A young boy gets dropped off to visit his grandfather and their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and then eventually complete silence. As the saying goes, pictures are worth a thousand words, and as they both sat down to draw together, magic happens. Their shared love of art and storytelling formed a bond between them that goes beyond words. With a beautiful storyboard by Minh Lê and incandescent illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, this ground-breaking picture book is about reaching across barriers and finding ways to overcome obstacles.
I read this book to my 6-year-old daughter and since many of the pages did not have words, I told her what each picture conveyed. She could see how different the grandson and grandpa were. She understand the language barriers too, especially since she goes to Japan to visit her family every year. Even though she was not able to speak Japanese, she and her cousin found ways to interact and play with each other even though they did not speak much. That was the similarities she found with the book. She loved the pages more and more especially since she draws everyday to express herself. Overall, she really liked the story and illustrations that brought it to life.
You do not need many words in this book to describe all the emotions the characters are feeling, or how I was feeling as I turned the pages. Having grown up in an Asian home myself, I can feel the young boy’s struggles and frustrations as he tries to communicate with his grandfather and feeling defeated and somewhat hopeless. I can tell it took a lot of effort to write the storyboard for this book. How do you put into words and pictures what your heart feels? Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat accomplished just that. He let his talent convey the story we all want to tell.
This book really touched me emotionally as it brought back many memories of my childhood when I struggled with telling my parents how I really feel, or them expressing how much they love me and my siblings. “Drawn Together” is a story that can be told over and over again, showing how language and cultural barriers may be there, but can be broken down, one brush stroke at a time. I would highly recommend this book to add to your collection.