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Drawn Together

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When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words. With spare, direct text by Minh Lê and luminous illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, this sti When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words. With spare, direct text by Minh Lê and luminous illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, this stirring picturebook about reaching across barriers will be cherished for years to come.


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When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words. With spare, direct text by Minh Lê and luminous illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, this sti When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words. With spare, direct text by Minh Lê and luminous illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, this stirring picturebook about reaching across barriers will be cherished for years to come.

30 review for Drawn Together

  1. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books, and we have been doing this for years. Everyone rates each book and adds a comment and it may (or may not) affect my overall rating. This is book #5 of 2018. I read this in June 2018 but will bump up my rating from 3 stars to 4 stars because this is now a family rating. Lyra (11): 4.5 stars. It shows what art is and what it means to the boy and his grandfather. Didn't need words, though. Hank (12): 5 stars! I love how they Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books, and we have been doing this for years. Everyone rates each book and adds a comment and it may (or may not) affect my overall rating. This is book #5 of 2018. I read this in June 2018 but will bump up my rating from 3 stars to 4 stars because this is now a family rating. Lyra (11): 4.5 stars. It shows what art is and what it means to the boy and his grandfather. Didn't need words, though. Hank (12): 5 stars! I love how they get drawn together by drawing and not words. Harry (13): 4.5 stars. I love how they were drawn together through their love of drawing. Tara: 5 stars. I like this one! Honestly, I don't think it needs words, the drawing speaks enough. Dave: 3.5 stars. Grandpa and boy can't communicate--language barrier, but one day Grandpa sees the kid drawing, he brings out some of his drawings, they draw together, and in the process become more closely "drawn together," heh. One curious thing is that Le tells this story but does not draw it, making this fiction, I suspect. Caldecott medalist Dan Santat does the illustration, which happens in two styles, the boy's contemporary style comics and Grandpa's classically historical Asian illustration, which in the drawing together blend somewhat, which I like.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    A boy and his grandfather don't speak the same language, but find a way to connect through drawing. Magnificent illustrations.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    So wonderful, this book about a grandparent, from the child's point of view*. Lovely concept from Minh Le, and Dan Santat has truly outdone himself with these illustrations. *Pair with Nana in the City, by Lauren Castillo.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Luanne Ollivier

    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 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 i 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 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chance Lee

    Touching story about bridging a gap between ages, languages, and cultures.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Benji Martin

    A powerful book about finding common ground despite age and culture barriers. Definitely a 2019 Caldecott contender.

  7. 5 out of 5

    KC

    This book was remarkable. A young boy visits his aging grandfather who seems to have lost the ability to make conversation, but the boy soon discovers a new way of communication. My dad has vascular dementia and I find myself often in this same situation. I loved how the author was so delicate and respectful to this issue.

  8. 4 out of 5

    DaNae

    I don't know if I've ever read another picture book where I felt the text utterly unneeded. I know this is Minh Le story but I found his narrative intrusive and unnecessary. Santat showed the complete arc and emotion of the story in his mesmerizing drawings.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    A gorgeous picture book about a grandfather and grandson who speak different languages but learn to communicate through their art. A poignant celebration of what can bring us together rather than divide us. An uplifting story that can be appreciated by readers of all ages.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anna Smithberger

    Gorgeous book! I don’t think I could do it justice in storytime, so I’ll just have to talk it up to EVERYONE

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    So few words yet what a poignant book! Really sweet story about art connecting across generations and through language barriers. Yes, it made me cry.

  12. 5 out of 5

    J

    Super cool book about overcoming differences. Amazing illustrations.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Allison Wysong

    Very cute, I love the mixing of styles. I almost wish it was wordless though. The art feels strong enough to support it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jillian Heise

    Holy wow...Stunning...in both story & illustrations. This is a must-read/must-share picture book about family, communication, bravery, and love. Preorder it now - I'll already call it as one of the best picture books of 2018. I can't wait to share it with kids.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    This gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. If you've ever struggled with communicating with someone you love in any way whatsoever, this will speak to you. Beautiful and meaningful.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    Wow! With few words, this children’s book shows us the power of unspoken language. I loved how the novel came alive, as each of the characters grabbed their choice of writing instruments to draw and to connect to each other. The years faded between the grandfather and his grandson as they sketched and united on paper. Mother dropped her son off at her father’s house and immediately you can sense the dread the boy feels as he trudged up to his grandfather’s door. Grandfather is excited to see his Wow! With few words, this children’s book shows us the power of unspoken language. I loved how the novel came alive, as each of the characters grabbed their choice of writing instruments to draw and to connect to each other. The years faded between the grandfather and his grandson as they sketched and united on paper. Mother dropped her son off at her father’s house and immediately you can sense the dread the boy feels as he trudged up to his grandfather’s door. Grandfather is excited to see his grandson but the differences become apparent as you turn the pages. They each speak a different language, the food grandfather prepares for each of them is different, and what they want to watch on TV is different, there is not much excitement in this reunion. The young boy grabs his backpack and goes to the table and sits down. He pulls out blank pieces of papers and markers and he begins to draw himself as a superhero. Grandfather comes over and glances over the boy’s shoulder, sparks fly. Grandfather grabs his drawing supplies and returns. Soon the two of them are creating their own world on paper. Two unique superheroes battling a colorful world of creatures where only these two know what lies ahead. The night ends differently than how it started and I am sure this boy will soon be asking his mother when he can visit his grandfather again. What a cute, children’s book about a grandfather and his grandson. I loved how they bridged the gaps they had in their relationship and the illustrations were fun and detailed. An excellent children’s book with few words but a great message.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vernon Area Public Library KIDS

    A grade school age boy is dropped off at his Grandfather's house for a habitual visit. Although the grandpa greets him with a big smile, the boy appears slightly annoyed and downcast. As they sit down for dinner with radically different dishes, the reader finds out that the Grandpa doesn't speak English and the boy doesn't speak Vietnamese. As the day/weekend progress and the communication barrier grows, the boy pulls out his drawing supplies with a smile and creates a wizard version of himself. A grade school age boy is dropped off at his Grandfather's house for a habitual visit. Although the grandpa greets him with a big smile, the boy appears slightly annoyed and downcast. As they sit down for dinner with radically different dishes, the reader finds out that the Grandpa doesn't speak English and the boy doesn't speak Vietnamese. As the day/weekend progress and the communication barrier grows, the boy pulls out his drawing supplies with a smile and creates a wizard version of himself. His grandpa grabs a seat next to him and draws his own superhero version of himself. Through their drawings, they are finally able to connect and have a shared experience. A beautiful depiction of the language barrier between family members and how we can connect with each other in more ways than words. A short story for the older kids but may be a relevant topic in their lives. Reviewed by: Miss Kelsey, Youth and School Services, Vernon Area Public Library

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    *Note: My review is based on a galley so there maybe some changes before it goes to print. This is fabulous! Ever the masterful artist, Dan Santat once again lends his talented hands to a picture book chock-full of detailed, colorful, terrific illustrations that perfectly complement the text. The story itself is timeless. Two generations, a grandfather and his grandson, with seemingly little in common genetics aside. But the pen truly is mighty for through their shared affinity for drawing the pa *Note: My review is based on a galley so there maybe some changes before it goes to print. This is fabulous! Ever the masterful artist, Dan Santat once again lends his talented hands to a picture book chock-full of detailed, colorful, terrific illustrations that perfectly complement the text. The story itself is timeless. Two generations, a grandfather and his grandson, with seemingly little in common genetics aside. But the pen truly is mighty for through their shared affinity for drawing the pair forge a union. Although it is still early in the year it certainly gets my nomination for a Caldecott contender!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Boling

    7/8/2018 ~~ A tale common to many families - a child and grandparent don't speak the same language. How do they maintain connections and understanding? In this case through drawing. The boy is clearly bored as he goes for routine visits to had grandfather's home...bored until he discovers that his grandfather loves to draw too. Through their sketchbooks, they create amazing stories together. Santat's illustrations are vivid and full of energy. His choice of color add depth to the emotions (bored 7/8/2018 ~~ A tale common to many families - a child and grandparent don't speak the same language. How do they maintain connections and understanding? In this case through drawing. The boy is clearly bored as he goes for routine visits to had grandfather's home...bored until he discovers that his grandfather loves to draw too. Through their sketchbooks, they create amazing stories together. Santat's illustrations are vivid and full of energy. His choice of color add depth to the emotions (boredom, excitement, etc.) felt by the characters. Hear Le talk about the genesis of this tale in a 6/15/2018 NPR interview on All Things Considered: https://www.npr.org/2018/06/15/620428...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emma Andje

    Because of their inability to converse with each other, a boy and his grandfather are sure that they will spend their day together quietly apart. However, when the boy begins to draw, the grandfather finds a way to communicate with his grandson: through picutres! The pair spends their day creating a story that combines their artistic styles and cultures, showing that art can transcend the language barrier between them. Drawn Together gorgeously illustrates how one can build a relationship withou Because of their inability to converse with each other, a boy and his grandfather are sure that they will spend their day together quietly apart. However, when the boy begins to draw, the grandfather finds a way to communicate with his grandson: through picutres! The pair spends their day creating a story that combines their artistic styles and cultures, showing that art can transcend the language barrier between them. Drawn Together gorgeously illustrates how one can build a relationship without conversing in a spoken language. I was given an ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristine Hansen

    I absolutely love how this grandfather and grandchild come together when they have no words to communicate. The artwork makes me want to fall into the story within the story, and the complete understanding that comes between these two individuals left me somewhat choked up. This is just beautiful, and engages the child to using a wealth of culture, imagination, ideas, family, and finding ways to communicate without words.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    When language becomes a barrier, even in families where the newer generation was not raised with their family's native language, the boy and his grandfather find common ground through illustration creating vivid, three dimensional worlds that leave them closer than they were when they were eating separate foods, speaking separate languages, enjoying separate things. The sentimentality of the grandparent/grandchild connection is just as important as it's diversity in characters.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    A young boy and his grandfather have difficulty communicating (whether that's a language barrier or just a generational one is ambiguous, but likely intentionally) but find drawing as their means of connecting with each other. A story with a beautiful message and equally beautiful illustrations. I could see this one being in Caldecott contention. My only criticism is that I found the middle of the story a little muddled and confusing, but the ending was absolutely stellar.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Julie Kirchner

    I couldn’t wait for this picture book! Minh Le and Dan Santat have created a beautiful masterpiece in both words and pictures. This is an amazing story of a boy and his grandfather spending the day together. Their language barrier comes crashing down when they share their love of drawing and creativity. The power of art cannot be underestimated! Loved this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kris Dersch

    An absolutely gorgeous book...from story to illustrations. My 4-year-old was totally into it, it's totally going to make adults cry, a truly multigenerational book *many* people and families will relate to. All about bridging gaps, figuratively and literally and the power of art. Can't see this being a disappointment to anyone who picks it up.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    A gorgeously illustrated novel about a young Vietnamese-American boy and his non-English-speaking grandfather discovering that they share an interest in drawing. Expressed in minimal words, Minh Le's words and Dan Santat's art tell a touching, gentle story about finding different ways to communicate with people you love.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Eddington

    What a beautiful story about family and language barrier. Many of my students live this life and sharing it with them shows them that it’s okay. This books was used in a class for the Aha moment (signposts by Beers and Probst). What I loved about this story was that the language other than English was Thai and my Thai student lit up when she saw it on the page! Thank you!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anna Martino

    My friend just showed me this amazing picture book by Minh Le, Illustrated by Dan Santat. Beautiful story about a young Thai boy, who discovered a way to connect with this grandfather, who doesn't speak English, through drawing. It made me cry just now. You can watch Dan Santat speak about the process here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpNR2...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marjorie Ingall

    A lovely depiction of cross-generational communication through the joy of making art. Dan Santat's illustrations are confident, funny, and informed by both pop culture and Thai folklore (not that you need to know this to appreciate the book). I looked at the title page and noticed that the book is set in Danvetica; that's pretty boss, having your own font, Dan Santat. A sweet book for grandparents and kids to enjoy together.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    A Thai-American boy can't connect with his Thai speaking grandfather until they discover that they have their art in common. Author and illustrator dedicated this book to their grandparents from Vietnam and Thailand respectively. Such a sweet background story- perfect for us at the international school in Bangkok!

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