Drawn Together

I adore this book, Drawn Together. The illustrations are out of this world which is important because it’s mostly wordless. The comic book feel makes it perfect for all ages and you can use it to teach comparing and contrasting, theme, asking questions, analyzing characters and story elements. It is about the relationship between a Thai grandfather and grandson and the challenges that come with not speaking the same language. For children who experience language barriers in their family, this book will help them feel "seen" among their peers. Discuss building intergenerational relationships, honoring storytelling, and bridging differences.


Social Justice Activities:

1.Conduct family interviews using this lesson plan: https://www.learningforjustice.org/classroom-resources/lessons/family-colors-interviewing-our-families. (Identity 5)

2. The few times the characters tried to communicate, they were saying the same things but they assumed that they were not communicating. Practice communicating with a partner without using words. (Diversity 9)

3.Introduce the word "bias." Explore the biases the boy has about his grandfather: nothing in common (food and tv), language barrier, age difference. Discuss how these biases created barriers and connect them to their drawings and "old distance" metaphor. (Justice 13)

Relevant Social Justice Standards:

Identity 5. Students will recognize traits of the dominant culture, their home culture and other cultures and understand how they negotiate their own identity in multiple spaces.

Diversity 9. Students will respond to diversity by building empathy, respect, understanding and connection.

Justice 13. Students will analyze the harmful impact of bias and injustice on the world, historically and today.

Reading Strategies:

Theme: Because this book is mostly wordless, children at all levels can engage in conversations about the themes in this book

Character Analysis: Examine facial expressions and actions to determine what characters are thinking and feeling that motivate their actions. The grandfather makes an American meal for his grandson, what does that say about their relationship? Evaluate the point of view.

Problem Solution: Examine the language barrier problem. Discuss ways that students have overcome language barriers in their own lives. 

Story Elements: Sequencing, Setting 

Book Details:
  • Fiction, All Ages
  • Perspectives: Thai
  • Author's stated heritage: Vietnamese American
  • Subject Integration: Art, Social Studies

Listen to the Author

Drawn Together Read Aloud

Book covers images are from publishers and in the public domain