Join us virtually to discuss The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui with a very special co-host, Cheryl Space, Library Director of PCL!
About this event
This month, Cheryl, Amy and Lee were inspired to choose this powerful memoir from the 2021-22 debut list of the National Endowment of the Arts Big Read selections. Join us as we walk with Bui’s family throughout their whole immigration journey in a graphic memoir format. Let’s continue to all try something new this summer! The print edition is available to check out from our catalog and PCL cardholders may read the eBook using Hoopla. Register through Eventbrite to receive the Zoom link for the book discussion.
ABOUT THE BOOK
This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves. At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Thi Bui was born in Vietnam and came to the United States in 1978 as part of the "boat people" wave of refugees fleeing Southeast Asia at the end of the Vietnam War. Her debut graphic memoir, The Best We Could Do has been selected for an American Book Award, a Common Book for UCLA and other colleges and universities, an all-city read by Seattle and San Francisco public libraries, a National Book Critics Circle finalist in autobiography, and an Eisner Award finalist in reality-based comics. It made over thirty best of 2017 book lists, including Bill Gates' top five picks. She illustrated the picture book, A Different Pond, written by the poet Bao Phi, for which she won a Caldecott Honor. With her son, Hien, she co-illustrated the children’s book, Chicken of the Sea, written by Pulitzer winner Viet Thanh Nguyen and his son, Ellison. Her short comics can be found online at The Nib, PEN America, and BOOM California. She is currently researching and drawing a work of graphic nonfiction about immigrant detention and deportation, to be published by One World, Random House.
Do you have questions about the book discussion? Contact Amy Rosa at or Lee Smith at .