Reading Thao: A Picture Book, a funny, eye-opening story about the challenges of growing up with an unfamiliar name and learning to be true to yourself.
"Anyone in an unfamiliar environment will be able to relate... This work's clever construction and stark simplicity embody a kaleidoscope of 'mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors."--Kirkus Reviews
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Even though it's only four simple, familiar letters long, nobody can ever pronounce Thao's name. She's been called Theo, Tail, even Towel! But the teasing names--Tofu, Tiny, China Girl--are worse. Maybe it's time to be someone else? Thao decides to try on a different name, something easy, like Jennifer. It works, but only until she opens her lunchbox to find her mother's Vietnamese spring rolls, gỏi cuốn--Thao's favorite! Now, it feels a lot more comfortable to be herself.
Simple on the surface, this story inspired by Thao's own childhood is full of humor, heart, and important ideas of diversity, inclusion, and cultural pride. The story will be instantly relatable to readers who have ever felt different. Designed with a playful emphasis on typography, and Thao's own childhood photos added to her signature cut-paper collage, Thao champions being true to yourself and your background, and being empathetic towards others. It is a celebration of all that's in a name and the power of owning your identity.
Thao Lam is the critically acclaimed author/illustrator of Wallpaper, My Cat Looks Like My Dad, Skunk on a String, and The Paper Boat. She studied illustration at Sheridan College and has an insatiable love of colored and textured papers, which she uses to create her exuberant collages. She draws inspiration from the stories she hears, from the beauty in everyday things, and from the work of the many illustrators she admires. She lives in Toronto.