Wishes by Mượn Thị Văn and Victo Ngai

Hello, Mượn Thị Văn! Hello, Victo Ngai! Thank you for visiting Watch. Connect Read. to share Wishes’ cover. Oh, how I wish I could share a copy with every elementary school teacher and donate a copy to every elementary school library. I have read it multiple times over the past two days. It is poignant, lyrical, and beautifully illustrated.

Mượn, what ran through your heart the first time you saw Victo’s cover illustration for Wishes?

Mượn Thị Văn: Wow. Despite the challenging subject matter, Victo managed to convey loss, resilience, and hope brilliantly though one simple, beautiful image.

Victo, please tell us about the materials you used to create the art. 

Victo Ngai: The short answer is mixed media. The long answer is pencil, graphite, ink wash, scanned textures and old papers, iPad, Photoshop and anything I could think of to create the hazy and dream-like quality of memory. 

Illustration Credit: Victo Ngai
Mượn, please finish the following sentence starters. 

Wishes tells the story of a family’s search for home on the other side of the world.

I hope Wishes opens hearts and minds. Every line of text is grounded in my family’s experience as refugees. I wanted the reader to be able to see, and feel, the story from the inside and I hope we succeeded.

Story is transformative. Stories have the power to change us, just as we have the power to change stories.

Victo, please finish the following sentence starters. 

Wishes is a story which speaks to the universality of wishing for hope in a sea of helplessness and in times of changes and turmoils. It’s relatable to anyone who has to leave their homes in search for a better life.

Mượn Thị Văn's 75 words manuscript reminds me of the 6 words fiction often attributed to Ernest Hemingway - “ For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” 
The restraint and omission make the story all the more powerful.

Picture books are the marriage between words and images. With the right combination and chemistry, 1+1 can be much greater than 2.

Look for Wishes on May 4, 2021.

Mượn Thị Văn stitches stories by starlight and by daylight. Some of these stories become books, and some of these books are read around the world.

Since her New York Times acclaimed debut, In a Village by the Sea, illustrated by April Chu, 
Mượn's books have received many distinctions, including a Northern California Book Award, a Golden Kite Award, a New York Public Library Best Book, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and an Irma Black Honor Award. Her work has been translated into more than ten languages. 

Victo Ngai is a Forbes 30 Under 30 (Art and Style) honoree and Society of Illustrators New York Gold Medalist. She provides illustrations for newspaper and magazines such as the New York Times and the New Yorker; creates storyboards and art for animations with studios like NBC and Dreamworks; and makes books for publishers such as Scholastic, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster. She lives in Los Angeles.


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