly frustrating and heartbreaking to see someone you love not be able to speak easily with someone that they could connect with and love unconditionally. (I'm speaking about my husband and his Italian grandmother, he never learned how to speak Italian, and she never learned English). Watching them struggle to communicate but still see the love that they have for one another is bittersweet. The stories that they could have shared would have been wonderful to witness...

I have also experienced what a blessing it is to be able to communicate with loved ones in another language. I am forever thankful and grateful that my parents decided to teach me English and Spanish from the moment I was born. I was able to speak with my grandparents and relatives from the moment I was able to speak. Being able to form loving relationships with family and being able to embrace my family's culture is something that I will always cherish.

The illustrations! Dan Santat one of our most favorite illustrators and authors and he has really outdone himself with DRAWN TOGETHER... not only are the illustrations of the story stunning, bold, and engaging, there is also a story within the story! When the main characters "takeover" with there own illustrations and show us not only their style of art but how they are feeling, what they are going through with each other - it is so endearing and eye-opening. There is so much to discuss, see and learn from. It is by far one of our favorite stories to go to; because every time we re-read the story and take another look, there is always something new that catches our eye or we learn more about the characters and what they've been through separately and with each other.

Definitely, a book worth picking up! Especially for a family that has aging family members that make it difficult for them to communicate with the younger generation, and vice versa. This book is full of hope! And the realization that there can be something that people can have in common and help bridge the gap to connect with one another. And, it definitely encourages everyone to embrace your family, cultures, languages and more. Don't let traditions disappear with the next generation - all it takes is a little love, determination, and devotion to keep it going.
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LibraryThing member melodyreads
great art, and art is part of the story
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
A young boy and his grandfather, not speaking the same language, have difficulty communicating with one another in this second picture-book from author Minh Lê, who made his debut with Let Me Finish!. When the boy begins to draw himself as a modern superhero, while visiting with his grandfather,
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the older man becomes excited and grabs his own sketchbook, in which he is depicted as a traditional Thai fighter. Through their artwork, boy and man make a connection, and manage to cross the divide between them...

A lovely book, one which pairs a minimal but evocative text with gorgeous artwork, Drawn Together addresses a number of key themes, from the relationship between the generations, and across cultures, to the power of art to cross barriers of all kinds. I was a little surprised at first, given the fact that Minh Lê was Vietnamese-American, that Dan Santat's artwork was inspired by Thai culture, and featured some Thai text, but then, there's something universal about the story, so I suppose he could have used any number of cultural background to adequately explore the themes. I did appreciate that the Thai text is translated on the colophon, and think that a knowledge of what the grandfather is saying adds to the story, especially in the scene in which he and his grandson are essentially saying the same thing. This is definitely one I would add to my short-list for this year's Caldecott. We'll see... Recommended to anyone looking for beautifully-illustrated picture-books, and children's stories addressing intergenerational and cross-cultural relationships and the power of art to aid in communication.
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LibraryThing member HeidiSki
A story about a young boy who visits his grandfather, but they are not able to communicate with words. They begin to draw together and learn that they both love art and storytelling. Beautiful pictures.
LibraryThing member untitled841
Beautiful book about intergenerational family blurred by language barriers.
LibraryThing member LibrarianRyan
This book deserves every award it has earned. There are few words, because words are not always needed. Grandpa and grandson do not speak the same language, but with drawing and art they learn that communication is not always about words, but actions. Love knows no bounds, and in the end will draw
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everyone together.
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LibraryThing member GRgenius
What do you say about a book that expresses itself through imagery versus words? As it turns out, a lot. This was a beautiful story that reminds us that words can bring us closer, but they are not the only way to build or nurture a connection worth all the love in the world. The images are
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astounding with both styles vibrantly leaping off the page, while the limited words allow readers to forge their own bonds with this ultimately dynamic duo.

**copy received for review
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LibraryThing member reader1009
diverse picture book (Americanized grandson and non-English speaking Asian grandpa bond, finally, through drawing adventures)
Caldecott winner? maybe. Of interest to kids? Not particularly. This is more a book for sentimental adults, though the content remains relevant.
LibraryThing member jennybeast
Lovely, nearly wordless picture book about communicating across language and age and culture. Beautifully drawn, beautifully told. Very moving.
LibraryThing member J_Odiorne
Drawn Together is the story of a long-awaited visit of a grandfather and grandson who are frustrated because they can not communicate at all because they speak two different languages. They watch TV in silence until the boy decides to draw himself in his sketch bool which gives the grandfather a
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wonderful idea. All the things they could not say to each other come pouring out and they go to a new world that even words can not describe and discover each other for the first time. After years of searching for the right words they connect and find themselves speechless and awaiting future adventures together.

Critical Analysis: This book helps children to learn about relationships, diversity, social-emotional learning, see things from new perspectives, empathize with a book character, and build resilience. This book offers authentic authorship. Both author and illustrator share a similar story portrayed in the book and dedicated the book to their grandparents who they struggle to communicate with. Additionally, this book was honored with the Asian Pacific American Librarian Association award for best Picturebook. There is a secret to explore under the book jacket.

Favorite quote: "I know together, we can make our way across"
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LibraryThing member Daumari
Very cute, minimal words- while grandfather and the boy don't share a common language, they bond over art and the ability to create, an EXCELLENT theme for a picture book!


Georgia Children's Book Award (Finalist — Picturebook — 2021)
BCCB Blue Ribbon Book (Picture Books — 2018)
Monarch Award (Nominee — 2021)
Red Clover Book Award (Nominee — 2020)
Buckeye Children's & Teen Book Award (Nominee — Grades K-2 — 2019)
Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (Winner — Picture Book — 2019)
Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (Nominee — Picture Books — 2020)
Volunteer State Book Award (Nominee — Primary — 2021)
Three Stars Book Award (Nominee — Young Readers — 2020)
Anna Dewdney Read-Together Award (Honor Book — 2019)
Charlotte Huck Award (Recommended Book — 2019)
Iowa Goldfinch Award (Nominee — 2021)
Great Reads from Great Places (Maryland — 2018)
Notable Children's Book (Younger Readers — 2019)


Original language


Physical description

40 p.; 11.25 inches


1484767608 / 9781484767603


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