“Your work is to discover the world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” ~ Buddha
Last year, children’s author/illustrator Grace Lin was asked in an Edge of the Forest interview what she would say if she had the complete attention of everyone in the United States for thirty seconds. Grace quoted Buddha, and if the body of work she’s produced during the last 10 years is any indication, she has definitely lived by those words.
Talented, prolific, critically acclaimed and beloved by her readers, Grace has illustrated ten picture books and written and illustrated a dozen more. Her use of bold colors, intricate patterns, swirls, and charming details mark a distinctive style that engages, delights, and invites the reader to look closer.
In 2006, Grace’s first middle grade novel, The Year of the Dog, received tons of accolades, including Kirkus Best Early Chapter Book, ALA Notable Book for Children, and a National Parenting Publication Gold Award. The Year of the Dog is autobiographical, picking up where her picture books, The Ugly Vegetables, Dim Sum for Everyone, Fortune Cookie Fortunes, and Kite Flying leave off. Readers everywhere have fallen in love with Pacy Lin, her best friend, Melody, and her sisters, Lissy and Ki-Ki.
This year, a much-anticipated sequel, The Year of the Rat, was released along with yet another gorgeous picture book, Bringing in the New Year. In The Year of the Rat, we are treated to more of Pacy’s joyous, funny, and poignant experiences. Much like the classic Little House or Ramona books, these stories leave us craving more about this family and Pacy’s world, so full are they of heart and universal truth. Bringing in the New Year focuses on the preparations for Lunar New Year, complete with homemade dumplings and a dragon dance, with pictures that pull us right into the action.
I couldn’t think of a better way to top off Tea Party Month, than with Grace as my special guest of honor. I’m sure you’ve noticed how often she writes about food, using it as both subject and metaphor. She’s definitely my kind of girl — and she’s even brought cupcakes!