Read Aloud with Author Grace Lin

On Wednesday, following Synergy’s Lunar New Year celebration, children’s author and illustrator, Grace Lin joined the weekly Community Read Aloud. Lin has written and illustrated all kinds of books, including board books, early readers, picture books, and novels. She is also the host of the podcast, “Kids Ask Authors,”

For the Read Aloud, she read the first and second chapter of her novel, The Year of the Dog, which is about her life as a child during her first lunar year of the dog. The students were already familiar with Lin’s work, and before Lin began reading, Susanne DeRisi shared things students had said they like about Lin’s books. Two aspects of her work that students said they enjoy are that her books are funny and include little stories inside the big story. Students also said they appreciate Lin’s themes of friendship, family, and Chinese culture. Everyone also loves her illustrations.

Thanks to students’ questions after the reading, we learned that Lin bases her books on her own experiences as well as on Chinese folktales. We also learned she has written 30 published books and 200 “not-published” books, and when she was eight years old, her hobbies included collecting rocks and drawing pictures of herself ice skating. When asked if she gets help with her books, Lin explained that when she’s writing her books, she receives two kinds of help. She gets help from her family on household tasks, like laundry and dishes, and she also gets help from editors and friends who provide suggested edits and feedback.

In addition to reading the two chapters, Lin taught everyone how to draw a dog, and she also taught everyone how to say goodbye in Mandarin.

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