Author & Illustrator
Before Grace Lin was an award-winning and NY Times bestselling author/illustrator of picture books, early readers and middle grade novels, she was the only Asian girl (except for her sisters) going to her elementary school in Upstate NY. That experience, good and bad, has influenced her books—including her Newbery Honor, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, her Geisel Honor Ling & Ting, and her National Book Finalist When the Sea Turned to Silver. But, it also causes Grace to persevere for diversity as a New England Public Radio commentator and when she gave her TEDx talk, The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf, as well as her PBS NewsHour video essay, What to do when you realize classic books from your childhood are racist?.
In 2016, Grace’s art was displayed at the White House and Grace, herself, was recognized by President Obama’s office as a Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling.
Learn more about Grace Lin on her website.
Q1: OUR THEME THIS YEAR IS HERE'S AN IDEA! WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE SPACE FOR PONDERING IDEAS?
Grace: I get ideas everywhere but I like to think about them further in my studio. The third floor in my house is my studio where I do all my writing, painting and thinking!
Q2: WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE SUBJECT IN SCHOOL?
Grace: I loved both art and library!
Q3: WHAT ONE THING WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN TO DO?
Grace: I would love to learn how to speak Chinese fluently. I did take some classes but stopped when my daughter was born. I haven't made it enough of a priority in my present life, but I hope to in the future!
Q4: WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO BE AN AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR?
Grace: There's a scene in my book The Year of the Dog where the main character writes and illustrates her own book and enters it into a national book contest. That really happened to me. In sixth grade, I wrote and illustrated my own book and entered it into a national contest. I won fourth place and $1,000.
I was so excited and happy that I decided then and there I wanted to make books for a living and be an author and illustrator when I grew up. That dream never died...and actually came true!