Thanhha Lai

American children's writer

Thanhha Lai (born 1965) is a Vietnam-born American children’s author and former journalist.


  • Vietnamese is so lyrical, and 80% percent of it is derived from Chinese, which is a language built from pictures not words. So this format and voice came out of that desire.
  • They're told to gather the stories of their parents and grandparents and to honor their cultural history. And yet, as they're born in the United States, they don't identify with Vietnam and feel strongly that these are not their roots, so how can they lose them?
  • I had no idea how lonely it would be to sit in my cave and type, for years and years. I have developed a totally new personality where I talk to myself and play with my hair for entertainment. The surprise is that after much frustration and exhaustion, I do manage to finish a novel.

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